Andrew Abbott's Blog

Sunday, 28 September 2014

City take a stroll in the park. Then press the self destruct button-but it was still a stroll in the park.

City manager Gary Simpson said on Friday football on BBC Radio Lincolnshire that if things didn’t improve then there would have to be changes. “Of manager?” asked interviewer Su Whitaker. This rather took the wind out of the sails of the Imps supremo who I’m sure meant anything but that but was forced to concede that City’s latest form, even given the beating of arch rivals Grimsby Town, meant that if he couldn’t engineer the necessary turnaround then he might be dusting down his CV sooner than he thought. As was pointed out in the studio though, any new manager coming in would have to work with the present squad; such is the reality of the transfer window. Could a new broom do any better with the players we have?

Perhaps we saw the answer to that as a City team featuring a fit again Nat Brown, Arnaud Mendy, Karl Ledsham and Delano Sam-Yorke set about Macclesfield Town with a vengeance. I’m coming to appreciate more and more the value to the team Nat Brown brings. I think it fair to say that few fans would name Nat as their favourite player, he's awkward and if he’s going to one day turn into a swan he’s taking an awful long time about it but there he was doing what he does well and the defence had a bit more security about it, not that Macc particularly tested them.

Four players in meant that there was no starting place for Diagne,Power,Nolan and Marshall, they all warmed the bench. There was the usual cagey start before City powered ahead with goals from Miller and Tomlinson. It looked as if we could all relax and enjoy what promised to be a comfortable victory, maybe a couple more goals to compliment a lovely late September afternoon at Sincil Bank.

This, dear reader, is Lincoln City so those of us with a more cynical outlook may have been unsurprised to say the least that City decided that this was all far too easy and how much more exciting it would be if they were to try to get their season back on track with just ten men? Jordan Burrow, for me well on his way to a man of the match award with an all action display, clattered into the very dangerous Adriano Moke leaving the referee, for all the managers complaints after the match, no option but to flourish the red card. Simpson had rather more grounds to complain about some of the yellows though and surely City’s small squad will pay the price for that later on.

Macclesfield started the second half in a way I certainly didn’t expect with a very easy on the eye style but really didn’t make inroads in to Imps territory managing just one shot late in the second half. Their passing was crisp and accurate but if I were a Macc fan I think I would have been disappointed that my side had not had a real go at City but there you go. I’m not and they didn’t so in the end it was a very pleasing result and an enjoyable performance.

Miller, in fact got man of the match, to general approval but it could easily have been Bencherif, Ledsham or any one of several City players who had excellent games not the least Delano Sam-Yorke who ran himself into the ground for the cause and came off to a deserved ovation.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Nat sits out one match.

We’ve all been bristling with righteous indignation at Nat Brown’s sending off and the red card has now been upheld and Nat will sit out a one match ban.
Imps player was not available when I wrote my blog but it is now and I can see that Nat prevented a goalscoring opportunity. It was a handball although the ball was drilled at Brown from close distance so how deliberate it was we don't know, the referee didn't give him the benefit of the doubt at the match or when it was reviewed. We shall just have to take it on the chin and get on with it. I said in the last article I’ve seen those sort of incidents brushed off by the referee and I stand by that but the referee did call it correctly and we must accept that. I’m really not very good at assimilating these incidents at the match, I’m a fan not a manager or referee but Chris Ashton did call it correctly in the commentary and naturally I bow to his superior knowledge. Referees are there to be shouted at anyway.
I can’t see Miller being back in time but we shall just have to see. The problem with going for quality over quantity in the squad means we are always going to struggle to fill the gaps when first choices are out. At least it’s just the one game.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Dismissal shows Nat’s importance to the team.

It’s getting to be a theme now but, once again City played with ten men, this time for virtually the whole of the match as Nat Brown was shown a straight red for a deliberate handball. It would be quicker to list the games the Imps have managed to survive with all the players on the pitch than those where they have suffered a sending off.

There was of course much debate in the stands as to the correctness of the decision, for my money the handball was one of those you’ve seen ignored by the officials as mere clumsy play and, Imps player not being available yet I really can’t say whether Nat was the last man or not. I can say though that it changed the course of the game.

City looked good after the sending off passing well and looking committed. If anything Torquay were thrown out of kilter and the Imps led via a penalty. I didn’t think there was much validity to that either. Was the referee trying to even things up?

After that good spell City started to retreat somewhat and Nat’s absence began to tell, especially with Miller still being out the defence. He may be something of an unappreciated player but without Browns workmanlike contribution and guidance City looked vulnerable. It was no surprise when Torquay levelled and took the game. It may be that the outcome was always going to be the way it turned out but I pay my money to have the players decide the result not a referee hoping for better things on the strength of another “look at me” display. It wasn’t just the referee either, a string of unfathomable offside decisions underlined a poor display by the officials. For a division just one step below the football league this standard really isn’t good enough.