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Spot Kick Agony For Youths

10 March 2014

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The Imps' Youth Team's fantastic run in the Youth Alliance Cup finally came to and end on Saturday in dramatic style following a thrilling Semi-Final encounter

After knocking out Bury, Wigan Athletic and Rochdale in earlier rounds, the Imps were just one game away from the Northern Final as they faced the current North East League Champions.

The game kicked off in blustery conditions and the Imps were soon on the front foot, pegging the hosts back in the early stages. But Hull looked very lively on the break and their excellent movement meant that City's midfield of Matt Bowles, Kegan Everington, Mason Love and Rob Smith were working hard off the ball.

Matt Cotton fired a free kick over the bar then Smith's shot was blocked following a short corner. The deadlock was broken on the half hour when Love released Alex Simmons who was too quick for Hull's goalkeeper who brought him down for a penalty. Simmons stepped up and calmly fired the Imps in front.

From the restart Hull broke clear for the first time and Henry Smith made a fine point blank right handed save, while City responded just two minutes later when Simmons found Cotton who drilled his shot early but the Tigers' keeper made an incredible save at full stretch to deny the Imps striker. Lincoln saw the game out well and went into the break a goal in front.

With just a minute on the clock after the restart, Everington broke from half way and unleashed an audacious effort from almost 40 yards which had the Hull keeper back tracking but the ball dropped agonisingly over the bar. The home side were now pressing and committing players forward all over the pitch, but the Imps’ back line of Kieran Walker, Nick Green, Marlon Grundy and skipper Callum Ward stood firm.

The Imps always looked dangerous on the break and just before the hour, Simmons doubled the lead when he beat his marker and drilled the ball home from the edge of the box. Then at the other end, Henry Smith made another outstanding save once again from point blank range.

Hull were now responding an increasing the pressure with a constant flow of crosses into City's box and within a short five minute spell the hosts were level as the Imps absorbed more and more pressure. Jenk Akar now replaced Kieran Walker and although pegged back to 2-2, City's youngsters found their feet again and pushed the hosts back.

Another short corner between Smith and Simmons whose cross found Everington unmarked at the back post. He drilled the ball back across goal and Cotton turned the ball home to put the Imps back in front with just 15 minutes on the clock. But the hosts weren't beaten yet and once again responded and with just eight minutes left they made the scores level again.

The final whistle drew an end to a thrilling cup encounter and once again City's youngsters faced the drama of a penalty shoot out, however on this occasion it wasn't to be their day as the hosts clinically despatched their spot kicks to finally end the Imps' cup run.

Good luck to Hull City in the Northern Final where they will face either Bradford City or Blackpool and congratulations to Lincoln City's youngsters for their tremendous achievements in this competition this season.

Team: H Smith, Grundy, Walker (Akar 60), Everington, Ward, Green, Simmons, Bowles, Love, Cotton, R Smith. Subs not used: Walton, Wright, Cooke, Harper.

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