Date: 8th April 2007 at 10:03am
Written by:

Finally a draw and a clean sheet!

Yesterday was always going to be tough, and I would have certainly taken a point at the beginning of the day considering that Lincoln are above us and going to Sincil Bank isn’t easy.

So, the day started at about 8:20ish when I was due to meet my mates. A nice stroll down to Edgeley and a trip to the shops on Castle Street got us to the Bobby Peel at 9:20ish, but it was bad news as far as the coach was concerned.

The coach broke down on the way to the Bobby Peel, and Martin got a phone call at 7:50 saying the coach had been cancelled. Luckily there was a group ticket offer on the train, which worked out at about £15 each.

County fans packed the 9:55 train to Sheffield; there wasn’t enough room for people to sit on seats so I was sat on the floor in one of the carriageways. The train from Sheffield to Lincoln was initially a one-carriage train, but when the people at the station realised that there was 150 people wanting onto it they cancelled the train and brought a larger one into the station for us.

We got into Lincoln at about 12:10, and first of all just had a walk round before finding a pub to have some lunch in. At about 2ish we decided we had better go and find the ground, as apparently it was the worst ground to find from the town centre. Nobody in the pub knew where it was, and we were thankful to the local chavs for giving us directions to go over the bridge and that was and we eventually found it at about 2:30ish.

The County fans were given two blocks of the largest stand in the ground, it was an Americanised introduction, as the guy over the tannoy went round the ground to get the fans going – which County gave the largest roar to by the way – and then the fact that the stupid mascot wouldn’t give any County fans an Easter egg (which resulted in chants of ‘You fat b*stard’ to the mascot!) it was quite a funny build up!

Rob Clare had declared himself fit for the game and he started at right back, Tes Bramble was ruled out with injury and Liam Dickinson took over. Michael Raynes was also ruled out with injury, Tony Dinning took his place.

County had the first chance of the game when Lee Beevers was yellow carded for handball after a long punt up field from Wayne Hennessey. However Anthony Pilkington struck the free kick straight at the wall.

The referee was awful throughout the game though, and minutes later he gave Lincoln a free kick for exactly the same thing yet he gave no card to Ashley Williams. The free kick was set to be a clever routine but County charged it down and got the ball out.

Liam Dickinson had a good chance when he was played through by Anthony Pilkington, but Marriott made a good save despite not looking very convincing it came back out to Dinning who powered a shot towards the bottom corner and it was turned around the post by Marriott.

Then came Hennessey’s best save in County colours. Jamie Forrester header Frecklington’s cross towards the top corner, but at full stretch Hennessey pulled off a fantastic save and tipped it over the bar.

The referee took centre stage once again when he decided to hand out two red cards to Liam Dickinson and Nat Brown. Brown appeared to elbow Dickinson in a tussle following a goal kick, Dickinson said something to Brown and they both leaned their heads towards the other. The referee totally over-reacted though by sending them both off.

David Poole could have handed County a lead that would have been deserved after Anthony Elding played Pilkington in down the left, Pilkington approached the box and played the ball to the near post, but Poole’s shot was well saved by Marriott.

At half time 0-0 was probably a fair result, but it was going to be an open game with ten a side in the second half and County decided to go with three upfront leaving no wingers for the central midfielders to use.

Lincoln looked on the verge of scoring when nearly every County player was out of position, three chances were blocked and charged down and then the experienced head showed what experience was when Tony Dinning just headed the ball over the County bar for a Lincoln corner. He knew what he was doing, he did it so everyone could get back in position and calm down. Wayne Hennessey caught the corner and that is why we need experience.

Adam Griffin nearly gave County the lead straight from the corner, when Marriott flapped at a corner and it went straight through his arms. Kerr was at the back post though and headed off the line.

Jason Taylor nearly had a one-on-one, but he just mistimed his run as Anthony Elding went to play him through as the Lincoln defence was wide open. The pass ended up taking him away from goal.

County’s final chance of the game came when Adam Proudlock put in a superb cross, but Mayo just beat Elding to an easy tap in and got the ball away.

The game finished on a bad note, when Adam Proudlock was brought down in the penalty area. The referee said no penalty to the amazement of the County players and the fans. What resulted was three players picking up yellow cards for nothing, it appeared for questioning why it wasn’t a penalty?

The final whistle was blown and something appeared to go on. Jim Gannon shook everyone`s hand and then went to have a go at the referee. The referee shouted back and pointed to the tunnel in a mean looking way! Gannon came towards the County fans and shook the rest of his player`s hands until Tony Dinning told Jim something. Jim then sprinted across the pitch and ran down the tunnel!? The County fans wondered why he hadn’t applauded us, but then two minutes later he came back out and applauded the magnificent travelling support.

Following the game it was to get something to eat and then get the 6:25 train back to Sheffield, then get the train from Sheffield to Stockport. The whole journey was made much better with the news that Manchester United had been beaten at Portsmouth.

I would have taken an away point if you had offered me one yesterday morning, especially a 0-0 because it meant we kept a clean sheet. Four out of six points against a side above you in the table on both occasions is a good result I think, and it means we’ve got a bit more confidence keeping the clean sheet as well.

Lets hope for a win tomorrow!