YouAfter a fantastic result against league champions Bradford City the young Imps were full of confidence when they welcomed neighbours Grimsby Town to Ashby Avenue on Saturday.
The game started in typical derby fashion with neither side settling, but Lincoln had the first opportunity when good build up play found Sam Fewkes in midfield who switched to Jordan Harper (pictured) who burst into the box and forced a good save from the visitors’ goalkeeper.
Grimsby looked dangerous on the counter attack but Lincoln were starting to stamp their authority on the game. Full backs Mason Love and Marlon Grundy were providing much needed width and supporting attacks very well, and this provided the next chance when Harper hit the woodwork.
This early pressure paid off on 20 minutes when the ball fell to Kieran Helsdown who calmly put the ball past the advancing Grimsby goalkeeper. The lead was nearly doubled when Harper crossed to Helsdown who headed just over, then a low cross from Jenk Acar was almost turned in from close range.
Just before the break Grimsby were nearly gifted a goal when a loose pass from Imps stopper Henry Smith was intercepted but Smith recovered to make a smart reaction save to keep the Imps in front at the break.
Both sides pressed for an advantage in the opening minutes of the second half, but Imps centre backs Jordon Cooke and Connor Griffin marshalled the back line superbly as Grimsby tried to threaten in behind.
Acar continued to cause problems for Grimsby while the hard-working Josh Barr-Rostron was a continuous threat with his runs from midfield. Then in a 15-minute spell the game should have been out of sight with chances falling to Helsdown, Acar and Harper, but the Imps couldn’t finish the game off.
Liam Harris replaced Andrew Wright and had an immediate impact pressing the visitors’ midfield back and looking to break forward.
Then the late drama began, when another Grimsby counter attack led to a dubious penalty on 87 minutes and the Mariners were level. But the young Imps weren’t finished and responded brilliantly on 89 minutes when good link up play found Harper who played a quick one-two with Helsdown before calmly volleying home to seal a hard-working win.
Following a good start to the campaign the Youths now have a short break due to receiving a bye in the Youth Alliance Cup and they are next in action when Chesterfield are the visitors to Ashby Avenue on Saturday 6th September (11.00am kick off).
Team: Smith, Grundy, Love, Fewkes, Cooke, Griffin, Harper, Wright (Harris 75), Helsdown, Acar, Barr-Rostron. Subs: Walton, Millington, Loftus, Stewart.