Back to earth with a bump: Imps 0-1 Crawley

It’s not often we leave Sincil Bank having been beaten, but are there some early warning signs after it happened twice in a week?

It was easy to be complacent about Tuesday’s result, a competition we’ve already won hardly seemed worth getting worked up over, especially when you look at the changes we made. However, that word complacent takes a whole new meaning on this evening after we were beaten by Crawley.

I’m going to jump straight into the game and look at a rather tepid and half-arsed first half. Is there a better way to describe it? Crawley were decent, nothing more, but we weren’t at the races. Ollie Palmer could have opened the scoring, but luckily he showed the sort of finishing ability I remember him having. It was an early warning and the reality is they didn’t have a better chance in the next 85 minutes.

Courtesy Graham Burrell


Our central defensive pair looked solid, Shackell and Bostwick have to be the best there is at this level, but around them we just looked very flat. The full backs, both of them, looked to be exploited on occasion. Passes from midfield went astray and there was a huge gap around John Akinde. All over the park, bar the two centre half positions, we were sloppy.

In flashes, Harry and Bruno both showed their skills and both had efforts at goal in the first half which were perhaps a little wasteful. It was Harry first, doing the hard work but drilling a tame ball off target. Bruno screamed at him across the box, politely suggesting there was a better option. Within fifteen minutes it flipped the other way, Bruno had a good chance which he chose to take himself rather than share.

Even though we were poor I felt we had the best chances and they don’t come better than John Akinde’s just before the goal. I champion Akinde as one of the best strikers in this league, but he flashed an effort wide that it looked harder to miss than score. It wasn’t a howler, but it didn’t demonstrate the quality I believe he has. Against Exeter I felt John took a huge step forward, today he took a couple back.

There’s only one noise that should stop you playing and that is a whistle, not a wingers scream as he goes down.

Then there’s the goal, a classic case of not playing to the whistle. Was there a foul on Bruno in the build up? Maybe, but the fact is if you go down there’s no guarantee the referee will believe you. I didn’t see an infringement, that’s my opinion. I don’t think anything happened to him that Palmer and Bostwick hadn’t been doing to each other all game. However, he went down, a couple of our lads paused and it’s 1-0. I’m sorry to say, it was criminal to give that goal away. There’s only one noise that should stop you playing and that is a whistle, not a wingers exaggerated scream as he goes down.

I’m not saying Bruno dived by the way, nor that he was at fault. It was those around him who chose to argue and not follow play. It wasn’t the first time either, earlier in the half at the other end we had a cracking chance but Harry paused on the ball believing their defender had been fouled. His tame effort earned a corner but I think he felt that play was going to be called back. Danny talks about learning lessons, I’m sure there’s a big one there.

Courtesy Graham Burrell

On the balance of play I thought we were worth a draw at half time. Crawley are a decent side but they’re nothing special. They did their homework though, they isolated Akinde, whether that was purposeful or a failing on our part I don’t know. However, it is worth remembering that we did have chances in the first half and could have been in the lead.

The second half looked to start well, but not in the conventional sense. We didn’t threaten the goal and our patterns of play didn’t come back, but Crawley just retreated in the second half. I still have a problem with our set pieces, aside from maybe one corner we don’t make the best of them. We had free kicks in decent positions too, but again made little of them. That ’round the corner’ set piece that we did with Matt Green last year has stopped working, this afternoon we tried it and just looked foolish.

Whilst we’re on the subject, you remember Matt Green right? Yeah, me to. Good striker. Anyway….

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  1. Like I said in my last comment, it’s a 46 game season and it would take an extraordinary team to lead from the no.1 position, a lot of good luck and few injuries plus staying in form throughout! One game at a time, let’s not get in front of ourselves. Having said that, where would you prefer to be right now, in Lincoln or in Nottingham? Says it all really, doesn’t it!!! Poor old County, they are in meltdown….. UTI

  2. A Fair summing up we never got going today and the contrast to last Saturday is unbelievable, we were a completely different team.

  3. Totally agree with your summing up Gary, we weren’t at the Imps best today at all. Let’s face it we have been lucky with getting results when played poorly. Crawley were no where near as good as Bury but we got a result. Northampton like wise. Today may have been a massive wake up call, and just the kick up the backside we need.
    Rhead & Green should have been brought on earlier, but Danny knows best.
    We are used to winning at Sincil Bank and the result hurts . The only good thing was the goal wasn’t scored by Ollie
    It’s only a blip and we will learn from this. UTI

  4. I thought Akinde’s chance from Andrade’s cross in the first half was very difficult. It looked to me like he had to take it running at full pace and didn’t have time to alter his stride pattern to make a more accurate connection. If that’s the case then he did well just to get a toe on it. He looked isolated all game. The system we played today relies on players getting near him or running past him when the ball goes into him. That very rarely happened. I think he’d be much more effective with a partner, not someone playing off him in the hole.

    We were altogether pretty ineffective in attack today.

  5. An excellent summary Gary. I would slightly disagree about the Bruno Andrade incident. There was a hesitation before he went down as if he thought it was worth reinforcing his claim for a foul. He did not need treatment in the event. It put a couple of our players off (possibly because they were waiting for the ref to stop it for a head injury if not for the foul). A learning point I think. I just wonder if the same team that thrashed Exeter were (deep inside themselves and not even consciously) complacent about Crawley and could not get going when the opposition started strongly. So many players were off the pace it is hard to explain. It is a wake up call for sure but we are still top, still have a fantastic squad and wonderful management team. Up the Imps!

  6. Bias for and against individuals in this write up… Ollie Palmer you have never liked… and you sponsor Greeny… It wasn’t a bad game to be fair… we created some decent chances but the final pass let us down. The free kicks down the sides were well worked and weighted unfortunately the final ball was again missing… I’m afraid Akinde will divide opinion… good finisher but not combative enough We have to find a different way. Dare we try Rheady and Akinde together. It would be an interesting experiment..

  7. Your assessment is spot on, can’t blame the ref, we were just slack for most of the game. Just hope bounce back UTI

  8. Hi Gary
    Firstly I agree with your overall assessment of the match. I think we all have to try and remember just how far we have come in such an incredibly short space of time and because of that there will be problems along the way.
    The big disappointment for me on Saturday was something that’s always annoyed me with football fans and that’s the Selenity Stand standing up and applauding Freck as he left the pitch. Yes, well done Freck for that unnecessary challenge and making it incredibly difficult for the rest of the team. Just the example the new Club Captain needs to be showing. I’m not saying boo him off or get on his back but a standing ovation, really!! UTI

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