Angol hits hat-trick on debut as the Imps go six points clear...City boss Danny Cowley made three changes to his starting line-up for this Vanarama National League game against his former club Braintree Town with Elliott Whitehouse, Josh Ginnelly and new loan signing Lee Angol replacing Alan Power, Nathan Arnold and Matt Rhead who all dropped to the bench.
The Imps were once again backed by a good number of travelling fans who made up a large percentage of the crowd at the IronmongeryDirect Stadium and once referee Neil Hair and the two captains did the necessary in the centre circle play got underway with City kicking off.
An early Sean Raggett header from a long Sam Habergham throw-in forced home stopper Sam Beasant to tip behind for the game's first corner but Ginnelly's low delivery was cleared at the near post just two minutes in.
Three minutes later debutant Angol forced a second City corner which ended up with Luke Waterfall having a header hacked off the line before a scramble ended with the ball being cleared.
A long range Whitehouse drive was then held by Beasant and as the Imps continued to dominate the opening exchanges a Habergham free-kick was helped on by Raggett to Whitehouse whose effort crashed against the bar before the ball was cleared for a corner.
The flag-kick duly came in and the ball fell kindly for LEE ANGOL who got his City career off to a perfect start, prodding past Beasant from six yards to give the Imps a deserved lead on the quarter-hour mark.
Seven minutes later the Peterborough United loanee was at it again and when he gained possession in the attacking third, he duly fizzed a low left-footed drive past Beasant and into the bottom left corner to double the Imps' advantage.
In the 25th minute Ginnelly looked to release Angol but the ball crashed against a defender's arm. The officials were the only ones who didn't see it though and referee Hair earned the wrath of the City fans seconds later when he dished out a harsh yellow card for Luke Waterfall following a foul on Michael Cheek.
Angol came close to a third as his 37th minute header from a long Paul Farman clearance forced Beasant to scramble down to gather low to his left. A couple of minutes later a Deflected Hawkridge effort lead to another City corner but this was cleared.
The half ended after a solitary minute of added time.
HT: BRAINTREE 0 IMPS 2
Both teams emerged unchanged for the start of the second half and the Imps got off to a lively start with Hawkridge whipping in a superb cross from the right but his delivery flew over everyone in a packed box.
After a 49th minute Waterfall header from a deep Ginnelly free-kick bounced a foot wide, Woodyard and Hawkridge combined before the latter's cross was cleared behind by Clohessy for a City corner. Ginnelly again delivered but as Margetts headed in referee Hair spotted a push and disallowed the effort
A sweeping City move then ended with Habergham's cross hitting a defender but vociferous appeals for handball were waved away by the referee, who then pulled up Waterfall up a couple of times for fouls. With the skipper on a yellow card, Callum Howe was busy warming up on the touchline.
A 56th minute Braintree free-kick saw Reece Hall-Johnson slip over whilst taking and the ball sailed straight into the car park and three minutes later the aforementioned change took place with Howe replacing Waterfall in the centre of defence.
After a 64' Snap-shot from Margetts hit the side-netting Alex Henshall replaced Monty Patterson for the hosts before Nathan Arnold and Matt Rhead cam on for Josh Ginnelly and Margetts for the Imps.
Rhead was quickly in the action, forcing a corner following a looping Hawkridge centre but Raggett directed his header over the bar. At the other end a rare spell of Braintree pressure saw them force three corners in quick succession before Joe Maybanks replaced Sam Corne for the hosts.
With 13 minutes on the clock Beasant fired a clearance straight into Angol from close range leading to a break in play and when it restarted Rhead was bundled over in the box by Frankie Musonda.
Referee Hair pointed to the spot and although Rhead grabbed the ball, it was to give it to LEE ANGOL who neatly completed his hat-trick from 12 yards. Three quickly became four when a patient City move ended with Hawkridge finding NATHAN ARNOLD who produced a clinical left-footed finish past Beasant.
In the second of four added minutes Braintree's first shot on target forced Farman to save with his feet before the Imps saw out the remainder of the game to secure another vital three points on the road.
FT: BRAINTREE 0 IMPS 4
1 Paul FARMAN
2 Bradley WOOD
3 Sam HABERGHAM
4 Elliott WHITEHOUSE
5 Luke WATERFALL
11 Terry HAWKRIDGE
13 Jonny MARGETTS
25 Sean RAGGETT
30 Alex WOODYARD
31 Lee ANGOL
36 Josh GINNELLY
6 Callum HOWE (for WATERFALL 59)
9 Matt RHEAD (for MARGETTS 66)
10 Adam MARRIOTT
28 Nathan ARNOLD (for GINNELLY 65)
34 Billy KNOTT
GOALS: ANGOL (15, 22, 82 pen), ARNOLD (85)
BOOKING: WATERFALL (26)
22 Sam BEASANT
3 Jerome OKIMO
4 Harry LEE
7 Jack MIDSON
17 Reece HALL-JOHNSON
20 Sam CORNE
23 Michael CHEEK
24 Monty PATTERSON
27 Sean CLOHESSY
29 Manny PARRY
35 Frankie MUSONDA
9 Lee BARNARD
12 Joe MAYBANKS (for CORNE 73)
15 Alex HENSHALL (for PATTERSON 65)
25 Claudio DIAS
26 Kris TWARDEK
REFEREE: Neil Hair
ASSISTANTS: Lee Brennan & Paul Saunders
FOURTH OFFICIAL: George Laflin
ATTENDANCE: 1,182 (384 City supporters)