City’s best ever start to a Football League season (and it isn’t 2018/19!)

Thanks to Southparker Imp, another great fountain of knowledge on all things Lincoln City, for this excellent contribution

Eight wins from the opening ten English Football League games of the season is an excellent return by any standards and coupled with just one defeat it means the 2018/19 Imps’ have made the most productive start to a season since the beginning of the 1930’s. The only other City side since the 30’s to win eight out of ten, although they lost the other two, was the 1982/83 squad so let’s hope that is where the similarities will end!

Prior to that it was in 1931/32 that a City side last won eight out of ten, again with two lost, but whilst that is what the record books show in fact the team won nine of the opening ten games they actually played, losing once, but as two of those victories came against Wigan Borough who resigned from the FL in October they were expunged from the record books.

Amazingly it was only the previous season 1930/31 that City made their best ever start to a FL season winning nine out of the first ten despite losing the first game of the season! Having finished the 1929/30 season by winning nine of the last eleven games, and boosted by the return to the club of Billy Dinsdale after a season away, hopes were high of a successful season and a promotion push was anticipated by many supporters.

Team photo from the City bible The Official History by Ian and Donald Nannestad

An opening day trip to New Brighton, who had been beaten 5-3 at Sincil Bank in the final game of the previous season, was considered a very winnable game but as so often happens the Echo writer “The Imp” headlined his Monday night report “LINCOLN CITY DISAPPOINT” as the hosts won 2-1 despite Dinsdale scoring although he offered readers some comfort by saying “I have no hesitation in affirming that Lincoln City will defeat far better teams than New Brighton this season and the latter will have few victories to their credit”

Two home games followed as Wigan were beaten 2-0 on Monday night followed by a 5-1 thrashing of Stockport watched by 7418 on the Saturday, Dinsdale scoring in both games. He didn’t score in the 2-1 win at Nelson but scored the only goal at Gateshead and when a fifth successive win was achieved in the return game with Nelson City moved to the top of the table.

Old rivals Doncaster Rovers were the next visitors but there was some consternation amongst the disappointing 6722 crowd (although heavy rain fell prior to kick off) when a small boy paraded around the pitch at kick off time with a board bearing the message “Doncaster team not arrived” It later transpired that the “engine of the motor-bus conveying the team to Lincoln proved so fractious that the players had to help push the vehicle up some of the steeper gradients” but they did turn up and the game kicked off eight minutes late with the only goal being scored by Walter Lax (prompting one headline of “LAX NOT VERY LAX”) after seventy minutes.

A visit to Anlaby Road to play a Hull City side that had also only suffered one defeat in the opening seven games was expected to be a tough test but in front of a large travelling support gave, according to “The Imp”, “one of their best displays ever” to go three up at half time eventually winning 3-1 whilst the winning run was extended to eight the following week when lowly Barrow were thrashed 5-0 at Sincil Bank, Tom Maidment scoring three.

Bottom side Hartlepools United were expected to be easily over run at Sincil Bank for game ten but the match was played in a sombre atmosphere as players from both sides and the 7518 crowd, the biggest to date of the season, stood prior to kick off with bowed heads as the Malleable Band played “Nearer my God to thee” and then observed a two minutes silence in remembrance of the 48 people who had died the previous week when the airship R101 had crashed in France. Rather than the expected rout though the visitors gave a very plucky display and held out for 86 minutes before Dinsdale (pictured) scored his fifth of the season to earn a narrow victory.

Whilst we do not yet know what game eleven at Tranmere will bring this season the Imps’ of 1930/31 won their eleventh game (2-1 at Southport) to set a club record of ten successive FL victories before drawing the next game. They led the table until three games from the end of the season eventually finishing 2nd one point behind Chesterfield with Dinsdale finishing top scorer with 20 of the 102 goals scored in the League campaign

For the record the opening ten games in each of the four seasons were:



                1930/31                                                                1931/32

1              Aug 30 New Brighton A 1-2                          1              Aug 29 Darlington H 2-0

2              Sep 01 Wigan Borough H 2-0                       2              Aug 31 Hartlepools United H 6-0

3              Sep 06 Stockport County H 6-1                    3              Sep 05 Halifax Town A 0-3

4              Sep 09 Nelson A 2-1                                                        Sep 09 Wigan Borough A 3-0 (expunged)

5              Sep 13 Gateshead A 1-0                                4              Sep 12 Walsall H 3-0

6              Sep 15 Nelson H 2-0                                                        Sep 14 Wigan Borough H 3-0 (expunged)

7              Sep 20 Doncaster Rovers H 1-0                    5              Sep 19 Gateshead A 3-2

8              Sep 27 Hull City A 3-1                                     6              Sep 26 New Brighton H 3-0

9              Oct 04   Barrow H 5-0                                     7              Oct 03 Barrow A 2-0

10           Oct 11 Hartlepools United H 1-0             8              Oct 10 Hull City A 1-0

                                                                                            9             Oct 17 Stockport County H 1-2

                                                                                            10           Oct 24 Rotherham United A 1-0


                1982/83                                                                2018/19

1              Aug 28 Wigan Athletic H 2-1                         1              Aug 04 Northampton Town A 1-0

2              Sep 04 Southend United A 0-2                     2              Aug 11 Swindon Town H 4-1

3              Sep 07 Wrexham A 1-0                                  3             Aug 18 Grimsby Town A 1-1

4              Sep 11 Reading H 4-0                                     4             Aug 21 Bury H 2-1

5              Sep 18 Bristol Rovers A 2-1                           5              Aug 25 Notts County H 3-1

6              Sep 25 Orient H 2-0                                        6              Sep 01 Exeter City A 3-0

7              Sep 29 Sheffield United H 3-0                      7              Sep 08 Crawley Town H 0-1

8              Oct 02 Newport County A 0-1                      8              Sep 15 Macclesfield Town A 2-1

9              Oct 09 Doncaster Rovers H 5-0                    9              Sep 22 Milton Keynes Dons H 2-1

10           Oct 16 Plymouth Argyle A 2-0                      10           Sep 29 Cheltenham Town A 2-0