Match Report : 09/03/2013


It was a damp, grey afternoon for this, Gary Simpson's first home game following his return to the Club as manager, and he made four changes to the side for the visit of Southport, although injury ruled out Nat Brown. The other two new arrivals, namely Tony Diagne and Todd Jordan, both came in whilst Jake Jones and Jamie Taylor were also recalled to the starting XI.

City were quickly out of the traps with Jones and Taylor both having efforts charged down in the opening minute whilst at the other end Diagne blocked a Shaun Whalley cross for the game's first corner. Two more Southport flag-kicks immediately followed before a free-kick came City's way when Karl Ledsham's delivery ended up seeing Andy Owens push Andrew Boyce.

A push on Jones by Godfrey Poku saw the Imps win a free-kick close to the corner flag with Alan Power's far post delivery being tipped behind by Anthony McMillan. Power's corner, however, went straight out of play.

City remained on the offensive with Vadaine Oliver forcing another unproductive corner following a long ball over the top by Tom Miller before a Paul Farman clearance skidded off the greasy surface and away from Power.

In the 13th minute another City attack saw Jones and Power get involved and when the ball ran into the box, in nipped Taylor who was duly sent tumbling in the area as a number of Southport defenders slid in to challenge him. Referee Kevin Johnson was up with play and was quick to award a penalty. Up stepped Power and he clinically sent McMillan the wrong way for his second successful spot-kick of the week and his 10th goal of the season.

A couple of minutes later Boyce had a header cleare off the line after he connected with a Power corner but when Southport broke, Whalley sprinted forward and after he got the better of Jordan, went down very easily under Farman's outstretched leg.

Again, referee Johnson was quick to point to the spot with Farman flinging himself full length to his right to superbly keep out Whalley's low penalty.

After all the drama, things calmed down somewhat in the next few minutes, although the lively Whalley was causing problems down the City left, winning another corner in the 28th minute which was cleared by Oliver.

Four minutes a sliding challenge on Sean Clancy by Tom Miller earned the City man a yellow card and as City responded a Miller throw-in led to a corner which was taken by Power and somehow evaded everyone in a packed area.

Southport's Aaron Chalmers pulled up 10 minutes before the break but carried on before Taylor saw a deft chip go a foot over the bar. At the other end Whalley fired a low effort well wide before the visitors forced their sixth corner which ended up seeing Farman deny Clancy with a smart save.

Midway through one minute of added time, Poku saw yellow for a mistimed slide on Jones.

HT: Imps 1 Southport 0

Both teams emerged unchanged for the start of the second half with City restarting proceedings attacking the Stacey West Stand.

The visitors were the first to press after the break with Jordan charging down an Owens cross for a corner which was punched away by Farman. Miller then got in a timely block to deny Clancy as Southport started the second period brightly.

Jones picked up a 63rd minute caution for a sliding challenge on Chalmers on the half-way line before Jake Sheridan replaced Jamie Taylor on the right. Chris Almond came on for Scott Kay for Southport at the same time.

A fine saving header from Boyce saw him flick a James Smith cross off the head of the onrushing Owens. The resultant corner ended up with the ball crashing into the side netting before City cleared their lines from the follow-up flag-kick.

A knock to Sheridan shortly after his arrival saw him require treatment and as he returned to the fray, Liam Willis replaced Chalmers for the visitors.

A second Imps' switch came in the 74th minute with Adam Smith coming on for Jake Jones on the left and he was quickly in the action, having a shot deflect into the gloves of McMillan. Steven Tames then came on for Sean Clancy for the visitors.

There was drama as the game entered its final 10 minutes when both teams were reduced to 10 men; when Neill Byrne pushed Vadaine Oliver into the hoardings as the duo went for a ball on the touchline, the City striker reacted with the duo going nose to nose. Referee Johnson had little hesitation when he arrived and dished out red cards to both offenders.

As the Imps prepared to defend a free-kick Craig Hobson replaced Power to take the loan striker's role in Oliver's absence. The free-kick was then taken by Whalley with his low effort crashing against the foot of the post before going out for a corner off Farman's back.

Southport continued to press for a leveller with another Whalley free-kick being cleared and as the Imps responded Hobson was left grounded after colliding with McMillan who had sprinted off his line to clear.

The Fourth Official indicated that a minimum of five minutes were to be added on with Ledsham fizzing a low effort well wide for a goal-kick which Farman understandably took his time about taking.

Willis picked up a booking for a tug back on Hobson who was about to play a ball across to the unmarked Smith; Diagne drilled the free-kick wide with 30 seconds remaining. The game eventually ended with Farman claiming a Ledsham header with the Imps emerging with a valuable three points.

FT: Imps 1 Southport 0

City: Paul Farman, Tom Miller, Andrew Boyce, Scott Garner, Tony Diagne, Todd Jordan, Mamadou Fofana, Jake Jones, Alan Power, Jamie Taylor, Vadaine Oliver.

subs: Adam Smith (for Jones 74), Jake Sheridan (for Taylor 65), Craig Hobson (for Power 84), Paul Turnbull, David Preece.

goals: Power (14 pen)

bookings: Miller (32), Jones (63)

sending off: Oliver (81)

Southport: Anthony McMillan, James Smith, Andrew Parr, Neill Byrne, Scott Kay, Godfrey Poku, Aaron Chalmers, Sean Clancy, Shaun Whalley, Karl Ledsham, Andy Owens.

subs: Chris Almond (for Kay 65), Russell Benjamin, Steven Tames (for Clancy 76), Liam Willis (for Chalmers 70), Zac Hibbert.

bookings: Poku (45+1), Willis (90+4)

sending off: Byrne (81)

Referee: Kevin Johnson
Assistants: Chris Ward & Stuart Richardson
Fourth Official: Mark Hutchinson

Attendance: 1,827 (108 visiting supporters)