The Imps got back to winning ways with a tremendous away victory at the County Ground against Swindon Town. A solitary goal was enough for City to take three points back to Lincolnshire as Sean Raggett headed the winner in the second half to hoist the Imps up to ninth position in League Two.
City started the game in Wiltshire with three changes to the starting line up, back came Sean Raggett after serving his one match suspension, Sean Long made his first start since early September and the other change brought Nathan Arnold back into the team.
The Imps made their presence felt within the opening two minutes as a typically robust but fair challenge from Michael Bostwick took possession from Swindon, he quickly set Matt Green away down the left, but he was blocked off. However, within a minute the Imps were almost in front, a short corner was dinked to the back post and up went Rob Dickie but his goal bound header was cleared off the line. Billy Knott curled an effort over the top but with just five minutes gone the visitors were stamping their authority on things.
Bostwick fired from range forcing Reice Charles-Cook into a diving save low to his right, the ‘keeper quickly got to his feet to deny Josh Ginnelly from the rebound. Arnold got into a good position but couldn’t quite wrap his foot around the ball, as the Imps continued their quick start to the game with the hosts initially struggling to contain the visitors.
Swindon did look dangerous on the break, but it was the Imps who could have been mistaken for the home side. The hosts won their first corner of the game after 20 minutes, but once again the resolute City defence weren’t in charitable mood.
Olly Lancashire headed over a Matty Taylor free kick from the left for Swindon, but it wasn’t close enough to worry Josh Vickers in the Imps’ goal. Keshi Anderson drove forward for the Robins but a wonderful tackle from Alex Woodyard stopped the attack as he took the ball away with the Swindon striker shaping to shoot.
Anderson almost netted for the hosts just ahead of the break as he pounced on a knockdown deep inside the Imps’ box, but Vickers was perfectly placed to save.
Swindon Town 0 The Imps 0
The Robins won an early free kick down the City right, Taylor curled it inswinging towards the near post but it crept wide of the mark as Vickers covered his goal. Luke Norris cut inside from the left, took a touch then lashed a vicious shot just over the top of the bar as the home fans thought it might sneak into the top corner.
But City were still a threat and a fantastic piece of hold up play and composure from Green set Ginnelly free down the left, he skipped past his marker and crossed but Lancashire just managed to head away with Knott lurking dangerously. Eardley then whipped in a delicious cross from the left that was inches away from being turned home. Swindon quickly retaliated with a swift break, Norris in the thick of the action winning a corner which Matt Preston headed wide.
Swindon started to gain some momentum around the hour mark, but it was City who were twice within a whisker of opening the scoring, first Arnold fired low and struck the post, the ball rebounded towards Ginnelly who then smashed the ball at goal but it was blocked as the ‘keeper struggled to get across his goal.
The tempo of the game raised as tackles started to fly in and the volume raised in the stadium from both sets of supporters but would it come to a crescendo from the visiting Imps?
The answer was yes, as City broke forward inside the final ten minutes and Elliott Whitehouse combined with Long down the right and won a corner for the visiting side, Jordan Maguire-Drew whipped in the ball and there was RAGGETT to head home at the near post. Almost from the restart Ollie Palmer burst down the right channel to shoot on target as the home supporters grew more frustrated as the clock ticked down.
Maguire-Drew fired a low shot just wide of the near post before Anderson shot wide for Swindon as the game went into six minutes of injury time. The Robins poured forward in a last ditch attempt to grab a point, but as had been shown throughout the City defence weren’t going to buckle.
Swindon Town 0 The Imps 1
21 R CHARLES-COOK
2 Ben PURKISS
4 Matt PRESTON
6 Olly LANCASHIRE
7 Paul MULLIN
8 James DUNNE
9 Luke NORRIS
10 John GODDARD
16 Amine LINGANZI
30 Keshi ANDERSON
31 Matt TAYLOR
12 Will HENRY
5 Chris ROBERTSON
14 Ellis IANDOLO
18 Donal MCDERMOTT (72 for MULLIN)
20 Kellan GORDON
22 Kaiyne WOOLERY (86 for PURKISS)
24 Kyle KNOYLE
21 Josh VICKERS
2 Sean LONG
7 Josh GINNELLY
10 Matt GREEN
11 Billy KNOTT
15 Rob DICKIE
16 Michael BOSTWICK
23 Neal EARDLEY
25 Sean RAGGETT
28 Nathan ARNOLD
30 Alex WOODYARD
1 Paul FARMAN
4 Elliott WHITEHOUSE (66 for KNOTT)
5 Luke WATERFALL
8 Ollie PALMER (59 for GREEN)
9 Matt RHEAD
12 Ellis CHAPMAN
14 J MAGUIRE-DREW (76 for GINNELLY)
GOAL: Raggett 82’
Booking: Arnold ’70, Bostwick 75’
Attendance: 5,684 (393 Imps' Supporters)