You’re not going to agree with me tonight, that is for sure: Imps 0-0 Wycombe

I’ve driven home from tonight’s game wondering how to articulate my thoughts without being called clueless. You see, I don’t really subscribe to much of the criticism being levelled at both Wycombe and the referee, a view I know might not be shared by everyone.

As I understand it, a majority of fans believe the referee was appalling all game, we should have had one goal, if not two and a penalty. Wycombe ruined the game, Gareth Ainsworth has let his hero status slide a little and we’re all shocked and appalled at the way they played.

It’s late and I’m in no mood for picking the bones from our team selection or other finer points of the game, so I’ll wade straight into the big decisions. The first ‘goal’ was, apparently, ruled out incorrectly. I didn’t see it properly but I’m told Rhead was not offside when he got the ball to Frecklington. The linesman on the far side disagreed and few in the ground argued the point. Fair enough, the referee can only follow his linesman, it wasn’t the right decision but we all thought it was.

Rheady then pushed their defender for the second goal. Again, I didn’t see it but from several reliable sources I’m told it was correctly ruled out. I was angry at the time, but I wouldn’t comment further on something I didn’t see clearly. It’s harsh again, but do either of those chances matter if Freck hasn’t skied his effort a few moments afterwards? One on one with the keeper and he went for power, not placement. The ensuing furore over the officials and Wycombe have missed the pertinent point that we should have been 1-0 up by our own means. Harry Anderson skewed his good early effort wide too when hitting the target probably brought a goal. At 2-0, does the referee’s decision seem so important?

Freck and Harry. Could have been 2-0 before the sun had set.

I will argue the point about Harry’s penalty, it was a stonewall. I was once again in a box courtesy of Running Imp and the incident was right in front of us. I believe out of anyone in the ground, we had one of the best views and it was 100% a penalty. Yes, Harry went down too easily, but does that mean it isn’t a foul? He was between the player and the ball, the player made contact, significant contact, and Harry went to ground. Correct me if I’m wrong, but contact in the box is a penalty, is it not? I won’t argue he was looking for it, but it was not a dive, the defenders body moved into Harry’s without a shadow of a doubt. That is a crucial moment and the referee got it wrong, but moments later he gives a free kick to them not twenty yards away for an identical incident. That was inconsistent and typical of his poor performance, but to label him on of the worst ever seen at the Bank is ignoring some pretty horrendous displays, not least from Seb Stockbridge or the clown that took charge against York City last season.

They are the three big points, but if Freck and Harry had not been wasteful they wouldn’t have mattered. We got a few cheap free kicks too, it wasn’t all one way. Late in the second half Elliott broke down the right, then held on to his defender for a minute before going to ground, incorrectly winning the free kick. Yes, the referee was poor but he wasn’t all one-sided. He fluffed his lines, he crumbled in the face of TWO teams who use any advantage they can, on or off the ball.

As for Gareth Ainsworth, we’re talking about him sullying his legend because he brings a team to Sincil Bank that, aside from playing into danger alley, do everything he did on the field that made him a legend here in the first place? Seriously? That was a softer version of Beck’s Lincoln, from cultured wingers (Ainsworth / Mackail-Smith) to veteran forwards (Tyson / Stant) and back to oddly shaped players (Akinfenwa / Bos). I don’t like to see football played that way, if it was football and if they were playing it, but how on earth can we sit and criticise something we used to celebrate?

Let’s not sit in the stands pretending we’re this free-flowing side that operate under the banner of good sportsmen all the time, eh?

The radio feedback talked about their time-wasting and game management, have a look at us in the last ten minutes of the Checkatrade final, or the final fifteen of the Exeter game and tell me if it was any different at all? Danny had the good grace to acknowledge that too, that is how Wycombe play and I’m afraid sometimes it is how we play. Maybe we’re not as blatant, maybe we’re not as good at it, but at times there’s only a few subtle differences between us and Wycombe. If we were third, needing a point on the road, do you think we’d be significantly different to them? Yes, certain aspects might change, but on the whole that was a Lincoln-esque performance. That isn’t me being critical of us or of Wycombe, but let’s not sit in the stands pretending we’re this free-flowing side that operate under the banner of good sportsmen all the time, eh? We’re not quite as bad as they were, but we know how to kill a game when we need to.

I thought when we did play a bit of football we looked the better side. We weren’t on it, but the game was entertaining if not a good advert for the sport. We had a few chances, one or two we should have taken and one or two we did well with, but the same issues that have dogged us all season sprung up. Had we another Matt Green to play with our current Matt Green up front, we win that game 2-0 tonight. No slur on Rheady or Ollie Palmer, but just as was the case on Saturday, Green found himself playing good balls across the area to nobody. Against Grimsby, Whitehouse played the same ball across the area and Matt Green finished it off. We’re not hiding from the fact our squad is ever so slightly short, but lets not blame the officials or Wycombe for not winning the game. We had the chances.


