The Imps progressed to the next phase of the Checkatrade Trophy after beating Notts County at Sincil Bank this evening. After going behind to a goal from Jonathan Forte, City rallied and equalized when Pierce Bird turned a Cameron Stewart cross into his own goal. But the best was saved for last as Josh Ginnelly rounded out the scoring with a fantastic shot which arrowed into the top corner with three minutes remaining.
The rain was falling as the game got underway, leaving a very greasy surface underfoot for the both sides. However it was City who were making the inroads early on with Cameron Stewart, making his first start for the Imps, causing problems down the County left as the home side made good use of the slick pitch with some crisp passing.
The first corner of the game for City almost brought the opening goal, Billy Knott swinging the ball in and it was met by Luke Waterfall and his downward header was just saved by the County ‘keeper Branislav Pindroch as he grabbed possession at the second attempt after it initially squirmed from his grasp.
City were breaking at pace and following a smart tackle in midfield by Michael Bostwick, he fed Knott who raced into the final third before sliding the ball to Ollie Palmer who took a touch and looked to measure a curler into the far corner of the goal, his effort though was to drift just wide of the mark.
The industry of Elliott Whitehouse in the middle of the field was a feature for the Imps, aided by the trickery of both Josh Ginnelly and Stewart out wide on the flanks who were continually of a threat to the visitors. Ginnelly was the architect for the next opportunity, his cross landed on the head of Waterfall although the net wasn’t to bulge.
County’s first opportunity of the game was to open the scoring on the night, a threaded ball through from Liam Walker in the middle of midfield set Jonathan Forte away, he raced into the area before rounding Josh Vickers and sliding the ball into the goal. The visitors, naturally buoyed by the goal, began to finally push forward with a little more frequency although they weren’t to force Vickers into a save.
With just under ten minutes of the first half remaining though the Imps were to get the goal their efforts deserved. Stewart whipped in a wicked free kick inswinging from the left which was begging to be turned home and it was, but unfortunately for the visitors that touch came from Notts County defender, Pierce Bird, and into his own goal.
On the stroke of half time City won a free kick on the touchline in front of the Co-Op Stand, Knott curled it into the danger area but Waterfall couldn’t put the Imps in front at the break.
The Imps 1 Notts County 1
The Imps started the second half on the front foot as Palmer almost nodded in a second goal for City following a Knott feed, but it was just deflected wide of the mark. Palmer did well to get in round the back of the County defence in the right channel, he looked up and played it into the feet of Whitehouse who sidefooted on target but Pindroch was right behind it to save.
Neal Eardley made a marauding run forward from left back and put in two dangerous crosses into the County box as City looked to put the result out of sight of the visiting side.
There was a welcome return for Harry Anderson just before the hour mark, his introduction was well received by the home supporters, Eardley almost created a goal for Palmer but the number 8 saw his shot blocked at the back post. Ginnelly fizzed a cross/shot right across the face of goal as the Imps continued to pour forward.
Eardley was a constant thorn in the side of the Magpies, his overlapping runs down the left were creating so much space and his crosses into the box were causing problems for County’s defence. With twenty minutes to go, there only looked like one winner.
However, like the first half the threat of a County breakway goal was there and sub, Jorge Grant almost struck a curler into the goal but it was expertly blocked by Sean Raggett, the resulting flag kick was played to the back post and Nicky Hunt fired a low shot on target but Vickers used his legs to save. Up the other end Whitehouse tested Pindroch from range, the County ‘keeper having to dive and stretch to his right to deny him what would have been a deserved goal at that point.
Walker fired a free kick from distance over the top as the visiting side pushed for a winner, but Anderson almost single handedly won the tie for the Imps, he danced forward running beyond three County defenders before firing a shot which Pindroch did well to save. Raggett then clipped the bar with a header at the near post from a Knott cross but the best moment of game was reserved for GINNELLY who took things into his own hands. Picking the ball up on the left corner of the box, he took a touch before hitting a fantastic effort right into the right top corner of the goal.
Jon Stead almost nabbed a late equaliser for the visitors but Vickers kept it out, and City progressed as Northern Group G winners.
The Imps 2 Notts County 1
21 Josh VICKERS
2 Sean LONG
4 Elliott WHITEHOUSE
5 Luke WATERFALL
7 Josh GINNELLY
8 Ollie PALMER
11 Billy KNOTT
16 Michael BOSTWICK
23 Neal EARDLEY
25 Sean RAGGETT
32 Cameron STEWART
1 Paul FARMAN
10 Matt GREEN
12 Ellis CHAPMAN (86’ for KNOTT)
15 Rob DICKIE
26 Harry ANDERSON (59’ for STEWART)
28 Nathan ARNOLD
30 Alex WOODYARD (46’ for BOSTWICK)
Goal: 36’ Bird OG, Ginnelly, 87’
13 Branislav PINDROCH
6 Haydn HOLLIS
7 Lewis ALESANDRA
14 Jonathan FORTE
15 Curtis THOMPSON
17 Alan SMITH
19 Nicky HUNT
20 Liam WALKER
23 Dan JONES
24 Rob MILSUM
33 Pierce BIRD
34 Ross FITZSIMMONS
4 Elliott HEWITT
10 George GRANT (64’ for THOMPSON)
11 Terry HAWKRIDGE
12 Elliott HODGE
26 Callum SAUNDERS (73’ for FORTE)
30 Jon STEAD (85’ for MILSOM)
Booking: 53' Hollis 87' Smith
Goal: 27’ Forte
Attendance: 3,026 (178 County supporters)
Referee: Tom Neild
Assistants: Thomas Harty & Christopher WARD