Another bumper crowd of 6800 packed into Sincil Bank to help raise the roof on what turned out to be a hard-fought point rather than the straightforward three that most expected.
I spent much of the first half wondering how my blog was going to be received, because it isn’t going to be full of positives. The 4-2-3-1 set up we approached the game with simply didn’t work, and if we are being honest I don’t think it was entirely effective against North Ferriby either. Luckily for me, Danny Cowley immediately admitted he got it wrong for the first 45 minutes, and therefore saved me having to sound like a moaner.
We caused ourselves problems in the first half with the new formation, which saved York from having to. Initially I thought perhaps Alan Power would be the advanced midfielder, possibly if he had been it might have worked better. Billy Knott still looks some way away from being on method, and he certainly didn’t look fit. Aside from that, having the bank of three behind Rheady forces the wide players to come inside more, looking for scraps from the big man. That compacted things for us, and our most significant threat comes from the plethora of quick, skilful wide players we boast. Effectively we nullified our own threat, and that gave the Minstermen one less thing to bother about.
Matt Rhead isn’t a lone front man, and as hard as he does work he simply cannot be isolated as a lone striker. His game is about receiving the ball and distributing it to players around him, and in a 4-4-2 that works well. I wonder if perhaps we changed the formation to try to accommodate the fact we’re light of centre forwards? Is Danny trying hard to accommodate Billy Knott, knowing what a good player he can be?
Hats off to the gaffer though, he came straight out and admitted he got it wrong first half. Their goal wasn’t a product of our formation though, they worked the ball well down their right flank for Parkin to sweep it home. It was a moment where we switched off, and after successive clean sheets it was a disappointing way to concede a goal. If York had continued to play football in that manner they might have been able to get another one, but only if we were down to ten men, as we were when they scored.
Parkin was incredibly lucky to see out the first half, I thought his shove on Farman warranted a straight red. My view wasn’t the best so I may be speaking out of turn, but Farman looked to have the ball under control and Parkin simply shoved him over. It’s raised hands, it’s borderline violent conduct and for me it’s a big let off for the veteran forward.
Good managers admit their mistakes and correct them, and even losing three players through injury didn’t phase City. Facing 45 minutes having already used all three subs and being a goal down could be a step too far for most teams, but we set about our task very professionally in the second half. As soon as we gave the game width we started having a lot of joy. Josh Ginnelly is a very special footballer, he’s the type of winger I love to see. He’s so direct, whenever he gets the ball he instinctively wants to take players on and head for goal. At time his decision making wasn’t the best, but credit to him for getting at the full back time and time again. As soon as we went to a traditional 4-4-2, York couldn’t cope.
It surprised me we took as long as we did to bring it level, in the second half we were by far the better side from start to finish. I left Sincil Bank after games against Woking and Guiseley wondering how they were at the bottom of the league. I even thought something similar after the spirited North Ferriby performance last week. I left tonight knowing exactly why York are struggling, and I almost want to take back my blog from yesterday about them being a tough prospect.
They have a squad of good players, but very few of them looked like they were up for a fight. I thought Parkin was awful, the ball bounces off him as if it’s been kicked at a tree trunk. His touch is terrible and aside from his aerial dominance he offers very little, apart from trying to wind players up. For a cultured full-back Sean Newton doesn’t get stuck in half as much as he should either, his delivery is as good as you get in this league, but he never got into position to make us pay. We were poor first half, a side such as Woking would have made us pay. York got their goal and simply went to pieces, they effectively played 8-0-2 for 75 minutes. I remember a ball coming forward from our full back and it was met with two banks of five yellow shirts, and that was after half an hour. York have drawn more games than anyone in our league this season, and I thought they might have smelled blood and gone for the kill. They didn’t, and that’s why they’re bottom.
There were other notable performances for us, I thought Callum Howe did really well after coming on, as did Bradley Wood. If anything Parkin was quieter in the second half, I thought Howe dealt with him better than Sean Raggett had managed, although I know Raggett was carrying a knock. I was a bit disappointed to see Sean Long start ahead of Brad anyway, and once he came on I thought he gave the typical tough-as-old-leather performance we are used to, which mirrored what York were trying to bring.
I also thought Rheady and Sam Habergham were on good form tonight, at least after half time. We looked really dangerous down the left with Sam and Josh linking up well. Some of the balls from midfield cut their centre back and full back apart beautifully, and Josh Ginnelly has the awareness and vision to get in behind time and time again. We never make excuses, but had we had a centre forward alongside Rheady rather than Nathan Arnold I think we would have won the game. That isn’t a criticism of Nathan either, he put in a shift in the second half, but he’s a winger. We need a proper striker up top.
Our goal came from a stereotypical Lincoln move. Rheady was involved, as he always is, and the dependable Mr Power was on hand to slam the ball home. I won’t go on about Alan here, I’ve done it enough recently. Delighted he started, delighted he scored and delighted he’s playing regular football for us.
For those that didn’t hear the post-match interview, it seems we’ll have that proper striker back in the fold in time for the trip to Hampshire on Saturday. The more astute supporters had spotted Jonny Margetts in the stands watching, and Danny confirmed talks were at an ‘advanced’ stage with Scunthorpe. It’s an initial loan deal, but DC also mentioned ‘with a view to making it permanent’. Regular readers of the blog will already be aware this was on the cards though, I spoke about Jonny and Dayle Southwell a few days ago. For the record, I was right about Dayle as well. He’s gone back to Wycombe, and although nobody will say it, I wouldn’t be surprised if his on-field tantrum against North Ferriby wasn’t a contributing factor.
On the face of it a draw against the bottom side isn’t a great result, but with Dagenham losing at home to Maidstone it isn’t all that bad. Nobody in the top 13 gained any ground on us, and although it was one of our games in hand over Tranmere, it is a point further away from them too. It’s another game unbeaten, it’s another game chalked off and if we can maintain a lead and keep chalking off games, we’re going to be okay. That’s more than I can say for York.
York Star Man
One player I did like for York tonight was Hamza Bencherif. I know he’s been here before, but he’s a class act and he put a really good shift in up against Rheady. They’ll need a few more of their lads to fight for the cause as much as he did, but something tells me they don’t all have the appetite for it.
You’re not very good
I could pick any one of seven or eight York players for this, but I’m going to go with their number 8, Simon Heslop. He’s been around the non-league scene for a few years and played in good sides too. Tonight I thought he was abysmal, his runs were aimless and his passing was worse than mine. Players of his experience should be pulling York away from the bottom, instead he sliced his way through ninety minutes which must have been torture for his manager.
Imps Star Man
My man of the match has to be Josh Ginnelly. He’s naïve at times when deciding what to do with the ball, but when he gets it right he’s devastating. He was the first player to walk the length of the Coop Stand applauding the fans, and I saw him twice gesturing for the crowd to raise the noise levels. After experiences as a fan from 2009-2012 I have a distrust of loan players. For every Harry Anderson, there’s a Tom Champion. For every Davide Somma there’s a Luke Howell, Elliot Parrish or Gavin Hoyte. Some loan players come along for fitness and a few games, but in Josh Ginnelly I think we have found one that wants to be here for the right reasons. If there was any chance of him coming here permanently I wouldn’t begrudge Danny dipping into that FA Cup loot, because he has a big future ahead of him, under the right management.