City’s stuttering assault on Championship football got a kickstart this evening, as MK Dons were brushed aside in a sensational second half of football at Sincil Bank.
I boldly said the other day that four points from the two home matches would be a signal to me that we were genuine play-off contenders, and that is the return we have got. Not only that, but results went our way and we’re back up in fourth, looking to maybe even reel in one of the runaway top three. It would be a big ask, but little ‘ol Lincoln City are back in the race and holding our heads high.
Mind you, for the first 45 minutes, I didn’t just forget we were chasing a top-six place, I almost forgot what it meant to love football. MK Dons football is lauded when it comes off, but we found a way to stop it, resulting in a solid, but uninspiring first-half of football. MK certainly like to have possession, and I wouldn’t go as far as to say it has no purpose, but it can be rather laboured if they are unable to find the spaces. Sadly, for the neutral at least, they were unable to find the spaces.
The Imps made two changes to the side which started the game against Blackpool. Predictably, Joe Walsh started in place of Lewis Montsma, whilst Anthony Scully’s goal and assist earned him a start at the expense of Max Sanders.
As early as the second minute, City showed some attacking intent. Cohen Bramall, perhaps freed by the experience of Walsh alongside him, got in on the overlap using his pace and earned a corner. The delivery was poor though and the chance gone.
MK’s best effort of the half came on seven minutes, the tricky Sorinola getting a good cross into Grigg, who headed down into the turf and over the bar. Referee Bobby Madley caught a deflection in the move which led to a corner, but little came of it.
On ten minutes Bramall’s pace was causing problems again. This time he left veteran Dean Lewington in his wake, before fizzing a ball into the area. Morton looked to have been bundled over in the build-up, but to MK’s credit they defended well through Darling. The resulting throw in caught them by surprise and Johnson whipped a wicked ball across the six-yard box, but Morton was blocked off and Scully not alert enough to capitalise.
Regan Poole picked up the game’s first booking, justifiably, with a foul on Sorinola, before Brennan Johnson picked up the second, and perhaps should have been sent off. He penalised for a soft foul on 20 minutes and petulantly kicked the ball away, resulting in a yellow card. Within seconds, he ploughed into Ethan Laird and should, by rights, have been sent off. Instead, Madley did his best to keep it at 11v11, and whilst we would have been fuming if it had been against us, it was a let off.
If City were going to score in the first half, it would come from an unforced error more than likely. On the half hour mark, MK let us in yet again, lax passing resulting in a chance for Rogers, who saw his effort deflected up and over the bar. The corner, as was seemingly the case all first half, came to nothing.
MK rarely threatened Alex Palmer’s goal, a Sorinola header which I think was meant to be on target ended up being a nice ball out to the flank, and a free kick dropped into Palmer’s arms, but that was about it. However, by the time half time arrived, City really should have had two.
On 39 minutes, a moment of class from Edun saw him shift the ball past a couple of players before finding Bramall. His delivery was decent, landing at the feet of Regan Poole, who saw his effort blocked on the line. As the ball bounced out, Bramall lay prone on the turf after a late challenge by Laird, who was booked.
On the stroke of halftime, City were given another route into the game. Johnson seized on the error, but he tried to feed Morton in the channel and got it all wrong, with the striker having to work to keep the ball in. He recycled the chance, finding Poole, but his effort was poor and easily blocked.
Despite the handful of chances, the half couldn’t be described as entertaining, which was as much down to the amount of possession out of key areas as the Imps wastefulness when gifted a chance. Anthony Scully, whom Michael Appleton wanted to see more of from the off, barely had a touch, and our best opportunities were created by MK Dons’ back three, rather than our own endeavours. Despite me trying to make the report as interesting as possible, neither keeper had a save to make the whole half.