Clinical Imps edge past struggling Latics
By George Willoughby
Tuesday 6th December 2016
A midweek FA cup encounter saw Danny Cowley’s Lincoln City host Stephen Robinson’s Oldham Athletic in what promised to be a fascinating event.
Entering the game Lincoln were enjoying a rich vein of form and looking to add to an impressive 14-game unbeaten run in all competitions. The imps faced relegation candidates Oldham who find themselves 23rd in league one, the major concern for Oldham is their lack of goals. The Latics have only found the back of the net 11 times all season and they face a Lincoln side which has goals in abundance.
The early on goings of the match were tightly contested, but Lincoln had a penalty claim for a handball turned down by referee
Gavin Ward who saw nothing of the matter.
It was very clear to see that Lincoln striker Matt Rhead would be the focal point of what seemingly looked like a direct attack. The threat of Rhead’s aerial ability was looking ominous throughout, and his persistence was duly rewarded. A cross from Lincoln winger Terry Hawkridge was met by the head of Rhead which was cleverly anticipated by Theo Robinson who was on hand to nod through the legs of keeper Connor Ripley giving Lincoln a dream 1–0 start. Only a few minutes later Lincoln would see their lead doubled, a defensive mishap gave Terry Hawkridge a golden opportunity which he competently took full advantage of, he slotted the ball into the right-hand corner of the net.
The score would remain 2–0 at the half.
Despite Lincoln’s 2–0 lead, the next goal would be crucial for either side in determining the final score line. A goal for Oldham would swing the momentum back in their favour, but a goal for Lincoln would seemingly secure their place in the FA cup third round.
Some strong play by Lincoln City midfielder Alan Power saw him hold off numerous challenges to eventually play a delightful, lofted pass into the path of Theo Robinson. Robinson unerringly chipped the ball over the onrushing Ripley into the net sending the Lincoln Fans into footballing hysteria. An expertly taken goal gave Theo his well-deserved second of the game putting Lincoln in complete control of the tie.
A key moment in the game was the introduction of Lee Croft for Oldham Athletic, he looked to be a real threat, driving at Lincoln defenders with power and purpose. What was to come was a prolonged spell of Oldham dominance and they would find a possible route back into the game in the 70th minute. Skipper Peter Clarke fired a great header beyond Lincoln stopper Paul Farman, a glimmer of hope for the managers, players and fans. Oldham started to show their football league class with some fantastic link-up play which would see substitute Billy McKay finish off a well worked Oldham move. 3–2 with 20 minutes to go, game on.
There was for sure some nerves around Sincil Bank with the threat of repeating Curzon Ashton who surrendered a 3-goal lead only a day earlier. Fog descended into the stadium and started to become a legitimate worry, the last thing Lincoln wanted was a postponement of a game they had played so well in. A painful 6 minutes of added time was needed to be endured but Lincoln’s resilience, spirit and character would see them over line and join Sutton and Barrow for the only remaining national league sides left in the competition. Lincoln win the right to travel to championship side Ipswich for the third round.
Full Time Lincoln City 3 Oldham Athletic 2
Attendance: 7012 (415 Visitors)