The Imps took all three points against Macclesfield Town at the Moss Rose thanks to a first league goal from Jason Shackell.
Tom Pett had given City a first half lead with his first goal of the season before Jamie Grimes scored a late leveller with just over five minutes of the game to go. However before the home fans could think about a draw, Shackell, selected as skipper in the absence of the suspended Lee Frecklington was the headline maker as he scored the third and decisive goal of a game which was largely dominated by the visitors.
It was a very competitive opening to the game with a host of tussles in the centre of the field as play took some time to settle down. City were the first to really get the ball down and play, Tom Pett and Shay McCartan linked before the latter squared the ball to James Wilson, he slid the ball down the line ahead of the run of Harry Anderson but Macclesfield’s Jamie Grimes did well to read the pass as the Imps began to bear their teeth in attack.
Wilson did well down the right as City intercepted an attempted backheel, the full back’s first cross was blocked but Wilson showed great persistence to chase the ball and clip into the box, Anderson tried an audacious lob which did beat Kieran O’Hara in the Macclesfield goal but the ball nestled ontop rather than in the net.
Peter Vincenti nodded a free kick wide of goal for the hosts with Grant Smith watching it all the way wide of the mark before The Imps were quickly up the other end of the field and Anderson was again the conduit for the attack. The number 26 picked up possession deep inside the opposition half, accurately finding Bruno Andrade who smashed a spinning effort which had to be palmed away by O’Hara at his near post.
The Imps were growing in stature and confidence with the right flank and it was down that side where the opening goal came, John Akinde did well in a central position to hold up play with two players in close attention, the ball was played to Wilson and he clipped in the cross from the right flank and Akinde was there, leaping highest to nod down into the area where TOM PETT was striding into the area and he fired home with aplomb.
The next attack came down the left with Harry Toffolo marauding from full back, Andrade held things up and found Toffolo in space who in turn slid the ball to Akinde who shot, the ball took a deflection which took the sting out of the effort and a relieved O’Hara grabbed possession.
Macclesfield pressed for an equaliser, a switch from left to right landed on the head of James Pearson, his header into the box was met acrobatically by Harry Smith who turned his volley beyond Grant Smith but off target. The impetus was quickly back with City who were looking the more likely to net the second goal of the game, Akinde showed all his strength holding off his marker finding Anderson whose cross was just plucked out of the air by O’Hara and within a matter of seconds the custodian of the Macclesfield goal was back in action. This time the home fans were thankful for the work of their number one as he denied Akinde a fifth league goal of the season as the striker tried to score from an acute angle.
Michael Rose was the first to test Grant Smith in the Imps goal as half time crept ever closer, the midfielder lashed a low shot from distance which Smith dived to his right to save and clutch to his chest.
The Imps looked to extend the lead on the stroke of the half winning two consecutive corners but the home side were to clear their lines, that rearguard action was then matched by City as Macclesfield threw caution to the wind at but the half time whistle went with The Imps in front.
Macclesfield Town 0 The Imps 1
City came flying out of the traps and almost got themselves two goals in front after some sterling work in midfield from Pett, setting Akinde off into the area, he jinked one way then the other ahead of firing a shot on target which O’Hara did well to palm away for a corner in front of the Imps’ supporters.
Pett rifled a shot over the top, then Andrade’s pace took him away from two home defenders down the left, his cross was cushioned by Anderson to Michael O’Connor but his sidefooted curler went over the top.
City continued to pile on the pressure when Akinde raced onto a deep headed clearance from Michael Bostwick into the heart of the Macclesfield half, waiting before feeding Shay McCartan who tried a side footed effort at goal but his effort was blocked.
Following a foul on Toffolo, McCartan lined up a free kick which he hit sweetly, however, O’Hara did well to parry it over the top for another City corner as the rain began to lash down onto the Moss Rose pitch.
Tyrone Marsh came on for the hosts and was immediately into the action, hitting a shot over the top as Macclesfield did their upmost to get on level terms but The Imps were so dangerous on the break. A three on three break spearheaded by Akinde and flanked by Andrade and Anderson, it was the number 11 who crossed for number 26, Anderson thumping a header on target which O’Hara threw out a strong right hand to maintain hope for Macclesfield. The home goal was living a charmed life as the Silkmen were again applauding their ‘keeper within 30 seconds of the previous attack, this time he somehow kept another Akinde effort out of goal as it arrowed towards the net at the near post.
The home side were to net an equaliser with six minutes remaining, a ball to the back post was played almost back from where it came and Jamie Grimes was waiting to sidefoot home from a couple of yards out.
O’ Hara was there again for the hosts to deny The Imps an almost perfect riposte, Andrade was the man left with his head in his hands after the ‘keeper tipped over a bunkerbuster of an effort for a corner. From the flag kick though City were to restore their lead, the ball was floated in from the left and only half cleared to JASON SHACKELL who smashed his effort low and true into the bottom right corner of the net.
Macclesfield Town 1 The Imps 2
1 Kieran O’Hara
3 David Fitzpatrick
4 Keith Lowe
5 Fiacre Kelleher
6 Jamie Grimes
10 Harry Smith
16 Malachi Napa
19 James Pearson
20 Peter Vincenti
23 Danny Whittaker
24 Michael Rose
12 Rhys Taylor
8 Tyrone Marsh (67’ for Smith)
9 Scott Wilson (76’ for Pearson)
13 Nathan Blissett (57’ for Vincenti)
14 Miles Welch-Hayes
15 Callum Maycock
22 Koby Arthur
Booked: Vincenti 49’ Pearson 62’
Goal: Grimes 84’
21 Grant Smith
4 Michael O’Connor
5 Jason Shackell
7 Tom Pett
11 Bruno Andrade
14 Harry Toffolo
15 James Wilson
16 Michael Bostwick
17 Shay McCartan
26 Harry Anderson
29 John Akinde
24 Sam Slocombe
2 Kellan Gordon
9 Matt Rhead (89’ for Rhead)
10 Matt Green (74’ for McCartan)
12 Ellis Chapman
18 Bernard Mensah (90’ for Andrade)
20 Adam Crookes
GOAL: Pett 21’ Shackell 87’
Referee: John Busby
Assistants: Barry Cropp & Abbas Khan
4th Official: David Benton
Attendance: 2,589 (1,161 Imps’ supporters)