Lincoln City are still top of the early League Two table after an entertaining but evenly balanced derby-day draw with Grimsby Town.
I’ll confess yesterday I was pretty distracted, our annual family party took place and although I had the game on the radio ahead of the guests arriving, there was no iFollow feed, so I’m not in a position to comment too much. That may be disappointing if you’ve got on this for some sort of assessment, but I’m not going to blag you, especially when half of you were probably there anyway.
What I do know is that the draw is being treated like a defeat in some parts of Lincoln, whereas up the A46 you’d think they had won the league. Both sets of fans would be doing their side a disservice: a draw at Grimsby isn’t a bad result for us and they shouldn’t be shocked at getting a point because from what I’ve seen and heard, they’re a decent outfit who are only a couple of players away from a proper play off push.
Here’s the thing: you win your home games, draw your away games and you’re going up. If you occasionally play below-par and get points, you’re going up. Yesterday we weren’t at our best, but we got a point and that is as much as anyone can ask. My understanding is we got a bit of an awakening in parts of the game, out-manoeuvred by a team whose opening day defeat looks like being an anomaly, rather than the norm. Maybe we’re not going to have it all our own way, maybe we’re all getting carried away with the bookies making us favourites and Swindon letting us score four. Sometimes, sides are going to give us a run for our money because football is eleven against eleven and anything can happen.
Whilst I won’t comment much further on the game, I do feel well placed to smile at some of the social media reaction. Put simply, some fans seem to be going into melt down already. I see John Akinde (three goals in four games, that John Akinde) is the latest scapegoat. Apparently he’s lazy, looks disinterested and should be replaced. Right. Tell me, have you ever had to take a late penalty to level the scores in a huge local derby? Every had to settle into a new club, a new style of play and alongside new players? Ever scored three in four games whilst being ‘below par’ and lazy? No? Thought not.
I get that people can offer opinions, it is all I do here, but sometimes I despair at what I read, to a point where I stopped reading. I know we drew and we were expected to win, but are we not top of the table, unbeaten and having scored nine in three games? If Akinde keeps scoring at the rate he has been doing, penalty spot or not, he’ll get 32 goals this season, yet he’s lazy and disinterested? I don’t buy that a penalty is an easy goal, you have to put them in the net when presented with the chance and as a team, you have to be in the area and attacking to win one.
I see Freck is coming in for some stick too. Honestly? I don’t think we’ve seen the best of him yet and after six months, maybe that is a concern. I didn’t see him yesterday so I can’t comment, but what I do know is he was excellent against Swindon last weekend. Again, this side is settling down and at this early stage I don’t think last seasons form should be brought into the equation.
Danny spoke in the fan’s forum about managing expectation, mainly in the playing squad, but maybe we should also take heed. What do we expect? To win every game 4-0? All of this ‘lets smash the cods’ on social media is fine, but the reality is Blundell Park is becoming a tough place to visit again and with the added pressure of it being a derby, a draw is a decent result.
That is going to be my last word on yesterday. It would be remiss of me to say too much more having not been there, but don’t underestimate the result. I always say the opening day throws up results that are odd, look at the 1995/96 season when we beat Preston 2-1. They ended up winning the league and we ended up getting through three managers and almost got relegated. Grimsby won’t lose many at home this season, not in the style they lost against Forest Green and when everything is said and done, a point there will be a decent outcome.
We’re still top and we’re still unbeaten.