CONTINUED click here or the page ‘2’ below


  1. Pretty much agree. Didn’t understand why Frecklington’s goal was disallowed but was early in the game and thought the chances would come. Thought Rhead challenge in first half was a penalty. Anderson made it easy for the ref not to give the second half penalty. Frecklington should have scored (as should Anderson) in the first half. Rhead did push the defender.

    What I think:-
    – I don’t think Green should not be playing down the left.
    – Frecklington is still not quite on his game.
    – Anderson was disappointing. Just runs in straight lines and makes it easy for defenders.
    – You have to score when you’re on top. Not clinical enough.

    As for Wycombe, very similar to Notts Co game at home. Football but not quite as we know it.

  2. Largely agree.

    I just wish referees would tackle time wasting (including ours) in a different way. Adding time on allows it and spoils the game for the spectator. Speak to the captain (and manager if necessary) and tell them cards will be produced quickly, then do it.

    We lacked quality in and around the box last night, and lacked poise at vital times. Yes I agree we need another striker to complete the squad but we might have expected a better outcome with the players we have.

    Wharton looked a class act again last night but I would nominate Allsop as man of the match for several critical saves.

    Finally we are back in the playoffs. We might not be perfect but this is a miraculously transformed team I thought I would never see. Up the Imps!

  3. Reckon you are spot on with the write up Gary. The game management ( that’s what it’s called these days ) seems to be the norm, it stops the rhythm of the match. Yes the ref wasn’t great in fact very poor. But have to say it was the same for both sides..
    Wycombe weren’t great but I went to the first game and I thought then we would be ok in League 2 after that match. I haven’t changed my opinion.
    It was a far better game than Port Vale and we are still in there with a shout it is in our own hands, there are still points up for grabs, and shooting practice must be on the cards this week before Colchester arrive. ( and yes they also do game management)
    Keep up the good work Gary

  4. Gary,
    I concur with almost all of your excellent report, Danny knew exactly how Wycombe would play before the game, they did not disapoint. A draw was a fair result, given the number of clear cut chances each team created. Park the Wycombe game and lets concentrate on how to beat Colchester on Saturday, onwards and upwards, come on you Imps!

  5. Spot on Gary , all supporters have differing opinions and interpretations the way Wycombe set up to time waste from minute one could have been changed by a stronger ref (comments above / Danny post match ) . Also by the Imps scoring as early as possible to change their game plan for them . I did at times feel rather embarrassed by wycombes ‘injuries ‘
    Their plan to slow the game down was a tactic to be expected of scrapping teams lower down not a clearly talented team that play football and score goals.
    I do feel they missed a trick as Exeter are now 2points closer to them and 3rd place after last night .
    Anyway onto the Imps having been to all of the last few games home and away it is our lack of goals whether from open play or from out trade mark set pieces that is most concerning . This is not a criticism merely an observation , yes we are great at stopping goals against but need to find ways of increasing the for column at the other end of the pitch .
    Whatever happens in the shake up we are making progress and we have to ask are we ready for a big step to League 1 just yet . Just saying not negativity.

  6. From a Wycombe fan who travelled there last night, that’s a fair report. Rhead’s push on our defender was right in front of me and was worthy of a card.

    Refs in this division are awful. They need to be professional. As for out time wasting, its part of the game these unfortunately, I hate it and the ref played over seven and a half minutes of the six added time at the end of the game, so it can still come back and bite you.

    Some of your fans say we didn’t bring many. I think nearly 400 on a Tuesday night wasn’t too bad. I didn’t get home till nearly 3 this morning.

    All the best for the rest of the season

    • Thanks Steve, I try to be fair. I think Rhead’s push is widely accepted as an infringement and even our fans can’t agree on the penalty. It wasn’t a football festival but it was a pulsating, passionate evening all round. All the best.

  7. The referee did not cost us the game. He Will be promoted into the league above and was equal to both sides. We just came up short again against the top sides. It’s a shame we are clearly one good striker short of automatic promotion but the likes of Shockley at Exeter and Doidge at FGR are like gold. Let’s hope we get over the line and buy one come summer no matter what division we are in next season

  8. Gary, I think you must believe like the majority of football fans that the laws of football are made by pundits of television. If you actually take a look at the laws of football, action involving recklessness, carelessness or excessive force are penalty offences but to correct you as I think you are wrong, contact in the box is not a penalty.

    For what it’s worth I thought Anderson had n’t read the laws either and went down when there was contact , but not careless, reckless or excessive force contact.

    We might as well give up on the game if it ever does become non contact!

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