Concluding our brief look back at Lincoln in the FA Cup...P is for...
A total of 797 players have made an FA Cup appearance for the Club with 34 of them only making substitute appearances. 215 players have only appeared in one game for us with just 84 appearing ten or more times.
Most appearances is 27 by George Fraser followed by Dave Smith on 25, Herbert Simpson with 24, Harry Pringle with 23, Tony Emery 22, Joe Duckworth on 21 with Quentin Neill and Paul Farman on 20 starts each. Another current Imp Alan Power, who has started 19 games and made a further two appearances off the bench, is the only other player to have appeared more then 20 times.
Of players with known birthdates 12 have appeared under the age of 18 with the youngest being goalkeeper Jack Kendall who was 17 years and 40 days old when he appeared at Chesterfield in 1922. At the opposite end of the scale another goalkeeper Albert Iremonger was 42 years and 74 days old when he appeared against Preston in 1927, our oldest player.
We have scored 502 goals in FA Cup ties but only two players have managed more than 10 with Billy Dinsdale leading the way with 14 goals in 10 appearances followed by John Irving with 12 in 17 games. We have benefited from 10 own goals as well. Youngest scorer is Herbert Newsum who scored in our very first tie at Hull in 1884 aged 17 years and 209 days whilst Jimmy Bauchop was 37 years and 193 days old when he scored against Northampton in 1923.
Finally Jamie McCombe’s appearance against Oldham was just his third for us and came 11 years and 20 days after his Imps' FA Cup debut which puts him behind Tony Emery at 12 years 48 days, Phil Hubbard at 11 years 364 days, Harry Pringle at 11 years 56 days and Grant Brown at 11 years and 21 days as having the fifth longest gap between first and last (to date!) games.
In Victorian times protests were often made by losing clubs in an attempt to get matches replayed or results overturned and several Lincoln ties were subject to a protest.
In December 1886 a match at Gainsborough Trinity ended 2-2 after extra time but Trinity protested on five different counts about the result citing Lincoln arriving late for the kick-off, playing ineligible players, it was too dark to see, Lincoln’s equalising goal came after the final whistle and the goalkeeper was impeded for the equaliser (there was no doubt Howlett the goalkeeper was injured leading up to the goal as he suffered severe internal injuries which were at one time considered life threatening although he recovered in time to play in the replay six weeks later!) All five were dismissed by the FA but a sixth they later submitted saying they feared for the safety of their players (after violence at a Lincolnshire Cup game they played on the ground earlier in the season against Lincoln Ramblers) if they had to play at John O’ Gaunts in the replay was upheld and the replay which City won was played at Bramall Lane in Sheffield.
City protested about the eligibility of two Grimsby players after losing 2-0 in 1888 and as such were included in the draw for the next round (away at Old Foresters) but the FA dismissed the appeal whilst at Preston in 1890 the City directors objected to the state of the pitch before kick-off and said they would only play the match under protest but after losing 4-0 they decided not to proceed with the protest to the FA.
Newark did go ahead with a protest about the state of the pitch after losing 3-1 in 1892 and the FA upheld their complaint and the replayed tie was played at Newark rather than at Lincoln again although City still won. Our next round opponents Greenhalgh’s from Mansfield had survived an appeal by their previous opponents Eckington who had complained about one of their players having had a tooth knocked out by a supporter and another player being punched by a Greenhalgh’s player but the FA rejected their protest! A dodgy pitch was obviously considered more worthy of a successful protest than actual violence.
Lincoln’s Third Round tie against Coventry City in 1963 was to become the most postponed tie in FA Cup history as it was called off on 15 occasions.
Despite snow having fallen across most of the country at the end of December coupled with freezing temperatures Club officials were initially optimistic that the tie, scheduled for January 5th, would go ahead with manager Bill Anderson saying midweek “the pitch is not in bad condition. There is no snow on it and though hard I think it is playable at present.” More snow though falls and with around one and a half inches covering the now frozen pitch the game was called off on Friday afternoon.
More snow means the next attempt to play is called off and a week later postponement number three occurs after yet more snow. A further five inches of snow falls meaning a fourth postponement and by the end of the month the postponement count reaches six and with the pitch still frozen and covered in water in places as well as snow it is inevitable that more will follow.
In response to an FA plea for clubs to play games anywhere with a fit pitch Coventry suggest switching the tie to Dublin but it is rejected whilst the postponement count continued to rise as the pitch remained heavily frozen and by the end of February, 14 dates had come and gone but things were looking better as Vice Chairman William Wright lent the Club a compressor and drill and workman began to break up the ice an volunteers including many schoolboys helped to clear the broken chunks from the pitch.
A 15th and final postponement happened on March 4th but the players stayed behind after training to help clear the remaining ice whilst braziers were placed on the pitch to help melt the remaining stubborn patches and finally in March 6th on a muddy pitch the game went ahead. Fifteen seconds after kick-off Coventry scored and went on to record a 5-1 victory!
Finally perhaps this is the season when another non-League side wins the world’s most famous cup competition. Nobody expected LCFC to win the Premier League last season so why not the original LCFC confounding everyone by winning the FA Cup in 2016/17???