A much changed Imps side kept their Wembley dream alive on two fronts by comfortably beating National League South side Welling this afternoon by three goals to one.
The game was a chance for some of the fringe players to prove what they could do, and in truth the game wasn’t much of a contest. The Imps new-look eleven looked hungry and sharp as they competently dismantled a weary looking home side.
For the second game in a row the travelling fans outnumbered the home support, but ahead of kick off it looked like a difficult contest. City hadn’t won at Welling since 1987, and the pitch had a Sunday League feel to it, which could hinder the slick passing that City have made their trademark.
City fans need not have worried. It took debutant Dayle Southwell just eight minutes to seize on an error in the Welling defence and register his first goal for the club. Southwell, who joined on loan yesterday from Wycombe, looked hungry and sharp as he slotted past the keeper. It’s fair to say Imps fans wanted him here in the summer, and immediately after his goal I suspect thoughts were turning to how to keep him longer.
Lincoln always looked in control, Josh Ginnelly in particular looking very useful. Although a couple of the newer faces and fringe players were on display, but they’ll all be wanting to knock on the door of the first team and the Burnley loanee looked like he has a lot to offer.
Straight after half time City killed the game off. It was Joe Ward, another one month loan player, who scored a quick fire double. He looked quick and dangerous all match long, echoing the potential he showed in the last round at Gateshead. Even a consolation for Welling couldn’t take the shine off a comprehensive Imps win, nor could bookings for Elliot Whitehouse and Jack Muldoon for diving, both incidents that looked like penalties for City.
Danny Cowley was enthusiastic about his teams prospects heading into the final three months of the season.
“Yeah, really pleased. Delighted with the level of performance. We created more chances than we have all season. Really pleased with our depth and our mentality.”
He was happy with the contribution from the new faces as well, Dayle Southwell hadn’t played much prior to today, but he opened the scoring well.
“I thought Dayle did well throughout. The plan was always to play him to 60, and that was 60 good minutes. He couldn’t have started better.”
He was also full of praise for his wide players, Joe Ward and Josh Ginnelly.
“I thought they were excellent. Joe got his two goals and Josh was a real threat, his movement and speed was frightening. He’s had a loan spell at Walsall and he’s a bit short of game time so we’ll build his fitness.”
With reference to Whitehouse’s booking, Danny was typically coy.
“There was contact, I don’t think it was a penalty, but when there’s contact I don’t think it’s a dive.”
Elsewhere in the competition Macclesfield, Barrow and York all progressed. All three are opponents that City would want to avoid. Tranmere, Sutton and Braintree have replays to negotiate with National League South Brackley the only representatives from outside the ‘top flight’. For me a draw against Braintree / Dulwich Hamlet or Brackley would be preferable, but as we know cup draws are not exactly going in our favour this season!
Elsewhere, in the National League Dagenham managed to squeeze victory from the jaws of defeat, turning around a 2-1 deficit inside the last ten minutes to register a 3-2 win at Chester. They move up to second, ahead of Forest Green to sit three points behind City having played a game more.
Lincoln now have a welcomed break, next up are Woking at Sincil Bank next Saturday. Josh Ginnelly and Dayle Southwell will both be knocking on the door for a start, as will Billy Knott who will be available next Saturday. With 17 games to go the competition for places is not only welcome, but also incredibly promising. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Southwell and Rhead leading the line next weekend, and after his performance today I imagine Josh Ginnelly might be around the first eleven as well.