I stated in an article yesterday that today’s game with Sunderland is the sixth time the Imps have reached the semi-final stage of this competition.
Technically, that is correct, but it is only the third time we have been one game from Wembley in the EFL Trophy, and one of those was not a semi-final! Let me explain.
This trophy has been called many things over the years, starting without a sponsor as the Associate Member’s Cup before changing to the Freight Rover Trophy, Sherpa Van Trophy and Leyland DAF Cup. In 1992 we continued to participate in a vehicular-themed competition, namely the Autoglass Trophy, Auto Windscreens Shield and then LDV Vans Trophy, In 2007, until we dropped out of the league, it moved over to decorating, the rather dismal Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. Recently, as many will know, it has been Checkatrade Trophy, Leasing.com Trophy and finally the Papa John’s Trophy, unfunnily dubbed the Pizza Cup. I would ‘lol’, but it isn’t worth the effort.
Technically, there was an incarnation of the competition that carried the name the Football League Group Cup, contested in 81/82 (Grimsby won it), and 82/83 (we got to the final and lost, at Sincil bank, to Millwall). If we include that as the first knockings of the competition, then the first semi-final we played in it was against Chester City on February 8th, 1983. We won that 3-1 after extra time, Glenn Cockerill, Trevor Peake and Phil Turner netting. We lost the final, 3-2 at Sincil Bank, with Marshall Burke netting twice for us.
That was the first time we made a semi-final in the competition, indeed even appearing in the final, and we know all about the game against Sunderland, but what of the other four occasions we have played a semi-final in the EFL Trophy? I’m sure you have asked yourself the same question (No? Really? Just me? Oh), so it is handy I am on hand (with thanks to Malcolm Johnson) to guide you through it!