The Imps held to a draw by Sheffield United in friendly encounter

The Imps enjoyed a behind-closed-doors friendly this afternoon with Sheffield United and there were some interesting choices and performances that I felt were worth covering.

As reported by the club’s official site, the game against a ‘strong and experienced’ Sheffield United ended 4-4. They opened the scoring before on-loan Jake Hesketh grabbed a leveller for us. He was set up by Jordan Adebayo-Smith, but still had to surge into the opponents half and finish with aplomb. Just before half time, John Akinde seized on a weak backpass and made it 2-1 to the Imps.

After another leveller, Big John against restored our lead, put through one on one with little under 20 minutes left and finishing calmly. Callum Connolly made it 4-2 to the Imps with a header from Tom Pett’s free kick, before tow late goals from United evened the afternoon up.

The result won’t have been as important as some of the names that featured in the game. Both Jordan Adebayo-Smith and Alex Bradley played, the former perhaps not so much of a surprise given that Boston are part-time. Harrogate, Alex Bradley’s current club, are full-time and therefore his inclusion in the game will have taken him away from them for the afternoon.

That’s certainly heartening; Michael Appleton told us there was no plan to recall either player just yet, but the fact both played a key role in today’s friendly does mean they’re right at the forefront of his mind.

Another big shout came in giving Tom Pett the captain’s armband. Pett made his first appearance of the season at the weekend and aside from a weak pass leading to a goal, he settled in quickly. The fact he was given the captaincy is telling, both Grant Smith and John Akinde would surely have been considered, but Michael Appleton clearly thinks Pett has a lot to offer.

He’s told the Lincolnshire Echo that he felt Pett’s experience could have been important at the weekend; “Because it wasn’t a particularly aggressive game in any way, we thought Tom would give us a little more composure and experience as there weren’t loads of challenges flying in.

“He’ll be disappointed with the build-up to the first goal, but, over a period of time, he’ll be pleased with the fact he’s got 45 minutes or so under his belt. That’s only going to work in our favour.”

Other notable players featuring this afternoon were Harry Anderson, Max Melbourne and Aaron Lewis, with one other name piquing my interest and perhaps giving you someone to keep an eye out for in the future. Have you heard of Sean Roughan? No? Well, you have now.

Roughan is a former Bohemians and Shelbourne youngster who made up the new intake of scholars this season. It’s believed he arrived at the club on the back of the visit to Ireland made by Jez George and Danny Cowley at the end of last season. He’s already been on the scoresheet for the Under 18s, bagging as we thrashed Huddersfield Town at the end of last month.

It bodes very well indeed that players such as Roughan are already getting some exposure to senior football, albeit a friendly played behind closed doors.

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