Drama, Tension and I missed it all: Imps 2-1 FGR

City grabbed another vital win in the quest for back to back promotions, overcoming old foes Forest Green in a tense 2-1 victory at the Bank today.

I’m afraid I can’t give you my usual summary of the game, I wasn’t there and I wasn’t near a radio either. It would be remiss of my to try to ‘wing’ it too, I wouldn’t insult you or mislead you by trying to analyse a game that the majority of you saw and I did not.

What I do know it a 3rd v 24th match was a close affair and that in itself tells you everything you need to know about how close this league is. From what I understand we were the better side, but we didn’t blow them away. Oddly, we have now beaten Barnet, Chesterfield and this lot 2-1 at home when supporters perhaps expected a bigger score. Doesn’t really matter does it? 2-1 or 6-0, three points is all we get and neither Notts County nor Luton got three today, so we continue to reel them in. The next two league games are top of the table six point clashes, not bad considering we’ve only been in the league six months.

The big man continued his electric form in front of goal with a brace and, knowing the type of person he is, I bet he bloody loved it. Let’s face it, there’s no love lost between us and that lot and today certainly won’t have built any bridges either. The return to form of Matt Rhead is a pure delight, it is one in the eye for everyone who wrote him off, to an extent that includes me. He’s such a massive asset and I’m happy for him. Every goal he scores, every assist he makes and every celebration is one step further into the stuff of Imps legend for him. My Dad told me about Percy Freeman and although I don’t have kids, when I’m sixty I’ll be finding random children to tell them all about the Big ‘Un.

By the way, another cross from Neal Eardley I hear? Find of the season? I think so.

I do know they had the ball in the net and it was disallowed, sadly that will probably take away from the tremendous save by Josh Vickers just moments earlier. Of course, Cooperman has stated that the ref couldn’t wait to disallow it because Danny told him to, the usual ridiculous bile that comes out of that man’s mouth. I’ve been told of unsightly scenes at the final whistle too, again probably centered around the manager who we’ve now done the double over in consecutive seasons.

I really wish I’d been there, it is hard to describe how it felt to miss my first home game in eighteen months. I would have loved to give Sean a good send off and I would have thoroughly enjoyed singing ‘you’re getting sacked in the morning’ to a repulsive man too. I’m sorry, you know I despise FGR and not being there as we hammer another nail in their coffin pains me immensely.

I did spend my time constantly refreshing BBC sport, Twitter and Facebook, several people graciously messaged me including Dad and Ric Stephens. I didn’t see a ball kicked but I got a real flavour of the game. We could have scored ten, we looked a bit susceptible at the back and we went a bit deep for the final ten, hanging on for dear life. Is that a fair assessment? You’ll have to tell me!!

Was it any surprise that Christian Doidge got their goal? He is a player that oozes quality, he’s a diamond in a pile of manure, the once Malteser sweet left amongst a Celebrations tin full of Bounty bars. He’s a poacher, a natural in front of goal who deserves to be watched by more fans every week. If he rocked up in the red and white of City I’d be overjoyed. I’m told Reece Brown had a decent game too, but outside of that FGR don’t have the quality to do anything other than battle relegation. They certainly don’t have the manager to get them out of trouble. Promotion to League One easy is it Vince? Pull the other one, it’s got bells on.

Once again though, the result on the pitch has been overshadowed by that repugnant outfit and their abhorrent behaviour. In September it was their keeper spitting at Sean Raggett, a crime for which he was cleared by the FA. I think it is worth pointing out, being cleared does not mean he didn’t do it. I’ve seen the video and the evidence isn’t conclusive, therefore the FA had no option but to clear him. It doesn’t mean he didn’t do it, in my opinion he did and I’m not always pro-Lincoln. I didn’t think Accrington should have gone down to ten men a fortnight ago, I’m not just seeing the world through rose-tinted glasses. However, in my opinion, Raggett was spat at.

Anyway, that was then, surely FGR couldn’t stoop any lower could they? Yes apparently, significantly lower. I’ve gleaned what I can from the incident and we haven’t heard the last of it. FGR claim their coach was attacked, but this incident took place whilst it was stationary and surrounded by security. Attacked? Not on your nelly. No, there seems to be a misconception by FGR that mobile phones don’t have cameras on them in Lincoln, but they do and the incident has been caught. I’m afraid the eco-friendly tree-huggers, the fairy tale rise of the little man against all odds, are being let down by incomprehensible behaviour by players and staff.

The Lincoln fans involved in the incident will most likely be talking to authorities and therefore won’t be able to talk too openly. The Gloucestershire media have read a few biased tweets and formed a news story that is wide of the mark, thankfully our own media have not yet followed suit.

My understanding is that Cooperman verbally abused an Imps fan after being told to enjoy the National League next season. I believe that verbal abuse included swearing and our fan banged on the side of the bus – it wasn’t ‘attacked’ in the strictest sense. That prompted a large group of Forest Green players and staff to alight the bus, grab our fan by the neck and punch him. This fan, I believe, had his children with him. The scene got uglier as they then got involved in arguments with other Imps fans, eventually the bus driver (of all people) had to drag them back onto the bus. Professional footballers, football managers and paid staff were involved in an incident which saw a Lincoln City fan punched in the face. When it came to be broken up it wasn’t their manager that did it, but the bloody bus driver.

