With a number of second year scholars beginning work experience at senior clubs last weekend, the Imps travelled to Rotherham with a youthful side giving some of the younger players a chance to impress, which they certainly did.
The Imps started brightly, keeping possession well and winning the ball back quickly in midfield, and created the first chance of the game when good link up play released Jenk Acar down the right hand side who fired just wide. Jack McMenemy broke clear but his shot was saved, and the Imps continued to look dangerous through Lewis Millington and Jordan Harper. Then midway through the half Jordon Cooke found Liam Harris in the box who finished neatly from close range.
Matthew Clarke replaced the injured Millington on the half hour mark and had an immediate impact hitting the crossbar from 30 yards. Rotherham then grew into the game and had more possession, putting the young Imps were on the back foot, however the back four marshalled by Jordon Cooke and skipper Connor Griffin stayed solid and defended brilliantly to keep a clean sheet at the break.
From the restart it was the Imps who again started the brighter of the two teams and a superb pass from Sam Fewkes found Harper who fired wide. Then on the hour mark, McMenemy rose the highest to head home Acar’s corner and minutes later it was McMenemy again who stole the ball and rounded the goalkeeper for his second of the game.
The game became scrappy as the rain continued to pour down and Rotherham enjoyed longer spells of possession. Calum Stewart and Leon Loftus were working hard to defend as Rotherham pressed in wide areas and Henry Smith made a fantastic reflex save but the hosts reacted quickest to convert the rebound and keep the game alive.
Late in the game Harper’s pace got him behind the hosts' back line and from a narrow angle he struck a post with McMenemy waiting unmarked in the box. Archie Moyses replaced Clarke in the dying moments as the Imps saw the game out well and with a very young side they showed great team spirit and resilience to bounce back after two disappointing cup defeats and win the game comfortably in the end.
Team: Smith, Loftus, Love (Stewart), Harris, Cooke, Griffin, Harper, Fewkes, McMenemy, Acar, Millington (Clarke, Moyses). Subs: Andersen, Walton.