City might not have seized the chance to extend the lead at the top of the table this evening, but a solid and committed display at the KCom ensured a useful point against fellow title challengers Hull City.
The Imps were unchanged from Friday’s win against Gillingham, meaning no place for Lewis Montsma, James Jones or Anthony Scully, all of whom featured on the bench. The Tigers featured Josh Magennis, Greg Docherty and Keane Lewis-Potter who all played last Tuesday in the 1-1 draw, but George Honeyman came into the side with Regan Slater not starting as expected. However, with Dan Crowley also in the team, it was certainly a strong-looking home side which took to the turf in snowy conditions.
That was reflected in the opening few minutes, as the hosts came out all guns blazing. Within sixty seconds, they’d hit the bar, Keane Lewis-Potter’s effort deflected up and onto the frame of the goal. The Tigers looked hungry and confident in the opening five minutes or so, but didn’t have the killer ball.
City’s first half-chance fell on five minutes, TJ Eyoma got away on the right-hand side and whipped a lovely cross in towards Hopper, who was just a yard behind it as it flashed in front of goal. That signalled a bit of a spell for City. With Morgan Rogers going close on 14 minutes. He picked up a lovely ball, threaded through the eye of a needle by Jorge Grant, but his effort flashed across goal and wide of Matt Ingram’s left-hand post.
City then had a weak penalty shout as Tayo Edun went down in the area, before a moment switched the balance of play again. Conor McGrandles fouled Callum Elder to give away a free-kick and pick up the game’s first booking, but as he was being cautioned, we brought off Liam Bridcutt, with James Jones coming on. Bridcutt had been looking in decent form, but after he came off, we seemed to lose our shape a little.
The free-kick was laid off to Lewie Coyle, but he drilled it high and wide, but the pendulum has swung once again. Callum Elder had a vicious drive blocked in the 18-yard box, before Alex Palmer played the ball straight to the feet of Lewis-Potter two minutes later. The youngster suffered a rush of blood to the head as he curled a shot over the bar, by some distance too.
Seven days ago, it was Lewis-Potter on the end of most of their chances and it was the same again tonight. An Elder cross on the half-hour mark saw a diving header from the youngster, which went wide. Six minutes later, he picked up the ball 25-yards and fired at goal, which Grant deflected wide. There were half-hearted calls for a penalty, but it was a weaker shout than ours and that is saying something. Hull’s final chance of the half fell to Reece Burke, a free-kick from Elder found the centre half, but his header was well over the bar.
The final five minutes of the half belonged to City. James Jones surging run was ended rather crudely by Coyle, who picked up the game’s second booking for his trouble. Grant’s delivery was nodded out of play from a corner, and the same player wandered over to take that too, but his ball bounced just in front of Rogers, who stabbed over. In injury time a mix up between Greaves and Burke saw Tom Hopper come clear with the ball, but he didn’t have the pace to hold off Burke, who got back and poked the ball off the striker’s toes for a corner, which time didn’t allow us to take.