City moved one step closer to qualification for the knock out stages after defeating Everton’s Under 21 side at Sincil Bank this evening. Two first half goals from Jordan Maguire-Drew were enough for the home side to take the spoils despite a late goal from Dennis Adeniran for the visitors.
Danny Cowley shuffled his pack for the visit of the youngsters of Everton in the Checkatrade Trophy this evening, with the notable addition to the team sheet being inclusion of Cameron Stewart on the bench who was in line to make his Imps’ debut after signing a short-term deal this week with the club.
It was a livewire start from the Imps who took the lead in the game just three minutes in, Ollie Palmer sliding a lovely ball in down the left channel for Josh Ginnelly, he took a touch before cutting inside Nathangelo Markelo at full back for the Toffees and curling a shot towards the far post, the ball cannoned off the upright before rebounding to Jordan MAGUIRE-DREW who slotted home with aplomb.
City continued to press and almost doubled their lead five minutes later, a sweeping move down the right found Elliott Whitehouse who crossed to Palmer, he laid it off to Billy Knott and he curled a shot but it went wide. The Imps dominated possession and had the territorial advantage before the visitors first real foray forward resulted in a corner, but they didn’t trouble Paul Farman.
Whitehouse ghosted into the box to get on the end of a Knott cross, the Imps’ number four nodded over the top from around ten yards, the ball returned back up the other end of the field quickly and Antony Evans was left with his head in his hands after failing to connect properly with a deep ball to the far post when he was unmarked.
Whitehouse was in the thick of the action, he was caught by a high boot resulting in a free kick around 22 yards out. Up stepped MAGUIRE-DREW to double the lead and his tally for the night with a glorious finish past the despairing dive of Mateussz Hewelt in the Everton goal.
Harry Charsley was within a whisker of pulling a goal back quickly for the visitors after coming inside from the right flank but his measured curler wasn’t quite measured right as it went inches wide of the far post.
Rain began to fall and with the swirling wind it made conditions heavy going in the final ten minutes of the first half as Everton started to press higher up the pitch but Farman remained untested in the Imps’ goal. Bassala Sambou fired a shot over the top from deep inside the City box with moments to go before the break, in truth was the closest the visitors came to getting on the scoresheet.
The Imps 2 Everton U21 0
City introduced Stewart for his debut before the start of the second half in place of Ginnelly, and the new boy was quickly introduced to the game getting involved down the left, he was involved in the build up to a snap shot from Knott but unfortunately it wasn’t on target.
Evans blasted a shot off target after a quick break from the visitors with the opening ten minutes of the second half being played at breakneck speed, no doubt helped with the slick surface underfoot.
Sambou got in behind the Imps’ defence after receving a slide-rule ball from Broadhead but the striker couldn’t provide the finish. Everton continued to come forward and Garbutt played a low ball across the box which Farman did very well to palm clear of danger.
Palmer did very well to dance his way into the box but before he could get his shot away a timely tackle from Matthew Foulds denied the Imps’ number 8. Everton brought on Josh Bowler and the substitute almost had an immediate impact, with quick feet he broke through to cross but once the ball came into the box towards the feet of Sambou the City defence were on it in a flash, blocked the eventual shot from the Everton man who was given little option.
Maguire-Drew linked with Long down the right, his ball was slipped through to Whitehouse and his drive was diverted just wide by an outstretched leg of the Everton defence. 16-year-old Ellis Chapman came on to make his debut with 20 minutes of the game to go as the home side looked to end any lingering doubts the visitors had of getting something from the game.
Broadhead showed great skill on the edge of the box for Everton dancing one way then the other to create space to shoot but his effort crashed into the side netting, before City’s other sub, Matt Green, almost nipped in round the back following a long kick by Farman.
Everton gave themselves hope going into the final eight minutes of the game, Dennis ADENIRAN sweeping home after the ball fell to him inside the box following a free kick. The visitors, clearly buoyed by the goal pushed for the equaliser and but for a tremendous stop by Farman from Shayne Lavery they would have got it. It was to be the final goalmouth action of the game as the final whistle went leaving City needing just one point against Notts County in two weeks time to ensure qualification for the knock out stages.
The Imps 2 Everton U21 1
1 Paul FARMAN
2 Sean LONG
3 Sam HABERGHAM
4 Elliott WHITEHOUSE
5 Luke WATERFALL
7 Josh GINNELLY
8 Ollie PALMER
11 Billy KNOTT
14 J MAGUIRE-DREW
15 Rob DICKIE
16 Michael BOSTWICK
21 Josh VICKERS
10 Matt GREEN (70 for PALMER)
12 Ellis CHAPMAN (69 for BOSTWICK)
23 Neal EARDLEY
28 Nathan ARNOLD
30 Alex WOODYARD
32 Cameron STEWART (46 for GINNELLY)
GOALS: MAGUIRE-DREW 3’, 23’
41 Mateussz HEWELD
35 Dennis ADENIRAN
36 Luke GARBUTT
37 Harry CHARSLEY
38 Matthew FOULDS
44 Bassala SAMBOU
48 Morgan FEENEY
51 Antony EVANS
55 Nathan BROADHEAD
58 Nathangelo MARKELO
59 Jose BAXTER
65 Joe HILTON
40 Sam BYRNE
42 Josh BOWLER (63 for EVANS)
46 Anton DONKOR (83 for BROADHEAD)
60 Boris MATHIS
63 Shayne LAVERY (76 for SAMBOU)
GOAL: ADENIRAN 82’
Booking: Baxter 52’
Referee: Graham Salisbury
Assistants Alan Clayton & Michael D’Aguilar
Attendance: 3,713 (83 Everton supporters)