David Artell said in his post match interview that it would have been hard to tell which team was top and which was 17th going into yesterday’s game. In truth, he’s right.
If he needs a few pointers though, he can click here for a league table. Hint: we’re top.
I don’t want that to sound arrogant or anything, but David Artell is right in a way. For large portions of yesterday’s tussle it wasn’t easy to pick out the table toppers. We were, for want of a better word, poor. Crewe brought their A game, we brought our C game and two evenly matched teams fought out a very uneventful match up. In the end, none of that matters though because we won and as I’ve written too much already this season, the only thing that truly counts is the score on 90 minutes.
Lincoln City have won more games than any other side in the Football League. We have the third best goal difference of any side in the Football League too. We lead our division by more points than any side… are you catching my drift? Currently, it could be argued we’re the best side in the country at our comparative level.
It’s why I find it hard to come on here and write much negativity, but I suppose if I were to analyse the game honestly, that is what I would have to do. The first team was largely unchanged, Tom Pett missed out in favour of Michael O’Connor which of course had the experts up in arms because obviously, Freck should be dropped. John Akinde kept his place too, the same John Akinde who, prior to kick off, had been involved in more goals for Lincoln than any other player for any other team. Still, Matt Green wasn’t starting so the two favourite punch bags were on display.
Or two of the first team currently the best in the country at their comparative level. I suppose it depends which way you look at it really.
Moving on from the team selection, it was a thoroughly miserable day in Lincoln and I couldn’t help but think that there was an element of the Crawley about the afternoon. It was dull and overcast with few in the fan zone. Five years ago that was the norm, but if the rain stays away the area gets packed. I caught a wry smile from Trevor Swinburne when I went and had a listen to Phil Hubbard doing his pre-match bit to the assembled fans. Usually you can’t move in that area but thanks to the British weather, only a few hardy souls caught Phil’s words.
On to the game itself, we’ve been widely criticised on social media for the first half performance and to be fair to Danny, he’s even had a bit to say about the first half. We weren’t really ‘at it’ and anyone playing Danny Cowley bingo post match would have heard all the old favourites ‘lacking in intensity’, ‘no purpose to our play’ and ‘couldn’t get our rhythm going’. I don’t think it was all down to us playing badly, Crewe were a well organised side from the midfield back. They made sure they doubled up on our wide players, cutting off the triangles that have bamboozled Cheltenham and Tranmere. It made our play look very disjoined, Bruno and Harry struggled to get into the game and as a consequence much of our possession was fruitless.
Shay McCartan struggled to get on the ball with any purpose and John Akinde looked isolated, although I thought he worked hard again. I’m not going into the debate again on here, you have your opinions of John as does everyone. He certainly wasn’t the worst Imps players on the pitch.
We had chances, at least one. Harry Anderson came the closest, but Ben Garratt saved smartly. If it had gone in, Crewe’s Chris Porter could have had an assist, his header from a free kick setting up Anderson. That was about it for the first half, an uninspiring, tepid performance from a side who looked as though they’d played two away games in the week leading up to the match. That’s not an excuse, but it looked tired. Crewe fought well, rarely threatened and only contributed by stopping our flow of play.
On the plus side I thought the centre halves both did well, not quite as well as previous weeks but well enough to make sure Josh Vickers wasn’t troubled too much.