The Imps travelled to take on Leicester City this afternoon as preparation for the 2019/20 League One season gathers momentum. Following on from last weekend’s successful Community Festival of Lincolnshire Football, Danny Cowley’s side took on a youthful Leicester City U23 side at their training base in Leicestershire.
Although the score was a resounding one for The Imps, it was a game to help the group strengthen as a team ahead of the long campaign ahead. The signs were positive from a City point of view from the off, with Jorge Grant firing a free kick from 20-yards just over the top of the Foxes goal but the visitors were to opening the scoring after ten minutes. Grant provided a pinpoint corner onto the head of Cian Bolger, who rose highest and he powered his header home beyond the ‘keeper to give The Imps the lead.
City looked positive in possession, and there was some superb link play on display in midfield areas and that movement and passing created a shooting chance for Joe Morrell, but his stinging effort just went the wrong side of the post from distance before Neal Eardley tried a trademark free kick that brushed the top of the crossbar.
With 30 minutes gone City doubled their lead, a quick counter down the left started by Harry Toffolo, found Ellis Chapman who in turn slid the ball to Jack Payne, the diminutive attacking player struck his effort sweetly but it cannoned off the upright, Bruno Andrade tried in vain to put home the rebound as the Foxes’ ‘keeper somehow kept the ball out but he couldn’t stop John Akinde forcing home the second rebound.
Grant was the architect for The Imps’ next opportunity of note, the ball into the box found Chapman with time and space to find the net against his former club ahead of half time.
The visitors netted ten minutes into the second half, Payne and Grant combined with the latter nodding home at the back post, before City’s latest signing scored his second with the goal of the game as he met a left wing cross from Toffolo with an expertly executed overhead kick that gave the ‘keeper no chance.
Danny Cowley made a host of changes at the hour mark with Jordan Adebayo-Smith and Matt Rhead amongst the substitutes along with a number of trialists and it was The Imps talisman, Rhead, who was to have quite the impact late in the game. He first netted from a neat Harry Anderson cross, then turned creator as he made the final pass in a swift counter attack which was swept home by one of the trialists now on the pitch for City before the big striker rounded out the scoring in the last moments of the match, ably assisted by Adebayo-Smith.
Ellis Chapman returned to his former club and got on the scoresheet, The Imps' midfielder is happy with how things are going and has ambitions for things to continue in a similar vein.
"I’m pleased, I’ve been working hard in the position I’ve been playing in training, the gaffer speaks a lot about getting numbers into the box. I’ve been working really hard, the position I prefer is to be a little bit higher (on the pitch) and get on the ball and make things happen and for me to get into the box and get goals, it’s in my game so hopefully I can keep working on that."
City boss Danny Cowley was pleased with the performance of his side against a strong, young Leicester City line up but they provided the right test at the right time for his squad.
"Pleased with the boys, pleased with their attitude and the application, I’m pleased that once we got control of the game and got some goals that we were ruthless and relentless in our work, it was a good day for us." Danny said.
"We’ve played a good young Leicester city team and we are really pleased today with a lot of aspects, we got control and moved the ball well and when we did give it up we counter pressed really aggressively and played with a real energy and intensity and it helped us get a real foothold on the game. We felt it was another good building block when we put this schedule together and so it’s proved."
Remember you can still see The Imps in action this pre season at Sincil Bank, starting with this weekend's visit of Championship side, Sheffield Wednesday. The game against The Owls this Saturday kicks off at 1pm, and tickets are available in the ticket office at Sincil Bank or online HERE