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FT: Imps 3 Forest Green 1

25 March 2017

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Superb second half showing sees City go back to the top...

Alan Power, Terry Hawkridge and Matt Rhead all returned to the City starting line-up for this Saturday lunchtime Vanarama National League top-of-the-table clash against Forest Green Rovers in front of the BT Sport cameras at a sunny Sincil Bank Stadium.

After a minute's silence following the midweek atrocities in London, play got underway with City kicking off attacking the Stacey West Stand from the opening whistle.

The Imps started brightly winning a fourth minute corner following a chipped Nathan Arnold centre towards Lee Angol but Sam Habergham's delivery was headed away by Christian Doidge.

The encouraging start continued as Hawkridge drilled wide following good work by Angol who was having his shirt pulled by his marker but a couple of minutes later, with nine on the clock, Power was dispossessed on the edge of the City box and in nipped Doidge to continue his fine run of form with the opening goal.

City's response saw a quick Arnold throw to Angol lead to another corner but Luke Waterfall saw his header from Habergham's delivery fly across a packed area and out for a goal-kick.

Shortly afterwards the Imps' skipper had a header from Hawkridge free-kick go straight at Sam Russell in the Rovers goal but the game then entered somewhat of a lull with neither goalkeeper threatened as the half-hour mark came and went.

In the 36th minute a Waterfall challenge on Liam Noble in the centre circle was deemed worthy of a yellow card by referee Antony Coggins and four minutes later Habergham was left grounded following a late Charlie Cooper challenge which wasn't spotted by the officials, much to the annoyance of the home fans and management.

The final action of a frustrating opening period saw the visitors waste a corner with Noble firing well over the bar whilst at the end of three added minutes a Waterfall header from a Habergham corner flew a foot wide.


With no changes made, Rovers restarted the game but the first chance fell City's way with Power having a shot cleared off the line after he was set up by an Angol lay-off.

Six minutes in Rhead was harshly penalised for a push as he went up for a Long cross and following a tussle with Mark Ellis, the big man was left grounded and needed treatment before the resultant free-kick could be taken.

Four minutes later, the Imps drew level when a long Farman clearance was left to bounce by Rhead there to nip in was LEE ANGOL who produced a clinical left-footed finish past Russell.

Almost three minutes elapsed before play restarted as Ellis was left grounded in the move which led to the Imps' leveller and when play did get underway again, Rhead tried his luck from range but saw his effort go well wide.

It wasn't long before the Imps were pressing forward again though and just after the hour mark a sweeping move down the left saw the ball find its way on to Habergham's trusty left boot. He duly fizzed a cross into the mix and under pressure from Arnold, Marcus Kelly saw the ball crash against him and go into the net via the inside of the post.

Six minutes later Curtis Tilt replaced Drissa Traore for the visitors and as City prepared to defend a free-kick Woodyard went to ground indicating an elbow. Nothing was spotted by the officials though.

After Waterfall went off the pitch before returning complete with a bandaged head the retuning Harry Anderson came for Terry Hawkridge. Angol was then up ended 25 yards from goal - and up stepped SAM HABERGHAM to drill a pin-point free-kick into the bottom corner of Russell's net.

Before play restarted Omar Bugiel replaced Kaiyne Woolery for Rovers and with the clock in its 80th minute Fabien Robert came on for Sam Wedgbury in a final throw of the dice by visiting boss Mark Cooper.

An 84th minute lunge on Power earned Cooper's son Charlie a yellow card and in the final minute Elliott Whitehouse replaced Lee Angol who received a standing ovation as he left the pitch.

In the second of six added minutes a Rovers free-kick 25 yards from goal was fired straight at Farman by Kelly. At the other end an Arnold cross was dummied by Anderson but Rhead swept the ball wide rather than in with just Russell to beat.

The damage had already been done, however, and when referee Coggins took a final blow on his whistle, the Imps were back on top of the National League pile at the expense of their opponents who drop back to second having played three more games than Danny Cowley's men.


1    Paul FARMAN
8    Alan POWER
9    Matt RHEAD
11    Terry HAWKRIDGE
12    Sean LONG
25    Sean RAGGETT
28    Nathan ARNOLD
30    Alex WOODYARD
31    Lee ANGOL   
4    Elliott WHITEHOUSE (for ANGOL 90)
6    Callum HOWE
10    Adam MARRIOTT
26    Harry ANDERSON (for HAWKRIDGE 73)
34    Billy KNOTT

GOALS: ANGOL (55), KELLY (61 og), HABERGHAM (75)


23    Sam RUSSELL
4    Drissa TRAORE
5    Mark ELLIS
6    Dale BENNETT
9    Christian DOIDGE
10    Marcus KELLY
12    Darren CARTER
14    Kaiyne WOOLERY
15    Liam NOBLE
20    Charlie COOPER
2    Curtis TILT (for TRAORE 67)
11    Omar BUGIEL (for WOOLERY 77)
19    Rob SINCLAIR
26    Fabien ROBERT (for WEDGBURY 80)
31    Jake GOSLING




REFEREE: Antony Coggins
ASSISTANTS: Callum Walchester & Alex Guy

ATTENDANCE: 6,798 (160 visiting supporters)

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