Going into tonight’s game City had drawn twice, a few fans (myself including) might have been looking down and getting a bit jittery. Ninety minutes later and another chapter is written in this incredible season and another entry goes into the record books.
Before I blow smoke up the arse of my football club, I’d like to give a shout out to Barrow. I’m not a big fan of their approach, but this evening they’ve offered me an olive branch by beating Tranmere. That alone would have been cause for celebration, but our resounding 4-0 win in Essex gave the previous seven days real context.
Were York and Aldershot points gained or lost? Tonight’s result means they were points gained, without a shadow of a doubt. We faced a junction at Cressing Road, we either make those draws part of our long unbeaten run or we make them part of our wobble. In emphatic style we steamrollered Danny’s previous team with a comprehensive performance, and ensured those two hard fought draws can be seen positively. There’s six points between us and the chasing pack again, and once again Imps fans are afforded an amount of breathing space. The games are falling away, and we’re managing to keep up the pace.
Three weeks ago Lee Angol was turning out for Peterborough having scored once the whole season, home fans were on his back and his dream move had turned into a nightmare. Tonight he’s trebled that tally, and in doing so has become the first player to score a debut hat trick since Billy Cobb in 1966. Managers are often judged on the quality of their signings at key times, and the introduction of should Angol prove to be a real hit. He turned in a confident and cocky performance, and if he maintains that until the end of the season there’s no doubt he’ll have a say in the title race.
The players have now earned the right to go and enjoy Arsenal, nobody will have any issue with us taking our time in the spotlight when they’ve put a proper shift in over the last week. Neutrals thought the FA Cup might have an adverse effect on us, but DC and the boys simply wouldn’t let that happen. If you ever needed evidence that we are serious title contenders, if you ever needed confirmation that rhetoric about ‘the next match being the most important’, then tonight might just be it.
One really exciting thing is the change of approach going forward in the first half. The addition of Angol and Margetts has given us two players who want to run into channels and space to try and receive the ball, and that plays to the strengths of the wide players cutting in and delivering it into feet. It’s a genuine ‘plan b’, perhaps the first time we’ve seen it used so effectively. Is Angol the final piece of the jigsaw? He might just be.
Danny Cowley called him ‘hell of a player’, but reminded the media that it was a team game. He then reflected on Matt Rhead passing the penalty kick to Lee Angol as an example of the team spirit, something that shouldn’t be under estimated. Even a new face, no more than 48 hours into his Imps life, benefits from the tremendous togetherness the players have.
4-0. Six points clear, now onto our chance to play at Wembley for the first time ever. Every week records keep falling, history keeps being written and I have no doubt this match will simply be another entry in a fantastic season, but for Lee Angol I imagine it will be all that more special.
Imps fans should not under estimate the significance of this result: I can’t help but think it will turn out to be a significant moment in this special season.