It’s always a bit special against Crewe

It is. There’s something about our friends from Gresty Road that promotes frantic matches, lots of goals or intense drama. Crewe and Lincoln in a 0-0 draw? Only once in 43 years.

In that time we’ve thumped them (5-1, 4-1) they’ve thumped us (4-1 twice) as well as a host of other results that raise the eyebrows. For some reason, we always seem to either collapse or thrash them. Whilst the last decade or two our paths have only crossed briefly, before the Dario Gradi revolution Crewe were struggling Fourth Division side, much like ourselves. We met them more often than not, swapping hammerings but never escaping each others attentions for long.

We’re old foes, bound together by history, perhaps most impressively by our own record win of 11-1. That win for City was remarkable at the time. One can be fooled into thinking hammerings of that nature were common place, but that isn’t entirely true. On the same day as our record goal haul, Mansfield Town beat Bradford Park Avenue 1-0, Grimsby won 2-1 at Carlisle and Liverpool won 2-0 at home to Derby. Okay, Wolves won 7-1 at Huddersfield but these results were not the norm, certainly not double figure thrashings. Andy Graver scored six that day and was called up to the England B squad at the end of the season, a remarkable achievement for a Division Three North player. Injury kept him out of the game, but it was still a real feather in his cap. 

Graver, although not against Crewe

As a child Crewe were, in my mind, the whipping boys thanks to that record win. I may be wrong and for effect I won’t check, but I seem to think Spurs record win is also against Crewe and that by association, that made us as good as Spurs in my young mind.

Crewe were the Joker to Lincoln City’s Batman, the Tom to our Jerry, the Texas Pete to our SuperTed. The first time I saw them play was the FA Cup First Round in 1987, us a GMVC side and them in the Football League. We won 2-0, John McGinley and Bob Cumming giving us a two-goal lead. They pulled one back in the 87th minute but we progressed on a historic day. I barely noted their midfielder David Platt, although three years later both Dad and I were cheering as he volleyed past Prued’homme in the Belgium goal to push us forward in Italia ’90. Pardew played too I think, you remember him? No? Crap manager with an attitude? Nutted David Meyler? Yeah, you’ve got him now.

Bozzy scores against Crewe last year (courtesy of Graham Burrell)

We did play them during our last season in the Football League too in 2011, Paul Green struck in the 47th minute of our April clash in a game we needed to win to assure safety. Green was one player who tried that season and he looked like securing our league status. Clayton Donaldson shattered our survival hopes with a late penalty, but I remember feeling positive that we were one point closer to survival. It was the last point we were to win in the Football League for more than six years.

I’ve written before how they spanked our arses in 1990 as my 12th birthday approached, a result I only considered to be resolved last season as we thrashed them 4-1 at Gresty Road. sadly, our tit for tat battle had the stakes raised once more as they beat us last season, especially as Jordan Bowery scored, what with his 1976 connections and all that.

We’ve only met seven times since 1994, drawing four league games, each winning 4-1 in the other’s backyard and of course, us winning the 2005 League Cup tie 5-1. Maheta Molango scored for the Imps that evening, as did Gary Birch, Marvin Robinson and Lee Beevers. Crewe, then a Championship side, took their keeper off at half time with City 2-0 up. 

It isn’t a great time to be a Crewe fan at the moment, they’re struggling with a lack of pace up front and the burden of their Championship exploits weighing heavy. They’re 17th, one position higher than when we made the trip their last autumn, but having won just four in their last thirteen competitive games, losing six of those. 

They might be boosted by the return of Harry Pickering tomorrow, but defender Perry Ng is likely to be out, with Nicky Hunt one option to replace him. the other is Michael Haynes, he’s scored more goals for City than Drewe Broughton, one to be precise in the 4-1 win last season.