Football fans give out a bit of banter, bit this hardly sounds like Eric Cantona style abuse does it? Players simply cannot attack fans, no matter what is said, especially not when it is a younger fan. It’s beyond comprehension really, they’re supposed to be professional people.

What more can we say? Once again events off the field overshadow a fine Lincoln win. I’m not sure how Mark Cooper has got to be such a vile human being, nor can I imagine how much lower Forest Green can go in their overall behaviour. I will say this: they’ve no place amongst football’s elite and right now, I’d rather Dover were a Football League club. How dare a footballer get off a coach at our ground and hit one of our fans. How dare Cooperman keep attacking us verbally when he can’t figure out a way to even get a draw from a game. They are a repugnant and vile group of people and I sincerely hope the FA or the police take action against them because it is long overdue.

That aside, we now welcome 2018 in 3rd place. We’re beginning to open up a small gap between us and the chasing pack (and a much bigger one between us and this lot) although matches against Notts County and Luton will truly test our resilience. If we could somehow find a way to take three points from the next two games, I’d believe we might just be in the hunt for automatic promotion. This season is panning out much like the last, start with aspirations, exceed those within five months and instil a belief that we can do it right the way through until May. On Boxing Day we won pretty, today we battled to a win. This side is looking much like Lincoln of last season, organised, dangerous and most of all, they refuse to lose.

I believe we can go to Kenilworth Road and get at least a point. I believe on our own ground, we can beat Notts County. I believe in Danny and Nicky Cowley, I believe in Lincoln City. Forget all the pantomime surrounding today’s game, Forest Green will get what is coming to them eventually, but we’re Lincoln City and I believe we’re better than all of that.

14 Comments

  1. FGR are a far better team than their league position suggests. Why we went into defensive play during the last 15 minutes is beyond me and it almost cost us the game.

  2. Needs to be said, Matt Green had an off day, wasted too many chances for a team looking for promotion.
    Noticed also Danny switched Harry and Nathan mid-way through the first half, putting Harry on the right which electrified his performance but killed Nathan who I felt was totally out of place and not in the game at all.

    Worse thing though, as already said, last 15 minutes was awful, why did we sit back in our half and invite them on to us, better teams will kill us if we start that kind nonsense.

    • I think it’s no secret as Danny talked about it in his press conference that illness has affected several players.. its remarkable and testament to their commitment that they played at all today let alone won.

    • My son and I got to see Nathan at closer quarters in the second half and we both agreed he had a fantastic game. Personally I was disappointed he didn’t get MOTM. As for the switch, it was inspired.

  3. As DC said, we were dead on our legs last 15. Don’t think anybody appreciates how lucky we’ve been to even field a team over Christmas, never mind win 2 games. Why so critical?

  4. It was a risk sitting back but if you listen to DC in his post match interview he said they were all just shot. He said the illness which has struck the team has really taken its toll. You must give the lads credit for battling through when are only running on prob 70% of what they are used to.

  5. Very good comments, agree with ALL of them, why sit back and invite pressure when we are on top? Nathan looks too light weight for league 2, he keeps dangling out a foot instead of tackling. But great work ethic from them all if not always very pretty, if it gets you points, then keep doing it.
    UTI look forward to 2018 with great hope and expectation.

  6. I, like most fans there, couldn’t understand why we sat back in the last 15 minutes. But in the post match interview, Danny pointed out that many of our players are still suffering from the illness that has been sweeping through the squad. And having such a small squad meant that some of those affected had to be on the pitch. They gave it 110% to get the win and basically were running on empty towards the end, hence the reason we sat back. Certainly made sense to me when I heard Danny say that.

  7. In my humble opinion, 2 reasons why we sat back: first, after the sickness bugs that have hit the squad they were knackered and tactically this was a good way of conserving energy ahead of Monday. Second, for all their silky passing game FGR were pretty ineffective! For the greatest majority of time they went backwards and forwards across the middle of the park but rarely got into the last third. (This argument loses credibility when we saw their disallowed goal in injury time – but I think it’s a reason they did it!). The results page in the paper this morning shows we won – that’s what matters when playing 4 games in 9 days!

  8. BTW – I thought Nathan had one of his best games for a while – pressed hard and some lovely touches. Feel he has become a bit shot shy – needs to be a bit more confident in front of goal but was pleased for him yesterday.

  9. It was clear they were knackered near the end, although we do have a tendency to drop deeper when our main strikers have been subbed. Would much rather we defended higher up the pitch.

    I don’t agree that FGR are a better team than their position suggests. Without Doidge, they’d be sunk without trace. Had Greeny or Harry had their shooting boots on, we’d have won handsomely ;their defence looked suspect throughout, in my opinion.

  10. The most bizarre incident of the game was surely the FGR free kick in front of the coop stand. Two players hovering over the ball, one picks the ball up and puts it down again, as the second runs in and kicks the ball well wide of the goal! What was that all about?

  11. Re the ‘attack on the FGR bus’ sadly the Times today reported it, journalism there is normally a good standard but used the phrases ‘allegedly’ and ‘according to Forest Green’s Twitter account’. Sloppy.

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