It was a frustrating afternoon for the Imps after a battling draw against Crawley Town, neither side were able to make their mark on the scoresheet on a blustery afternoon at Sincil Bank.
After an impeccably respected Act of Remembrance and minute of silence, City got things underway and were on the front foot almost immediately and following an early corner for the Imps swung in by Jordan Maguire-Drew was cleared, the ball was then pinged back towards the edge of the box by Sam Habergham, cushioned by Matt Rhead and Matt Green hit a volley which almost licked the edge of the post.
The high tempo start for City continued and it was giving Crawley all sorts of problems, moments later Rob Dickie arrowed a wonderful 40-yard crossfield ball in behind the visitors defence to Nathan Arnold but unfortunately he couldn’t turn it home.
Crawley had a brief sight of goal following a free kick which was floated towards the back post by Enzio Bouldewijn, it was met by the Red’s captain Jimmy Smith but didn’t trouble Josh Vickers in the Imps’ goal.
The returning Rhead was a thorn in the side of Crawley who couldn’t deal with his physical presence, he created a shooting chance for Arnold whose shot was deflected with the experienced, Glenn Morris, in the visiting goal scrambling across desperately to his right to try to save as it crept just wide.
Crawley almost got in front with just over 20 minutes gone as a neat move through central midfield started by Smith, was played wide and the right wing cross found Panatuche Camara who sidefooted on target, however Vickers was down smartly to save.
The wind picked up and was gusting from time to time making playing conditions rather difficult for both sides and it was no surprise that possession swapped quickly from one team to another. Vickers was keeping his eye on things though as he made a lovely stop from Josh Yorwerth’s piledriver which looked to swerve viciously to his left, the Imps’ stopper getting down deflecting it to safety.
It was a competitive encounter with both sides showing nothing but complete commitment, tackles were sturdy and full blooded as half time approached it was an intriguing spectacle as we still awaited the opening goal. Michael Bostwick smashed an effort off target from the edge of the area as the Imps finished the opening 45 minutes strongly.
The Imps 0 Crawley Town 0
City came out brightly early in the second half and the width of the crossbar denied them the opener, a wonderful burst down the right by Neal Eardley ended with a fantastic cross to the back post where Rhead leapt the highest, heading the ball goalwards only to see it thump off the crossbar.
Smith, then took control for Crawley overlapping down the right to cross low to the near post where Dannie Bulman sneaked in to toe poke an attempt at goal however, it was to be deflected into the side netting by Sean Raggett who was in close attention.
Green was hauled to the floor giving The Imps a free kick 25 yards out. it was lined up by Habergham and Eardley, the latter stepped up and hit it with pace over the wall but it flashed the top as we approached the hour mark. Camara robbed Raggett of the ball and bore down into the City box before shooting, Vickers watched it go into the Stacey West stand as the visitors reminded everyone they were still in the game. The game was opening up at both ends, Green made a determined run to get the ball on halfway, Bostwick took possession slid it wide to Maguire-Drew whose cross was expertly grabbed by Morris as Rhead and Green attempted to get on the end of it.
Camara continued to be a livewire for the visitors and he almost again created himself a shooting chance but the combination of Vickers and Raggett halted his charge inside the area. Up the other end a free kick by Ollie Palmer cannoned into the wall before being cleared as the open nature of the game didn’t look like changing.
A Rhead flick on from a direct ball forward bounced to Green but the striker who was very closely marked couldn’t quite get the requisite power to get the ball past Morris, although the ‘keeper did have to save. Green’s tenacity almost unlocked the Crawley defence seconds later as he nipped in to take possession from Josh Lelan before crossing into the box but it was just too high for Palmer to get on the end of.
A ball in from the right by Jordan Roberts found Smith, he took a touch before hitting a dipping half volley which Vickers expertly tipped over the top, a touch which was roundly applauded by all in the ground. Bostwick tried a flying volley from a Eardley centre but it couldn’t get past Morris and the game ended goalless.
The Imps 0 Crawley Town 0
21 Josh VICKERS
3 Sam HABERGHAM
9 Matt RHEAD
10 Matt GREEN
14 J MAGUIRE-DREW
15 Rob DICKIE
16 Michael BOSTWICK
23 Neal EARDLEY
25 Sean RAGGETT
28 Nathan ARNOLD
30 Alex WOODYARD
1 Paul FARMAN
2 Sean LONG
4 Elliott WHITEHOUSE (88’ for RHEAD)
5 Luke WATERFALL
7 Josh GINNELLY
8 Ollie PALMER (65’ for ARNOLD)
11 Billy KNOTT (71’ for MAGUIRE-DREW)
Booking: Woodyard 40’ , Rhead 66’
1 Glenn MORRIS
5 Joe McNERNEY
6 Mark CONNELLY
7 Enzio BOLDEWIJN
8 Jimmy SMITH
11 Jordan ROBERTS
15 Josh YORWERTH
19 Cedric EVINA
21 Dannie BULMAN
22 Josh LELAN
28 Panatuche CAMARA
12 Yusuf MERSIN
3 Josh DOHERTY
4 Josh PAYNE
17 Kaby DJALO
18 Billy CLIFFORD
24 Dennon LEWIS
25 Mark RANDALL (74’ for BULMAN)
Booking: Yorwerth 50’, Randall 82’
Referee: Darren HANDLEY
Assistants: Simon CLAYTON & Richard WILD
Attendance: 8,038 (137 Crawley supporters)