FT: Telford 1 Imps 1

Despite dominating the game for long periods, the Imps were forced to settle for a share of the spoils at AFC Telford United on Saturday afternoon.

Striker Vadaine Oliver, in for his full City debut, was a constant threat throughout the 90 minutes and it was his header from a Nicky Nicolau corner which gave the Imps the lead just before the half-time break.

City had a number of chances to increase the lead with Andrew Boyce coming closest hitting the bar and after Paul Farman had denied Steve Jones with a superb double save, it appeared that three valuable points were heading the Imps' way.

Home midfielder Phil Trainer had other ideas though and it was his scrambed effort with just three minutes remaining which earned his side an unjust point.

Match report:-

With international clearance coming through for Mamadou Fofana, the French midfielder was handed his debut in place of the injured Alan Power for this Blue Square Bet Premier game against AFC Telford United at the New Bucks Head Stadium.

Further changes to the side that started the midweek home reverse to Alfreton Town saw Jake Sheridan come in for Peter Bore on the right, Dan Gray dropped back to right-back in place of Paul Robson with Gary Mills returning in the middle of the park whilst Vadaine Oliver was handed his full debut in place of Colin Larkin up front.

The home side kicked off with the ground bathed in bright September sunshine but it was the Imps who started brightly with Fofana quickly involved, curling in a cross which was dropped by Ryan Young under pressure from Oliver only for the loose ball to run to a Telford player who cleared.

At the other end Kieron St Amie fired over on the turn from the edge of the box but it wasn't long before the Imps pressed again with good strong play by Oliver seeing him draw a foul out of Phil Trainer. Nicky Nicolau chipped in a decent delivery but Graham Hutchison couldn't get enough purchase on his header and his flicked effort went out for a goal-kick.

Seconds later Jake Sheridan latched on to a weak back-pass only to fire over the bar when one-on-one with Young and when Telford responded, Fofana denied Nathan Rooney a shot on target with referee Darren Handley spotting a push when the resultant corner was played into the danger area.

City's first corner came along in the 17th minute but this came to nothing whilst Telford's reply saw Steven Leslie fire in a powerful drive which Paul Farman superbly tipped behind at full stretch.

An end-to-end opening quarter continued with a long Dan Gray throw-in leading to another unproductive City flag-kick. A rasping low Oliver drive then forced Young to scramble the ball behind before his strike partner Jamie Taylor needed treatment having taken a kick to the back of his foot whilst challenging for a loose ball.

Oliver tried his luck again shortly after the half-hour mark with the striker firing a volley inches over with Young rooted to the spot whilst a couple of minutes later Gray picked out the former Sheffield Wednesday youngster who saw his looping header go over as well.

A Sheridan cross was then headed away under the Telford bar and a Taylor cross to Oliver was cleared for a corner as the Imps continued to dominate play. This flag-kick led to another. This one saw the Imps keep the ball in the box but the ball wouldn't run for a blue-shirted player with a Sheridan effort being blocked on the line by St Aimie before Mills had a shot deflect off Ryan Valentine for another set-piece from the quadrant.

This one deservedly led to the lead with the impressive Oliver meeting Nicolau's outswinging delivery before planting a firm header which gave Young no chance in the United goal.

City kept up the pressure following the restart with Sheridan winning another corner as the Fourth Official indicated a minimum of two minutes were to be added on but before this could be taken Kris Taylor replaced Michael Briscoe for the home side with Valentine moving inside to keen a close eye on Oliver.

When the corner was taken Boyce came within inches of doubling the lead with the centre-back seeing his header from Nicolau's centre hit the underside of the bar before the ball went out for a goal-kick.

HT: Telford 0 Imps 1

It was as you were as City restarted proceedings and were quickly on the attack with Oliver inches away from connecting with a Gray centre as he went in search of his second. When Telford responded, Sheridan brought down Darren Byfield with a yellow card being brandished in his direction. Oliver was back in defence to head away the resultant free-kick.

At the other end a stray back-pass from Valentine, who was left grounded clutching his back for the second time in the game, let in Taylor who curled a first time effort wide of the mark. More treatment for the home skipper led to a break in play before Jon Brown came on as his replacement.

In the 57th minute a trip on Byfield by Nicolau gave the hosts the chance to create something from a set-piece situation but Leslie's low effort was easily claimed by Farman.

A quiet spell ensued with play concentrated mainly in the middle third but this changed in the 67th minute when Farman pulled off an excellent double-save to deny Steve Jones from a header and then a prodded goalbound effort.

Hutchison, shepherding a ball out under pressure from Byfield then needed treatment after colliding with a pitchside photographer before Colin Larkin replaced Jamie Taylor for City's first switch. Richard Davies replaced Nathan Rooney at the same time for the home side.

Oliver picked up a 72nd minute caution for a foul on Will Salmon having previously been pulled up by referee Handley on a couple of occasions whilst three minutes later Sheridan robbed Kris Taylor of the ball before winning a corner.

A second City change saw Peter Bore come on for Jake Sheridan with just under nine minutes remaining and he was quickly forced on the defensive as the home side started to enjoy some late possession as they pressed for a leveller.

That undeserved equaliser came with just three minutes remaining when, after a Taylor ball into the box wasnt cleared, midfielder Phil Trainer nipped in and prodded a scufed effort past Farman.

City's response saw Oliver curl wide from 20 yards before the striker headed a Larkin cross wide at full stretch before four additional minutes was indicated. A Byfield cross was then cleared behind by Hutchison under pressure from St Amie but City stood firm from the corner.

FT: Telford 1 Imps 1

City: Paul Farman, Dan Gray, Andrew Boyce, Graham Hutchison, John Nutter, Gary Mills, Mamadou Fofana, Nicky Nicolau, Jake Sheridan, Jamie Taylor, Vadaine Oliver.

subs: Paul Robson, Peter Bore (for Sheridan 82), Colin Larkin (for Taylor 70), Conner Robinson, Jake Turner.

goals: Oliver (43)

bookings: Sheridan (48), Oliver (72)

Telford: Ryan Young, Will Salmon, Ryan Valentine, Nathan Rooney, Phil Trainer, Steve Jones, Michael Briscoe, Kieron St Aimie, Steven Leslie, Jordan Rose, Darren Byfield.

subs: Richard Davies (for Rooney 70), James Spray, Kris Taylor (for Briscoe 45+2), Jon Brown (for Valentine 51), Joe Collister.

goals: Trainer (87)

Referee: Darren Handley
Assistants: Richard Woodward & Darren Strain
Fourth Official: Nicholas Barnard

Attendance: 1,794