Cometh the hour, cometh the man. How familiar, needing a point on the last day, missed penalty drama and a late equaliser which settles things once and for all. Lincoln City are going to the play-off semi-finals.
There’s not a huge amount I can say about the game, laid up in a hospital bed with Twitter for company. What I can say, safely, is that there’s just as much tension when you can’t see the action, even pumped full of morphine. My feed has Crawley and Mansfield on too and at various points in the afternoon I thought it might all slip away. I got to follow their game as much as ours and although it didn’t matter in the end, it raised the tension immensely here.
Whilst some people will feel we’ve scraped in, perhaps correctly, a season is 46 games and over that season we’ve earned the right to be in the top seven. Suddenly, that point at Morecambe was a good point, as was the draw at Barnet. It was enough to help push us into the end of season lottery and that is now fact. It could have been better, but that is testament to how much expectation has been raised. Seventh would have been plenty in August 2017 and rightly so.
I’m delighted it was Pett who got the goal, I sang his praises pre-season, long before he became an Imp. I even defended him this week on Twitter, only to be reminded I’d done the same with Tom Champion. In my defence, Champion helped Boreham Wood to a play off appearance (and win last night) and Pett has now done the same for City. I know it was only one goal, but he took it incredibly calmly and using phenomenal technique.
To go one down was uncharacteristic of us, to a degree. I’ve felt we’ve struggled early on this season, but then we did concede early against Macclesfield last season. We certainly like to do things the hard way. Nobody would have called Yeovil scoring first and looking like beating us, such is the stress of the final day. There was none of that over at the Ricoh was there? If I was the FA I’d be looking very closely at that game….
Watching on Twitter it sounded as though we showed endeavour, missed some half decent chances but always looked susceptible to an attack, Fair assessment? For the first time this season, you need to tell me!
I wanted to pen a few words about not being there. I’ve banged on about it recently as regular readers know. Thank you for all the well wishes, in the end I’ve had three lumbar fused which is pretty big apparently. Anyway, it has meant I’m on the periphery of the play off excitement and sadly, will be for the semi-finals too.
It’s strange, having been so close to everything all season, going away to place such as Port Vale, but watching from afar as 10,000 joyously celebrate us reaching the play offs. I didn’t miss a kick of 2003-2007 either, but I’ll be lucky to make Wembley this time around. Sadly, I feel very distant at the moment, I’m sure that will subside but the timing of my operation couldn’t have been worse.
Whether I’m there or not, we should pause briefly now and acknowledge what a truly remarkable season this has been. We’ve ended up with the sort of finish we would have taken happily at the start of the campaign, we’ve got some peripheral silverware along the way and had a day out at Wembley. If we negotiate our tricky play off tie, we’ll be back and this time we’ll know what to expect. If we don’t, then it has still been a successful season.
Tonight, lots of Imps will celebrate, but we’ve won nothing. We’ve earned the right to compete for a place in League One, but there’s a train of thought that it might be too early. Maybe we could benefit from another season in this division, but then again we’re not guaranteed success. If promotion comes then it has to be the right time, if it doesn’t then we continue to build as we have been doing.
One thing in my mind is certain, whatever the final outcome of the 2017/18 season, Lincoln City will become a League One club under Danny and Nicky Cowley eventually. On today’s performance, we’re not quite there, but then again over 46 games, we are. That’s football, subjective and open to interpretation. However, in three games time there will be nothing to interpret. We’ll either be in League One or we won’t.
Would you bet against us?