These articles are proving popular, but just not when we’ve lost, so I might switch things up to include just wins and games of interest.
When it comes to games of interest, I think the 1-1 draw with Rochdale counts. There was a player sent off, a player appearing against the Imps for the second time in seven days, but for different clubs, and plenty of promise about the Imps’ performance.
City, hunting a sixth game unbeaten, went into the encounter in 13th. After the blank start to the season, just one point in four, Keith’s side were looking up. Rochdale, under Alan Buckley, were 14th, and boasted future Imp Matt Gilks in goal. Mickael Antoine-Curier started up top for them, having completed a move from Kidderminster, for whom he appeared against the Imps the week before.
City had Marcus Richardson in the line-up, secured on an additional month’s loan from Hartlepool. The full line-up was Marriott, Morgan, Bailey, Weaver, Liburd, Mayo, Futcher, Gain, Butcher, Richardson, Taylor-Fletcher. The subs were Wattley, Bloomer, Willis, Green and Yeo. Only the latter two got on the field.
Buckley’s team were known for their passing football, whilst Keith’s were a little more up and at ’em, but it was the Imps with the best of the early exchanges. One change stood out – a long Bailey throw was flicked onto the post by Liburd, with both Butcher and Richardson having a stab from the rebound, both denied by the excellent Gilks. 4141 supporters were in the Bank to witness the Imps pushing forward, looking for a goal. Instead, Rochdale got it.
I remember this as clear as day because it was the day racism changed for me. I wasn’t a racist, but I would be happy calling a French person a frog, and that’s what happened. Antoine-Curier got a half chance in the area, Mazza tried to catch his tame effort rather than parry, and it squirmed past him into the back of the net. Fuelled by alcohol, I steamed to the front of Antoine-Curier, celebrating in front of me, screaming stuff about him being French. Rick Keracher was close by, and he pulled me up on it, making me much more aware of what actually constituted racism.
I was still feeling a little sheepish when City levelled four minutes later through Marcus Richardson. Liburd was involved, knocking a ball into the path of the on-loan striker, who finished with ease to level the scores.
City should have gone on to win the game, not least when Northern Ireland international Lee McEvilly got himself sent off. He was a big player for Rochdale – literally, in the opinion of Steve Parkin, who took over in December. Parkin described the forward as “too heavy”, claiming he had to “to get his physique down to an acceptable weight where he can get around the pitch”. He was trying to get around the pitch in the 53rd minute, but felt jumping into Bailey as a wrestler might from a rope was acceptable. Eddie Iderton, the referee, disagreed and sent him off.
City laid siege after that. Peter Gain found more space to be creative and almost scored a goal-of-the-season contender, whilst Richardson, Butcher, Lburd and Yeo all went close. However, we couldn’t force the issue, despite finishing the game with ten shots, compared to a single effort in the second period for the visitors.
“We haven’t won at home again,” said Keith Alexander, referring to the 0-0 draw with Leyton Orient earlier in the month. “I think fans will be happier than the last game. It will be a harder season than the last.”
The result saw us fall a place to 14th, with 13 points from 10 matches.