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"The best so far this season"

22 December 2018

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Danny Cowley believes his Lincoln City side played the best they have all season during the opening 30 minutes of this afternoon’s 3-2 win over promotion rivals Newport County.

The 40-year-old was delighted with a number of his players’ performances including summer signing John Akinde. The former Barnet striker scored City’s opener after just three minutes, bringing his tally for the season to 10. 

“John [Akinde] has scored 10 goals for us now which is good, I am delighted for him and it is also great for Harry [Anderson] who has scored two in two,” explained Cowley.

“Harry is so young but he has played lots of football, he is still learning every day and he works so hard at his game. We have been working on that in training and he plays so well in training so it’s nice to see him transfer that into a game. 

“Our players worked really hard and Frecks [Lee Frecklington] must have blown the GPS up with the amount of running he did. Rheady [Matt Rhead] came on and did such a selfless job for the team. Scott Wharton came on as a sub and had to play out of position, he was also excellent. As a team, we dug deep and it payed off.”

The Imps boss went on to express his opinions on Lincoln’s performance throughout the game saying: “It was the best we have played for the first 30 minutes all season and maybe it was the best we have played during my whole tenure here.

“We got the three points in the end which is good but I was disappointed that when we had control in the first 30 minutes we didn’t grab the game by the scruff of the neck for the full half.

“I think it was one of those afternoons, we are disappointed and frustrated with ourselves because we found it difficult going into half time. We could see the goal coming and credit to Newport because they were so resilient as a group.

“When a team score just before half time you know you are going to be in for an onslaught. I thought that in the second half we actually got much more control of the game and that was needed.”

Lincoln have scored 41 goals this season conceding just 20, two of which came against Newport in today’s 3-2 win. 

Cowley backed his players and he was pleased with the reaction his players showed towards the end of the game: “We conceded a poor goal and that was from an individual mistake. I don’t criticize individual mistakes because they will happen and it is how you respond to them which matters.

“I thought that once we conceded, Grant [Smith] and the team really dug deep to react which was important. They worked really hard to make sure the mistake didn’t have an effect on the rest of the game.”

The City boss finished by speaking about being top of the SkyBet League Two table going into Christmas, stating how his side will not get complacent: “We have worked hard to get into a good position, we are respectful of football and we know we don’t need to get complacent because you can argue we saw that after 30 minutes today.

“It is the edge between winning and losing, there are small margins in football and we have to make sure we are relentlessly consistent.”

Cowley finished by encouraging fans to make the trip to Crewe on Boxing Day before the Imps travel down to Cambridge next Saturday: “We have got a brilliant squad who have a great attitude and I trust them to work individually on Christmas Day before we travel to Crewe on Boxing Day.

“What else is there to do at Christmas? Especially by the time you get to Boxing Day because you’ll have watched Only Fools and Horses on TV five times over.

“Crewe and Cambridge will be an expensive trip but what a great present for someone! If I was a Lincoln City supporter I wouldn’t want anything else than to be waking up to a ticket for Crewe or Cambridge on Christmas Day.

“It will be a tough test, they are good at home and a team with great possession and control. They will ask a lot of questions and overload you in the midfield. You have to be good to turn them over and counter their open expansive style.”

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