A glittering array of international talent visited a sun-bathed Sincil Bank Stadium on Tuesday evening for the Matty Ellis Memorial Trophy match.
The two young sides were escorted onto the pitch by mascots representing Our Lady of Lincoln Catholic Primary and St Hugh’s Catholic Primary schools, before a bumper 1,400 strong crowd stood together for a minute’s applause.
City created the first opportunity of the match when in the fourth minute, good pressure from Jordan Harper led to an under hit back pass which left Kieran Helsdown bearing down on Arsenal’s England international goalkeeper, Ryan Huddart, who stood up well to make an excellent save. The Imps had settled well and were enjoying lots of possession and on 15 minutes an excellent move saw Jenk Akar switch play brilliantly to full back Marlon Grundy who burst forward before being brought down by Ilias Chatzitheodoridis in the penalty area. Again it was Helsdown against Huddart and the goalkeeper made an excellent save at full stretch to deny the Imps striker.
minute forcing Lincoln’s goalkeeper, Henry Smith, to make an excellent save following Sheaf’s quick feet on the edge of the box. Then five minutes before the break Arsenal’s continued pressure resulted in a free kick 25 yards out after a foul by Akar and Ben Sheaf stepped forward showing excellent technique to strike the ball into the top corner and put the visitors in front. And as the first half drew to a close, Smith was called into action again making a fine reaction save from Mavididi.thArsenal began to grow into the game and found themselves with more possession inside the Lincoln half, creating chances for Kaylen Hinds, Ben Sheaf and Stephy Mavididi. But the hosts still passed the ball well and looked for opportunities to counter attack from midfield through Andy Wright, Sam Fewkes and Josh Barr-Rostron whose driving runs continued to cause Arsenal problems. Mavididi came closest in the 38
Arsenal made six changes at the break whilst the Imps replaced goalkeeper Henry Smith with Richard Walton. Arsenal started the second half brightly and Walton was called upon immediately when Tojali Bola broke beyond the Lincoln back line and struck his effort firmly at the Imps keeper. Following this early scare it was Lincoln who then came close when an Akar corner was headed narrowly over by Jordan Cooke. Harper then came close to giving Arsenal’s substitute goalkeeper a scare, closing him down quickly but the Finish international goalkeeper cleared to safety.
Arsenal’s substitutes, Josh da Silva and Harry Donovan began to have a greater impact on the game, creating chances for Mavididi and Bola. Da Silva and Donovan both attempted to extend Arsenal’s lead with long range however Walton remained untroubled. Lincoln continued to look dangerous on the counter attack with crosses from Mason Love and Jordan Harper causing problems for the Arsenal back four.
City began to make changes on the hour mark with Liam Harris, Leon Loftus, and first year Pro’s Alex Simmons and Kegan Everington coming on, followed by Lewis Millington and Calum Stewart. The home side continued to enjoy lots of possession but found the visitors defence resolute and hard to break down.
In the final moments of the game, a clipped pass by George Dobson resulted in Kaylen Hinds forcing Walton to make an excellent save with his feet. A late burst from Akar almost found Harris breaking into the box and then in injury time, an under hit back pass from Lincoln’s Connor Griffin led to Jordan Cooke making an outstanding last ditch tackle to deny Hinds in front of goal.
After the final whistle, Dave and Fiona Ellis presented Arsenal with the trophy which at the request of the family will remain on display at Sincil Bank Stadium, and following the game Arsenal’s Head Coach Frans de Kat presented the Ellis family with a signed Arsenal shirt.
Lincoln City would like to publicly thank Arsenal Football Club for their tremendous support towards both the game and the Ellis family.