That’s what good teams do: Macclesfield 1-2 Imps

After the break it remained relatively one-sided, City pouring forward and on another afternoon it might have been 4-0 going into the final minutes. As mentioned, Kieran O’Hara has had a wonderful game, keeping the score down going into the final stages. His save from McCartan’s free kick was good, his save from Anderson’s header was sublime and then he saves from Akinde too, all three of which would and could have gone in on another day. He’s on loan from Manchester United which is perhaps a nod to his ability, but I have to ask what they’re putting in the water at United. Sam Johnstone, Dean Henderson and even O’Hara, all incredible keepers being farmed out on loan, or sold.

I don’t think anyone can fault Akinde today. Because he’s big and at time a little languid, he takes a lot of stick and there’s definitely an element just waiting for him to fail, albeit a small one. He’s keeping Rhead out of the team, Rhead is a fan favourite and of course, John cost a lot of money. Put all of that to one side though, he’s a good striker who we seem to see the best of away from home. On another afternoon, he gets two or three goals and that was a sharp contrast to the tepid showing he put in last week.

Of course, disaster struck when Macclesfield equalised, a goal from Jamie Grimes who was one of the players I picked out on the Podcast this week. There wasn’t a lot wrong with the goal but it was galling to know we’d done everything but score and they managed to do so with what felt like their first shot of the game. That’s football though, all the usual clichés can be rolled out about ‘it only takes a minute to score’ or ‘you have to take you chances’. Well, in one moment they took one chance and it looked as though we’d be sharing the points.

I’d had a sneaky look at my phone by this point and knew Newport were being humiliated at home, which gave me an inkling that we’d be top with a draw, but teams that win titles, or get promoted, don’t simply accept draws, even when it has been presented in the manner this one was. It would have been easy to shrug and make some half-arsed comment about ‘that is football for you’, but Lincoln City aren’t about that.

Jason Shackell – Courtesy of Graham Burrell

The winner came, predictably, from a set piece. Let’s not play down the Andrade effect in the goal, his jinxing produced yet another save from O’Hara which, on another day, would have restored our lead. The quality of the young keeper could hardly be faulted and he was rightly named Man of the Match, rightly and prematurely. The second doesn’t take away from his overall game, but he did make an error, coming for the ball when he should have stayed put. The result? That deadly centre forward and clinical finisher, Jason Shackell, banged home the winner.

Jason Shackell got Man of the Match, but it could easily have been Andrade or Tom Pett. That isn’t to say the other lads didn’t play well, all in all I thought it was an assured and decent performance. Okay, we didn’t win 6-0 like Yeovil did, but we’ve got a three-point lead back at the top, we’re still top and we’ve got a good goal difference. You don’t get any more points for scoring so many and this was a game in which the win was the most important thing.

We had to bounce back from the Crawley game or, as soon Negative Neds would say, three defeats in four games. We know the Mansfield game was a free hit and the Blackburn was a match against much better opposition, but it was still three defeats in four. Now, we’ve lost one of eight league games. That is a stat I prefer much, much more.

There’s got to be an honourable mention for Shackell and Bostwick. They’re fast becoming an iconic Imps’ pairing at the back, a mix f experience and power but completely without fear. I had doubts about Shackell, not his ability but whether he could play 90 minutes every week and keep pace. He might be 35 but he’s incredibly fit and is showing the rest of League Two’s defenders how it is done. As for Bozzy if he ever wants to drink beer out of my fridge, watch my TV and take my car for a spin, he’s more than welcome. Hell, I’ll even pay for his taxi fare here.

Never get too low when we lose, never get too high when we win, right? There’s a long way to go but this afternoon we showed three very important character traits that all good teams have: we bounced back from a loss last week, we fought back into a winning position after a late blow and we got our 12th scorer, further enhancing the fact we have goals from everywhere.

Next week it’s the big one, MK Dons at home. I’m delighted we’re going into that game with a nice cushion between us and them.





  1. Three points hard earned against a very poor team.Citys forwards need to be slicker in front of goal and the forward line goal famine goes on ( apart from penalties ) .This isn’t meant to be negative but let’s see more goals from the three goal machines Akindi Andradi and McCarton !

  2. Many astute signings by the Cowley boys but I have to say Shackell as a left of field unannounced and replacement for Luke has to be and will be proven to be the best .
    Such an organiser and leader an inspiration for all around him , just a great piece of business.
    Not just because he got the winner today !

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