The Imps moved back into the playoff spots after a memorable win in the Lincolnshire derby against Grimsby Town in front of a packed Sincil Bank stadium.
Three quick goals in under ten minutes in the first half were to ultimately win the day for City. Lee Frecklington, Matt Green and Scott Wharton set the tone before a Ben Davies penalty spot in the dying moments of the first half gave the away side hope. But City weren’t to be denied the win as the majority of people in the highest gate of the season so far were to go home with the bragging rights.
The game got underway at Sincil Bank with both sets of supporters in vociferous mood, the atmosphere was electric despite the freezing conditions. City pressed early and had a flurry of attacks, but Grimsby stood resolute, clearing their lines after positive moves down either flank from the Imps as Neal Eardley and Jordan Williams seemed to be continually peppering the visiting area with crosses.
With much of the play taking place in the Grimsby half, they could only look to attack at pace on the break, a long ball towards Harry Cardwell almost set him free but an excellent read from Michael Bostwick soon halted their charge towards Ryan Allsop. The blustery conditions were a problem for both sides as they had to carefully watch the flight of the ball, and the visitors almost profited as a looping ball into the box from Andrew Fox was met by Cardwell and his effort hit the crossbar then the follow up from close range from Martyn Woolford was somehow kept out by a combination of Ryan Allsop and the post.
Conditions worsened and were more akin to what were recently seen in Pyongchang as the snow came down heavily midway through the half as the Imps were denied the opener. James McKeown made a diving stop low to his left as Scott Wharton smashed a low drive through a sea of legs. Suddenly the sun broke through the clouds and Matt Green was close to warming up the City faithful too, as his darting run and cross down the right was just deflected over the top. The resulting corner was cleared to the edge of the box and there was LEE FRECKLINGTON to smash home via the aid of a deflection to send the home fans into raptures.
That jubilation was quickly doubled and the Imps were in dreamland when Elliott Whitehouse picked up a wonderful touch from Frecklington down the left and his low drilled cross gave GREEN the simplest of tasks to tap home.
City wouldn’t let the visitors out of their own half and the pressure continued, winning corner after corner and the third goal was coming, and it duly did following the fourth flag kick for the Imps, Sam Habergham’s delivery wasn’t cleared and SCOTT WHARTON made it two in two games with a lovely side footed finish.
Town pushed forward just as the first half crept into stoppage time and a shot from Harry Clifton was expertly tipped over by Allsop, but when the game got back underway the cross into the box was adjudged to have been handled and Ben Davies smashed the ball home from the spot to reduce the deficit going into the break.
The Imps 3 Grimsby Town 1
After a very snowy half time break, the game got back underway and the visitors pushed higher up the pitch in attempt to claw themselves back into the game. Allsop saved a shot on the turn from Jamille Matt at the near post, but City broke at speed and Frecklington’s drive from the edge of the box cannoned wide of the mark. The visitors kept pushing for a second and after an aerial battle for possession, Gary McSheffrey sneaked in to hit a volley but it went high over the top. Chances weren’t as frequent as in the latter stages of the first half but the game was still played at quite a pace.
City were close to a fourth goal just after the hour mark as Williams made a determined run from midfield, Ollie Palmer saw his run, fed the ball to the feet of the number 14 who took on two players then hit a low drive that McKeown did well to smartly dive and save low to his right. Palmer was causing problems with his movement, and another burst into the right channel brought a shooting chance for Frecklington but it flew just off target.
The Imps continued to threaten when Palmer lashed a first time shot across the face of goal that initially had McKeown worried. Grimsby tried to force a late charge towards an equaliser but it left them exposed on the break and the introduction of the pace from Harry Anderson just magnified that threat down the right.
Going into the final part of the game things were pretty even but it was still City forcing McKeown into the save, a right wing cross was powerfully headed on target but the Town ‘keeper was right behind the effort. Grimsby won a late corner, however once again their attempts were fruitless and Allsop wasn’t really threatened.
The Imps 3 Grimsby Town 1
22 Ryan ALLSOP
3 Sam HABERGHAM
4 Elliott WHITEHOUSE
6 Scott WHARTON
9 Matt RHEAD
10 Matt GREEN
14 Jordan WILLIAMS
16 Michael BOSTWICK
19 Lee FRECKLINGTON
23 Neal EARDLEY
30 Alex WOODYARD
1 Paul FARMAN
2 Sean LONG
7 Tom PETT
8 Ollie PALMER (60’ for Rhead)
15 James WILSON (80’ for Frecklington)
24 Danny ROWE
26 Harry ANDERSON (66’ for Green)
GOAL: Frecklington 32’ Green 34’ Wharton 39’
Booked: Palmer 90'
1 James McKEOWN
2 Ben DAVIES
5 Nathan CLARKE
6 Danny COLLINS
7 James BERRETT
15 Harry CLIFTON
17 Harry CARDWELL
23 Andrew FOX
25 Martyn WOOLFORD
29 Jamille MATT
31 Reece HALL-JOHNSON
30 Ben KILLIP
8 Mitch ROSE (56’ for Hall-Johnson)
10 Gary McSHEFFREY (46’ for Cardwell)
12 Zak MILLS
20 DIAUANG JAIYESIMI (66’ for Woolford)
21 Scott VERNON
27 Siriki DEMBELE
Booked: Clifton 22’
Goal: Davies (pen) 45.
Referee: David Coote
Assistants: Shaun Hudson & Nick Hopton
Attendance: 9,774 (1,696 Grimsby Supporters)