This afternoon at the Northolme, a new era began for Lincoln City.
Two strong teams took on the Holy Blues in a friendly, with few absences which is in stark contrast to last season. Little can truly be gleaned from friendlies, certainly not the first one after the summer, a mere eight days after the players first reported back from their break, but nonetheless, it feels like a positive. There were certain nuances to the afternoon’s proceedings that fans will be happy about, and from which we may be able to glean some insight into the next few weeks.
Firstly, the club named two teams for each half; that means 22 fit outfield players capable of putting in a shift; that’s at least seven more than we had at the end of last season! Sure, some were youths, but that in itself is positive, as we’ve got a strong contingent of young players ready to fill any gaps in the squad that are still evident four weeks from today when Exeter visit the Bank.
Chris Maguire was not at the game; he was spotted with his feet up on the seats in 200 Degrees Coffee Shop whilst the game was going on. Anthony Scully and Lewis Montsma didn’t feature either, but both were spotted at the game. Disappointingly, the was no Joe Walsh, and it’s unclear if he was at the Northolme or not.
In the first half, City lined up with Sam Long in goal, Sean Roughan, Paudie O’Connor, Hayden Cann and TJ Eyoma at the back, Lasse Sorenson, Max Sanders, Charles Vernam and Ted Bishop with Jovon Makama and Tom Hopper leading the line.
As you’d expect, the game wasn’t played at a breakneck pace, and it was Sean Roughan who registered the first shot on target on 16 minutes. Roughan has been a forgotten man for the last 18 months or so, but Jez commented during his presentation on Monday night that Sean was one we’re hoping to see more of this season. That’s a huge positive, as the young Irishman was on his way to becoming a firm fan favourite before he was hooked from the team in late 2020.
Max Sanders had an effort cleared off the line, whilst Charles Vernam was denied a first-half goal after a flying save by Trinity’s trialist keeper. At the other end, their captain Andrew Wright had their first shot on target on 37 minutes, but his free-kick didn’t cause Sam Long any issues.
Two minutes later, City were ahead. Debutant (although not really, because it was a friendly) Charle Vernam delivered a cross into the area for Ted Bishop to nod home. That seemingly sparked the Imps into action, and within 120 seconds, it was 2-0. The trialist keeper, who’d made a couple of saves, couldn’t get anything on Sean Roughan’s long-range effort after smart work by Sanders. It capped a decent half for Roughan, returning after his loan spell at Drogheda.
It was all-change for the Imps at half time. Jordan Wright took his place between the stick, with Jamie Robson, Adam Jackson, Regan Poole and Elicha Ahui across the back. Billy Brooks, Tashan Oakley-Boothe, and Morgan Worsfold-Gregg completed a young-looking midfield, with Hakeeb Adelakun, Ben House and Charley Kendall up top. Obviously, this isn’t Kendal’s real debut, that’ll come in four weeks’ time (maybe), but it was the first time we’d seen the prolific striker in red and white.
Adelakun and Oakley-Boothe both had early second-half efforts, but it was a quiet opening 25 minutes, with the burst ball perhaps the highlight! Jamie Robson and Ben House both fired over before we got the first (hopefully of many) goal for Kendall. new boy Oakley-Boothe flicked the ball on for the livewire to strike, making it 3-0 to City.
Bradley Grayson had the home side’s best chance on 81 minutes as his free-kick struck the top of the crossbar, but it was City who struck the final blow. Ben House was the creator, with Billy Brooks nodding home to make it 4-0.
1246 fans watched the game, which makes this great practice for when we go to Forest Green, and of course, it was great to see the lads back in action. Nothing can be gleaned from the result, but Mark Kennedy will be delighted to have got 45 minutes into most of his available players.