Get Out of Jail Free: Imps 2-1 Bury

The groundsman isn’t happy….

The analysis I’ve seen and heard so far suggests we were scintillating in the second half. We weren’t. For the first fifty seconds we got at them, but soon those little slips crept back in. I saw Freck and Harry have a little ding dong at one point as a pass got wasted and it made me wonder if the constant changing of tactics had confused one or two.

Slowly but surely we crept back into the game, but we never really looked like scoring. their keeper seemed to be on the end of all our box entries and even when we went all in on the hour mark, things didn’t change significantly. I’ve seen criticism of Akinde, but in terms of contribution he offered exactly the same as Rhead today: little.

We showed great attitude though and kept trying to find a way through. When we did get the little triangles and passes to work, we looked good, but far too often the ball simply travelled across the back four and back again. I thought Harry Toffolo had a good second half, I thought Tom Pett had an excellent one.

The travelling fans will be rightly disappointed

I said against Swindon we were punished with a harsh penalty and I’ve got to say I think that the balance has been well and truly redressed. I couldn’t see adequately to say whether or not it was a penalty, but very few of our players appealed for anything other than a corner and had VAR been a thing, I suspect we might have no more than a point, if that. Still, the ref gave it and upset their rhythm by sending a player off too. Harsh? Maybe, but that is football.

John Akinde came into his own to strike his third league goal for us, his third from the spot. My old man is convinced his languid approach and nonchalant strikes will cost us one day, but he made no mistake at all. The fans , who had never stopped singing to their credit, erupted and there was only ever going to be one winner.

The second came from a combination of two players who didn’t fill me with confidence tonight. I thought Andrade struggled in the 4-3-3 and had to work hard to get into the game second half, but his raw speed and persistence paid off as he outran two defenders and pipped the keeper to the ball. It squirmed free and Freck, another who hadn’t looked comfortable all evening, finished with aplomb.

Afterwards he said he doesn’t think in those situations, it is instinct. I’d prefer it if he doesn’t think too much because that finish was calmness personified. To not blast the ball was clever, to outwit the defender and make the goal empty was pure class. Say what you want about Lee Frecklington, he has composure and quality when it matters. Two cool finishes of very different sorts won us the game.

One of the moments of the game came as the clock wound down, Tom Pett collected the ball in the middle of the park and carried it fifty yards, across the field, constantly under pressure.

I thought our game management was good after that, Grant Smith looked very comfortable and the new keeper might find himself warming our bench for longer than he anticipates. his shot stopping was good, apart from the goal but there was little he could do. Towards the end he took the sting out of the seven minutes, but as a team I felt we reverted back to nervy passes and broken possession. Yes, we showed control to see out the game, but not before giving away silly free kicks and corners when we should have been leaving the ball in block 2, row J.

One of the moments of the game came as the clock wound down, Tom Pett collected the ball in the middle of the park and carried it fifty yards, across the field, constantly under pressure. He was aiming for the corner, but instead drew a free kick. It was classic Woodyard, something I recall him doing early last season and it showed the awareness and composure of the former Stevenage man. Man of the Match? By a country mile.

Maybe I’ve been critical overall, we’re one of two teams in the division with ten points from twelve and yet again we’ve bounced back from conceding an early goal, this time to win. We’ve had a helping hand, be it from Will Aimson or Seb Stockbridge….

Yes, that is right. The referee was one Seb Stockbridge, a man who is no stranger to controversy at Sincil Bank. Remember last season, he sent Billy Knott off at Notts County for a high kick, drawing my anger. He then dismissed Farrend Rawson for handball in the area, at the same end of the ground, as we beat Accrington 2-0 in the league. He’s been one I’m critical of time and again but tonight, he’s certainly redeemed himself in terms of decisions against us.

Did we deserve all three points? Probably not, no

Did we deserve all three points? Probably not, no. Bury were good in possession, moved the ball nicely and all too often made simple thirty yard passes between our players. They were allowed to receive the ball with backs to goal and turn and perhaps if they’d got decent forwards they might have had three or four. We weren’t terrible all night, Joe Murphy made some good saves early on but a draw would have been a fair result.

Still, it wasn’t a draw, we won and just like against Northampton, the record books will only ever show this as our third win in four.

Bury will be fine this season, if they play like that all campaign they’ll sit around the top ten, no doubt at all. I thought Nicky Adams and Stephen Dawson both looked good on the ball, but in Chris Dagnall they have a striker past his best and in Gold Omoyato they have one who needs someone better next to him to accentuate his ability. At the back they were well-drilled but a little naïve towards the end, but their overall performance deserved something.

We move forward, four games down and ten points on the board. Kevin Nolan brings his side to Sincil Bank this weekend in a game that has a huge meaning for them. They’ve lost again tonight, conceding seven in two games and the early pressure is one him. If we could perhaps go back to 3-5-2 or 4-4-2 and find width as well as pace up front, we’ll be fine.

Just don’t go 4-3-3 again because I fear we’re running out of our Get Out of Jail Free cards.



  1. I agreed everything you’ve said there Gary, apart from not deserving 3 points. The lads weren’t at their best, but they kept going, scored 2 goals, conceded only 1 goal so yes they definitely deserved the 3 points against what was a very good Bury display!!

  2. I hope Wharton is back in on Saturday,the defence looked jittery without him,where that leaves Bostwick we will have to wait and see.

  3. All our midfielders were essentially attacking midfielders… the back four had little protection in the first half and were left exposed.. Tom Pett was a worthy recipient of MOM but Neil Eardley ran him close. Frecks dropping back 2nd half made a difference and in turn we were more balanced….10 points from 12 and we remain very much a work in progress. We clearly have good players and some are still working to full fitness. A few grumbles as usual around me but we can look forward to an exciting season.

  4. Can’t believe it x2.
    Team selection and formation. Btw how many games are we poor first half?
    We are joint top of the league and some pond life are booing?

  5. Great analysis Gary, particularly love the insights into the psychology behind Seb Stockbridge !! In my view the answer is very simple, Stockbridge is a good old-fashioned ‘homer’. There’s nothing he loves better than the roar of the home crowd as he points to the spot or flourishes the card in his back pocket. Even better if he can combine the two !! My dear late Dad always used to rub his hands when Keith Hackett was officiating and say ” we’re bound to get a penalty today Dave” I feel the same way whenever Stockbridge is rostered to Sincil Bank. Anyway, great start, bring on Notts County…. Up the imps !!

  6. For me Bozzy needs to go back into a midfield holding position. We look really solid when he’s there (think early second half against Swindon).

    Hopefully Scott Wharton is fit to play alongside Jason Shackell, that has to be our strongest pair at the back. Just hope Neil Eardley is also fit, he was struggling towards the end on Tuesday.

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