Four points clear: Imps 1-0 Crewe

In to the second half and the game did improve, not to a point where it could have been classed as entertaining, but enough to prove that the players wanted it. The first ten minutes or so were just more of the same, so Danny tweaked things. Tom Pett came on, Harry Anderson came off and we seemed to go to a 4-3-3, tucking Bruno and McCartan in around Akinde. After all, it hadn’t really happened for us from the flanks, so why not try something new?

There was an instant impact and if you want the goal back, which I urge you to do, you’ll see Akinde involved twice. Crewe didn’t clear their lines after an initial effort and courtesy of a couple of won headers, the ball fell to Pett who rifled an effort at goal. Garratt, who had been in excellent form all afternoon, got a hand to the effort but such was the venom it had been hit with, it trickled over the line. Sincil Bank erupted and the game presented itself for us to take.

That wasn’t what happened though. Not long after a stinging Crewe volley called Josh Vickers into action, but the stopper was alert to the danger. They had resorted to having pop shots from 25-yards, failing to find a way through our packed defence. Again, the two centre halves were dominant, allowing us a certain wastefulness up front. That isn’t complacency, but we know that we can rely on the back two in most situations, even if I did think Bozzy looked a bit like a dog who had gone for an operation and come back partially shaved and partially shaggy.

The warning was there and as expected the game began to open up a bit. Bruno Andrade had a stinging drive that tested the keeper from nowhere, but Garrard was equal to it. At the other end, Neal Eardley got caught out by a bouncing ball and Charlie Kirk found plenty of space, but his shot was tamer than my Mum’s cat. Had that not been the case, it could have been 1-1 but Eardley turned and trotted away as though little of note had happened. Lucky let off. 

Bruno had found some space in the latter stages of the game, maybe the Crewe legs tired, maybe the game became stretched as Crewe chased an equaliser some felt they deserved. Either way, he skinned Kevin O’Connor and the 23-year old dragged him to the floor. It was as cynical as they come, but there was no card produced. I guess rookie referee Paul Marsden felt a 2-0 deficit would be punishment enough. Lee Frecklington likes to live dangerously, so he passed a Gareth Southgate-esque penalty at Garrard to set up a tense final few minutes.

City hung on, as much a testament to Crewe’s lack of attacking power as to our own play. I’m trying to subtlety say it was one to forget, one where picking a Man of the Match was almost like picking the lesser of thirteen evils. Michael O’Connor got it, fair enough. Tom Pett was nominated by the caller on BBC Radio Lincolnshire by virtue of the goal, which is usually the sponsors method of picking it. Me? I would have plumped for Jason Shackell, purely because him and Bostwick looked the most composed of all our players. 

I don’t think we were terrible, but make no mistake we weren’t good. Crewe did very well, they were robust, organised but they lacked anything up front at all. If they had a striker, maybe Matt Green or John Akinde, they’d be on the fringe of the top ten on that showing. I’ve heard at times this season they’ve been excellent, then on the flip side they’ve also been incredibly poor. Yesterday they were alright. 

As for us, as soon as the whistle went I wanted to forget about how we got the three points and concentrate on the elation of seeing a league table with four points separating us and the nearest challengers. It’s a nice feeling, not only being safe for the next game no matter what, but knowing that we’ve been on top for six weeks or so now. We’re the team to catch and whilst the top side changes every week in the Championship and looks like doing the same in League One, in League Two we’re setting the pace. okay, we lost in midweek when we should have won, but in the main we’re winning when we play badly, winning when we play well and all the other times, finding ways to win.

Just imagine when this team clicks properly, when our corners begin to land on player’s head again, when the wingers get free rein, when the patterns of play become second nature and of course, when Big John Akinde gets his eye in. If we’re four points better than everyone else right now, imagine what we could be like.

That’ll get you through until next weekend’s trip to Port Vale.

Click here for Graham Burrell’s match gallery

 

5 Comments

  1. It was very satisfying to win when not playing well, although credit is due to Crewe for their impressive build-up play (fortunately not their finishing). I wish I could read games better (its not going to happen now after 60 years) but I could not understand how Harry and Bruno were so isolated for most of the game. Were they tucking inside a lot (by design or otherwise)? Were they not getting passes or at least getting them in the right places? Did Crewe do something others haven’t?

  2. Full time whistle summed it up. Several Imps players went down into crouch positions absolutely knackered! Akinde had a decent game I thought. Both Harry and Bruno were marked out of the game completely until the first change. Pett came on and changed the game, while Bruno had received a new Duracell battery and came alive.
    Hard earned 3 points and we’re Top of the league!!!!

  3. Perspective is what’s required here… our dominance in the League so far this season is in most part due to a miserly defence that has give little away. We havent really taken any team apart and it will become increasingly more difficult as teams do their video analysis on us. We are currently top of the pile and therefore gives the impression of substantial superiority. I’m afraid even Gary is getting drawn in to being disappointed with a narrow win and another clean sheet. I’m more than happy because the truth is we are probably not as good as people think we are.

  4. At the Bank in recent matches, the Imps play that the weight of expectation is too much, but still finding a way to win. At one stage on Saturday at about 10 metres into the Lincoln half seven Imps were almost in a line , one onthe half way and 2 up front no midfield to speak of. It appears on a number of occasions recently their is no mid field allowing the opposition an easy pick up and an easy passage towards the Imps goal. Thank goodness Crewe did not seem to be able to fathom where the actual goal was. Another positive active game from Pett, Vickers at his best when needed. Top of the league for another week, what a great feeling that is, hopefully the team can maintain the fighting spirit to the end of each match.

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