FT: Imps 2 Macclesfield 1Bradley Wood and Terry Hawkridge both returned to the City starting line-up for this final home game of the season against Macclesfield Town as the Imps went into the game knowing that victory would secure the 2016/17 Vanarama National League title.
With the BT Sport cameras in attendance once again, the atmosphere was electric as referee Tom Nield led the two teams out of the tunnel. Once the formalities with the captains was complete, Macclesfield kicked off attacking the Stacey West Stand.
City started brightly with a second minute Alex Woodyard cross somehow evading everyone in a packed box, but things quickly calmed down due to a break in play as Rhys Browne needed treatment after he ran into Sam Habergham.
In the ninth minute great work by the surging Wood saw the City number two win the game's first corner but Luke Waterfall was unable to get any purchase on Habergham's delivery. Shortly afterwards referee Nield spoke to both Nathan Arnold and David Fitzpatrick following an altercation on the City right.
Lee Angol then had a low free-kick claimed at the second attempt by Scott Flinders after the striker was upended a foot outside the box whilst at the other end Macclesfield's first attack saw Luke Summerfield curl goalwards with Paul Farman forced to tip behind.
Midway through the half a great cross from Hawkridge found Matt Rhead who saw his header crash against the bar before Elliott Whitehouse fired the loose ball over. Seconds later play switched to the other end and after the officials failed to spot a foul on Waterfall, Mitch Hancox picked up the ball and duly fired his side in front.
The visitors' lead lasted just five minutes with City quick to respond and when some neat interchange play came about in the attacking third, TERRY HAWKRIDGE levelled after Flinders failed to hold an Angol drive.
Clever play by Angol three minutes after the restart saw him win a corner on the City right but the Town defence stood firm before a high challenge on Hawkridge saw Summerfield pick up a deserved yellow card.
In the 43rd minute Whitehouse had an effort charged down after Rhead nodded down a deep Wood cross and this proved to be the last action of note as the half ended after a couple of additional minutes.
HT: IMPS 1 MACCLESFIELD 1
There were no changes as the Imps got the second half underway and within seconds of the restart Chris Holroyd was booked following a foul on Woodyard.
Six minutes later a Waterfall header from a long Wood throw-in was held by Flinders and as the Imps kept pressing the Town keeper dropped a Habergham throw but the ball bounced away from Rhead as he prepared to pounce.
An acrobatic overhead kick by Holroyd was tipped over superbly by Farman on the hour mark and before the resultant corner was taken, the City stopper needed treatment after clattering into the post in the process of making the save. Farman commanded his area well to claim the flag-kick when play resumed.
City made a double switch in the 64th minute with Billy Knott and Josh Ginnelly coming on for Elliott Whitehouse and Nathan Arnold. Ginnelly was quickly in the action, winning a corner on the left before having a low show held at the near post by Flinders.
After Farman pulled off an excellent point-blank save to keep out a Holroyd header Anthony Dudley replaced Mitch Hancox for the Silkmen. Shortly afterwards a shot on the turn from Angol flew just over the bar.
With 18 minutes on the clock Ginnelly was dragged to the floor 25 yards out by Andy Halls and he saw his powerful free-kick superbly kept out by Flinders. Four minutes later, the roof was lifted off Sincil Bank as TERRY HAWKRIDGE fired across Flinders for his second of the game.
Macclesfield brought on Danny Whitaker for Luke Summerfield in the 79th minute before a late foul on Hawkridge earned Fitzpatrick a yellow card. Sean Long then came on for Matt Rhead and Danny Whitehead for Ollie Norburn for the visitors.
A couple of City corners gave them the chance to eat up some seconds and just before the Fourth Official indicated that a minimum of five minutes were to be added on great work by Long saw him win a free-kick close to the corner flag.
The last action of the game saw Dudley head over and when Farman took the resultant goal-kick referee Nield blew for time.
LINCOLN CITY WERE THE 2016/17 VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONS!!!!
FT: IMPS 2 MACCLESFIELD 1
1 Paul FARMAN
2 Bradley WOOD
3 Sam HABERGHAM
4 Elliott WHITEHOUSE
5 Luke WATERFALL
9 Matt RHEAD
11 Terry HAWKRIDGE
25 Sean RAGGETT
28 Nathan ARNOLD
30 Alex WOODYARD
31 Lee ANGOL
10 Adam MARRIOTT
12 Sean LONG (for RHEAD 83)
26 Harry ANDERSON
34 Billy KNOTT (for WHITEHOUSE 64)
36 Josh GINNELLY (for ARNOLD 64)
GOALS: HAWKRIDGE (28 & 76)
22 Scott FLINDERS
2 Andy HALLS
3 David FITZPATRICK
4 Neill BYRNE
5 George PILKINGTON
7 Rhys BROWNE
9 Chris HOLROYD
14 Kingsley JAMES
15 Ollie NORBURN
16 Mitch HANCOX
30 Luke SUMMERFIELD
6 John McCOMBE
8 Danny WHITEHEAD (for NORBURN 84)
23 Danny WHITAKER (for SUMMERFIELD 79)
29 Anthony DUDLEY (for HANCOX 71)
13 Craig ROSS
GOAL: HANCOX (23)
BOOKINGS: SUMMERFIELD (39), HOLROYD (46), FITZPATRICK (81)
REFEREE: Tom Nield
ASSISTANTS: Matthew Smith & Martin Parker
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Simon Mather
ATTENDANCE: 10,031 (97 visiting supporters)