Match Report : 26/01/2013


It was thanks to the snow-clearing effort of groundstaff and volunteers that this game against Forest Green Rovers at The 12th Imp Sincil Bank Stadium could take place with a week's worth of hard work seeing the pitch in a playable state.

Referee Charles Breakspear, who helped out with the pitch clearing himself in the morning, was the man in charge and once the pre-match formalities were done and dusted, with City skippered by Scott Garner, things got underway.

The Imps kicked off but it was the visitors who were the first to press in the second minute with James Norwood volleying a 25-yard effort well wide. At the other end some patient City build-up play ended up with Jamie Taylor chipping into the box only for a Rovers defender to clear.

A City corner was then met by Chris Bush only for the full-back to see the ball skim off his head and wide of the target. Forest Green's response was immediate and when a  cross-field ball over the top released Reece Styche he found himself one-on-one with David Preece only to see his effort crash against the crossbar. As is usually the case for teams towards the top of the table, the loose ball ran kindly for the visitors with Yan Klukowski on hand to fire home despite the best efforts of Bush on the line to keep the ball out.

The Imps looked for a quick response and when Dan Gray hurled a long throw in to the mix, Bush rose well only to see his flicked header tipped over by Sam Russell. Forest Green then hurriedly cleared the resultant corner as the ball bounced around in the box.

City then had Jake Thomson to thank as his covering challenge denied Norwood a sight of goal after he nut-megged Tom Miller before advancing forward. Preece was then forced to punch away twice after a free-kick into the area caused the City back-line problems; the stopper then denying Eddie Oshodi after the defender met a corner before heading goalwards.

In the 18th minute assistant referee Alan Marshall was forced off injured with Fourth Official Mark Hutchinson taking over the flag duties and during the break in play both sides took the chance to grab a drink and a chat with their respective coaching teams.

When play eventually resumed a couple of minutes later, Thomson gained possession in the middle before advancing only for his effort to crash against the post with Russell left clutching thin air. Unlike at the other end, the loose ball ran away from the attacking team with Jamie Turley happy to concede a corner.

City kept pushing forward in search of a leveller but that killer final touch continued to prove elusive as the half-hour mark came and went; Russell claiming a low Larkin cross, a deep Thomson delivery and a Gray centre from the right to protect his clean sheet.

A clumsy challenge on Taylor by Kieron Forbes saw the Imps win a free-kick five minutes before the break but Bush drilled straight at the wall. When the loose ball was played back in Miller appeared to be held down but referee Breakspear spotted nothing untowards.

As half-time approached Taylor had a shot charged down whilst at the other end, and just after four additional minutes was indicated, Preece got down well to deny Styche who fired in a low effort from a narrowing angle. Although this corner was dealt with, City were undone by the next when Chris Stokes bundled home from close range after the Imps' defence failed to deal with the far-post delivery.

Less than a minute after the restart Garner was booked for dragging Matt Taylor to the deck but with Bush covering the referee's red card remained in his pocket. The free-kick ended in a goal-kick which when played forward by Preece the half came to a close.

HT: Imps 0 Forest Green 2

Both teams emerged unchanged for the start of the second half and it was City who had the better of the opening exchanges following the restart with a deflected Turnbull effort forcing Russell to scamper across his line before palming behind.

A knock to Jared Hodgkiss stopped City's flow with the full-back requiring treatment in front of the Co-op Stand after failing to rob Taylor of the ball down the City left. With Hodgkiss back in the fry, Magno Vieira for James Norwood was the game's first change, 11 minutes into the half.

There was another break when Styche fell heavy following an aerial challenge with Garner and before play restarted with a Rovers free-kick Vadaine Oliver replaced Jamie Taylor for the Imps.

A scrappy second period continued with chances at either end at a premium, although a fifth City corner midway through gave them a chance to reduce the deficit but Thomson's delivery sailed straight out of play.

Oliver's first impact saw him fire wide after a Thomson drive was deflected into his path whilst a minute later Styche stooped, forcing Garner over the top for a final warning from referee Breakspear.

A double City switch with 13 minutes remaining saw Adam Smith and Jake Jones replace Jake Sheridan and Colin Larkin. Vieira was then booked for a late foul on Miller.

Smith was quickly in the action, cutting in from the right before drilling a foot over from range, and fellow sub Jones joined him, sprinting into the area before being tripped close to the touchline. Referee Breakspear was quick to let play carry on and duly booked the Walsall loanee for protesting.

Shortly afterwards a corner into the Rovers box saw Garner held down by James Collins and this time the referee got it right, awarding a penalty before booking the visiting player. Oshodi joined him in the book before Smith blasted home from the spot with the clock showing 85 minutes played.

Before play restarted Ed Asafu-Adjaye came on for Styche for Forest Green and the visitors were quick to take their time over things as the game approached what turned out to be four unfruitful added minutes.

With Matt Taylor winning a throw-in close to the corner flag, Thomson appeared to pull up holding his hamstring in the other half of the pitch and he looked to be in some discomfort as referee Breakspear blew for time.

FT: Imps 1 Forest Green 2

City: David Preece, Dan Gray, Scott Garner, Tom Miller, Chris Bush, Jake Thomson, Paul Turnbull, Jake Sheridan, Colin Larkin, Conner Robinson, Jamie Taylor.

subs: Andrew Boyce, Adam Smith (for Sheridan 77), Vadaine Oliver (for Taylor 61), Jake Jones (for Larkin 77), Paul Farman.

goals: Smith (85 pen)

bookings: Garner (45+4), Jones (83), 

Forest Green: Sam Russell, Jared Hodgkiss, Chris Stokes, Jamie Turley, Eddie Oshodi, Jamie Collins, Yan Klukowski, Kieron Forbes, Reece Styche, Matt Taylor, James Norwood.

subs: Magno Vieira (for Norwood 56), Ed Asafu-Adjaye (for Styche 86), Paul Green, Yemi Odubade, Matt Bulman.

goals: Klukowski (8), Stokes (45+2)

bookings: Vieira (78), Collins (84), Oshodi (85)

Referee: Charles Breakspear
Assistants: Steve Wade & Alan Marshall
Fourth Official: Mark Hutchinson

Attendance: 1,665 (35 visiting supporters)