Andrew Abbott's Blog

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Second half drama doesn’t gloss over a poor display.

It says something when a player who put in a cameo appearance fairly late in a game takes the man of the match. In truth though, as we were summing up performances prior to the announcement of the award, as you do, there was only one player who measured up despite his relatively short time on the pitch, Alan Power.

Power said after the match he wanted to let the fans and particularly the manager know he was still around. He certainly did that. The manager in turn and rather tellingly said that Power had trained well in the week and had distinguished himself in the loss to Grimsby. The inference being that presumably there had been times when the player had not impressed him, so Powers absence wasn’t all about team tactics and formations then.

Talking of formations, which I wouldn’t normally do here because I’m a fan and not the manager and therefore not qualified, It was obvious that City were trying a new line up as the game commenced. Those of us who were wondering who would be left out as a result of Thierry Audels return, meaning a third centre half in the matchday squad, got their answer. They were all going in. Miller and Newton pushed well up and it’s my guess Gary Simpson was hoping the three centre halves; Audel, Brown and Anderson would be well capable of taking care of the Wrexham attack leaving the full backs to maraud up the wings creating chances.

Maraud they did and chances were fashioned but not taken, a fact that was to dog City as the game progressed and in fact it was the Welshmen who were to take the lead and dominate the later stages with quite an audacious goal which was well taken. Wrexham’s frustration was there to see at the end as they were denied by Power’s own outrageous run and well taken effort.

Before that City went back to the usual four defenders, not by way of an admission that the tactics weren’t working but due to Audel complaining of cramp at half time. That meant Powers return and the game started to take on a different perspective after that and fans began to entertain the notion that a City goal could spark a revival that might even take all three points but it was not to be and in the end I would imagine most supporters, like me, were just grateful that the Imps had a share of the points and did not suffer a home defeat, with all the gloom and negativity that seems to bring these days.

There are several players who usually provide the candidates for the man of the match award, just to make it a bit more difficult for the sponsors who of course expose themselves to the derision of the crowd if they get it wrong, as the fans see it. Some of Powers previous MOM’s being a case in point but not this time. The likes of Newton, Miller, Sam-Yorke, Nolan, usually such solid performers never succeeded in lighting the blue touch paper. One player who stood out for me for all the wrong reasons, and I wouldn’t normally single out any team member but I do so because he’s my favourite and will find his way back into my good books next time I’m sure, was Tomlinson. He, as they say, had a ‘mare.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Will the real Lincoln City step forward?

Well you know how it is, we all assemble at Sincil Bank, pleasantries exchanged. Alan Long gets us all wound up, kind of; it’s all rather ironic in the Echo Stand:

“Echo Stand, good afternoon!!!


City swagger on, yes they still swagger and for maybe ten minutes you get the impression its all going to be ok as City spray the ball about then, what happens? Those demons start to extricate themselves from behind the skirting boards, infiltrating the minds of our heroes. Two poor away performances take away the gloss of two decent home ones. What happened to the team that swept Macclesfield aside? The Imps start to labour, weighed down by the fact that they are expected to brush Telford from their shoulders. They’re bottom of the league.

Telford of course fight like demons, they’re fighting for their lives, you forget that in your expectation. They are looking into the abyss. We know, we’ve had a little look ourselves. Our own little devils gnaw away, lose today and the manager will go although not if you listened to Bob Dorrian on Friday football. He did however express his view that failure to secure maximum points from this and the next game would incur chairmanly disapproval and we all know where that can lead so no pressure there then?

Eventually Nolan drives purposefully into the box, finally City show some domination. What are you going to do Telford? There are two options, bring him down or let him do his worst. Crash, down he goes. The referee, who had a decent game, doesn’t have much of a decision to make and he does his duty.

Step forward Newton. He later tells BBC Radio Lincolnshire he meant to put his penalty up in the air. Would you argue with him? Me neither. In the words of David Coleman, one nil, despite the Telford keeper getting good contact on the ball.

The shackles are off and once Tomlinson has doubled City’s lead with a lovely strike City eventually begin to show how much better they were than Telford. They should have had more, many more.

I couldn’t help feeling how fragile City looked. Better opponents would have scampered away from Sincil Bank with the points but they remained in Lincoln. It’s about time we and manager Gary Simpson had some luck and our luck was to play one of the worst sides to come to Lincoln for some considerable time and do the necessary. That’s not to say they were not some good performances. I cited Newton as my man of the match before the announcement was made but Sam-Yorke, Miller, Tomlinson, Nat Brown (for it is he) and Townsends name (once he had got over an attack of the jitters) would not have elicited groans had they been given the award. So one down one to go and let’s not be too critical. Don’t forget Gary, the chairman would be most disappointed if we don’t win the next one too and we don’t want Bob to be disappointed do we?

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Opinions split as City make it four points out of six.

I thought it was a cracking game down at Sincil Bank last Tuesday v Gateshead as City did battle against a very robust and purposeful Gateshead who passed the ball well and generally looked the full nine yards. One elderly fan however muttered what a disgrace it all was all the way out of the stadium whilst the majority of the fans applauded. It was the same story on the radio, praise and brickbats.

I sent a text to a friend about halfway through the first half to say we really had our work cut out and yet City did eventually get their noses in front courtesy of Tom Anderson who needed quite a bit of treatment afterwards (I said they were uncompromising) but it didn’t last long and then City and Gateshead proceeded to knock seven bells out of each other in their quest to win the game.

I thought City looked the strongest at the end but there again I would wouldn’t I? Manager Gary Simpson said on BBC Radio Lincolnshire it was a great advert for Conference football and I’d agree with that. It was student night and whilst the pot took a while to come to the boil once it got going it was well worth the effort.