It was a convincing performance from City as they took all three points on a cold evening in Somerset, The Imps put in the hard yards in the first half, giving them the perfect platform to take home all three points and stretching the lead at the top of SkyBet League Two to six po
Both goals came from the boot of Danny Rowe, the Ipswich Town loanee showing all his poise and skill with two different but very accomplished finishes inside the Glover’s box which were enough to take The Imps to victory.
City made two changes from the side which started the Lincolnshire Derby victory over Grimsby Town at Sincil Bank last weekend, Jason Shackell returned following suspension and Danny Rowe was in the starting line up at Huish Park, the players stepping onto the bench were Lee Frecklington and Shay McCartan respectively.
The Imps backed by 200 or so travelling supporters were taking the game to their hosts from the off and were seeing plenty of the ball in opposing territory, and were to force the first shot on target inside the opening ten minutes. Yeovil made a purposeful break down the City right but play was broken up by Michael O’Connor, his ball found Tom Pett who in turn looked to feed John Akinde, the striker got the right side of Bevis Mugabi to hammer a low drive across the face of Glover’s ‘keeper, Nathan Baxter, but he managed to get down quickly to save down to his left and save. The Imps were clearly in confident mood, passing with conviction and confidence through midfield with the Yeovil players initially struggling to regain possession from the visiting side.
However, the home side weren’t shy to get forward when they did get possession, a quick curling ball in from the left was met by the head of Gary Warren who only had Grant Smith to beat but he couldn’t get his effort on target. City quickly made their move back up the opposite end of the field and Rowe tried a curler with the inside of his left boot but Baxter read the flight of the ball to save.
There was a cold snap in the Somerset air and the conditions on the pitch were tricky underfoot as players from both sides were struggling to remain on their feet, but it didn’t reflect on the football as there was some sterling stuff on display. Smith denied Sessi D’Almeida who tried a cheeky sidefooter towards the near post that was well saved, before The Imps were then to offer a quick reposte, Harry Anderson, Rowe and Akinde combining with the latter getting a shot away which unfortunately didn’t trouble the Yeovil goal, the ball rising just over the top as it gathered pace.
City kept plugging away, slowly and patiently and took a deserved lead following a flowing move down the right. Anderson getting his head down and carrying the ball around 25 yards down into the right corner, laying the ball back for Neal Eardley to deliver first time and he did with usual pinpoint accuracy as ROWE got ahead of his marker to skilfully turn the ball home across Baxter and into the far corner of the goal.
The visiting supporters were bouncing and in buoyant mood behind Smith’s goal as The Imps weren’t resting on their laurels as went looking for more but the home side put up stern resistance to the attacking prowess of the visitors as they looked to hit back from a set piece. Firstly a long ball from halfway was clipped forward into the box, but City defended manfully, clearing the first hanging ball in for a corner before then mopping up the second set piece just as efficiently and giving the home side no chance of an equaliser.
The Imps were so close to getting a second goal just before the break as Akinde showed his marker Carl Dickenson, a clean pair of heels down the right, using his pace to get free and play a dangerous low cross into the heart of the box but somehow the ball just skipped off the turf and eluded everyone in the box and the home side managed to clear.
City were to get that second goal though in first half stoppage time and it was created by a moment of magic from O’Connor, the midfielder started the move on halfway before picking up a return ball just outside the box, he looked up and found ROWE with a wonderful low through ball and the City number 19 did the rest, taking the ball past one defender then slotting a fantastic reverse finish across Baxter and into the goal.
Yeovil Town 0 The Imps 2
City came out of the traps quickly in the second half with Akinde and Rowe continually tormenting the home defence and following foul on Shackell, the striker was close to creating a third for The Imps. A dangerous cross was played into the box and it wasn’t cleared, Akinde doggedly battled for the ball and was just held off as he tried to get a foot to the loose ball as Baxter just managed to pounce on it.
Anderson was then denied by the Town ‘keeper as the City number 26 darted into the box from the right to get on the end of a Pett cross, Baxter was in the way conceding the first of two quick corners in succession. Shackell found space at the back post to connect acrobatically with the second set piece but the Imps’ defender was to pound the floor in frustration as he couldn’t get his effort on target.
The travelling support were doing all they could to urge City onto a third goal, but it was the home side who were the next to go close as Alex Dobre cut inside from the right, running across the perimeter of the penalty area before lashing a shot just over the top. It was a rare foray forward for the hosts who were soon running back into their own half as Eardley linked with Akinde, the full back playing in a cross which was only half cleared to Bostwick but his first-time effort on the volley screwed wide.
Rowe left the field with just over 20 minutes remaining with the travelling Imps’ supporters giving him a great reception, coming on was Shay McCartan as City continued to play positive attacking football, giving the home side no respite.
Yeovil were denied a chance of a comeback by a fine piece of defending from Bolger, the towering centre back nodded the ball clear from inside the Imps’ six yard box with Glover’s sub Alex Fisher waiting to get his head to it. Matt Rhead came on and within seconds of his introduction he sent Anderson scampering forward in a central position, the City winger tried to catch Baxter out with an early effort from range but the ball was to bounce wide of the mark.
City continued to control the game and almost got a third with the game going into the final 15 minutes, a deep corner found Bolger who headed the ball back into the mixer and the ball was prodded towards goal but amidst a sea of legs almost on the goal line the hosts somehow managed to hack the ball clear. McCartan saw a shot blocked after beating two Glovers’ defenders on the way into the area, winning The Imps’ fifth corner of the second half which was well defended by the home side.
The final five or so minutes of the game followed the pattern of the majority of the game as The Imps controlled proceedings, but they weren’t to stretch their lead and saw out the remaining minutes as worthy winners.
Yeovil Town 0 The Imps 2
12 Nathan BAXTER
3 Carl DICKENSON
4 Gary WARREN
5 Bevis MUGABI
10 Jake GRAY
13 Francois ZOKO
18 Yoann ARQUIN
20 Sessi D’ALMEIDA
21 Josh GRANT
23 Tom JAMES
25 Alex DOBRE
1 Stuart NELSON
7 Rhys BROWNE
8 Matthew WORTHINGTON (46’ for Warren)
9 Alex FISHER (60’ for Zoko)
15 Gabriel ROGERS (84’ for Gray)
26 Daniel OJO
30 Alefe Santos D’ABADIA
Booked: Warren 41’ James 62’ Arquin 90'
21 Grant SMITH
4 Michael O’CONNOR
5 Jason SHACKELL
7 Tom PETT
14 Harry TOFFOLO
16 Michael BOSTWICK
19 Danny ROWE
23 Neal EARDLEY
24 Cian BOLGER
26 Harry ANDERSON
29 John AKINDE
1 Josh VICKERS
8 Lee FRECKLINGTON (63’ for O’Connor)
9 Matt RHEAD (71’ for Akinde)
12 Ellis CHAPMAN
15 James WILSON
17 Shay McCARTAN (67’ for Rowe)
20 James BROWN
GOAL: Rowe 27’, 45’
Booked: Frecklington 80’ Toffolo 85’
Referee: Ollie Yates
Assistants: Andrew Laver & Matthew Lee
4th Official: Christopher Husband
Attendance: 2,486 (235 Imps’ supporters)