It was goals galore at the Wham Stadium on a cold February Saturday with seven goalsa hitting the back of the net. However, the home side went home with the three points on offer thanks to Sam Finley's late winner.
The Imps’ starting 11 saw just two changes to the starting line-up which faced MK Dons on Tuesday.
Tayo Edun remained at left-back with Anthony Scully coming in for his first start, replacing Joe Morrell as Jorge Grant slotted into centre midfield. Tom Hopper also started for the Imps over Tyreece John-Jules.
Accrington Stanley: Burski (GK), Johnson, Hughes, Sykes, Clark, Maguire, Grant, Conneely, Charles, Ashley-Seal, Diallo
Substitutes: Savin (GK), Finley, Zanzala, Pritchard, Barclay, Bishop, Alese
The home side kicked things off with Bobby Grant taking the kick-off for Accrington. Jake Hesketh was soon to pick up possession for the Imps though sprinting down the left side before sending a cross into the Accrington Stanley area. Despite the impressive run, the number 28 could only watch as his delivery had slightly too much on it going out for a goal kick.
The Imps won an early corner allowing Jorge Grant to fire one in where Jason Shackell was waiting to produce a header, however, the defender’s attempt at goal was held up in the air giving Stanley time to clear.
Anthony Scully looked tricky on the attack, dancing through Accrington players before finding Harry Anderson who attempted to play it back quickly but he could only watch as his stray pass went out for a throw to John Coleman’s side.
The home side had their first opportunity when Jordan Clark and Grant worked well with the latter producing a shooting opportunity which forced Josh Vickers to make a save, leading to a corner. The home side’s set-piece caused no danger as the Imps regained possession with a throw.
The Imps were on the attack again when Tom Hopper picked up the ball following a flick-on from Anderson. The January signing won a corner when his cross went off a Stanley man. It was Anderson who was waiting deep towards the back post, but the winger couldn’t quite get contact with it as the home side cleared.
Anderson was involved in the action again, winning a free-kick in his own half as he cleared the ball from Jordan Clark who was causing problems to the Imps backline.
Scully continued to look good on the left side, beating his man to play the ball inside and across goal, however, Tom Hopper, Anderson and Hesketh’s runs were all short with none of them getting contact on the ball to threaten Josef Bursik’s goal.
It was the Irish attacker who had an opportunity to give City the lead moments later. The Imps’ number 17 did well to run onto the delivery over the top but Bursik was quick off his line as the pair collided, resulting in a Lincoln corner.
As the Imps won another corner following a spell of possession, it was SCULLY who broke the deadlock. The forward who was playing on the left side had plenty of time to adjust his body to fire one home from Grant’s delivery. Scully was delighted as he ran to the corner to celebrate with his City teammates.
But the lead didn’t last for as long as the Imps had hoped when the home side got one back to level the score 10 minutes before half time. It was a Jason Shackell own goal following a delivery across the box from Clark who had looked dangerous for Stanley.
The first card of the game was awarded just before the break when Sadou Diallo was booked for a clumsy foul on Hesketh who was breaking forward. Grant stood over the free-kick, delivering it into Cian Bolger who then flicked it over to Scully, however, Bursik was there again to get his body in the way preventing the Imps bagging a second.
HALF-TIME – ACCRINGTON STANLEY 1 THE IMPS 1
Lincoln goalkeeper Vickers was called into action in the opening minutes of the second half producing a great save from Benny Ashley-Seal’s early attempt.
However, the number one was tested again, this time from the penalty spot as an Accrington player was pulled down. The Imps keeper stood his ground and produced another save from Dion Charles’ spot-kick to City’s relief.
Aaron Lewis came on for Harry Anderson in the first change of the game, just five minutes into the second half.
The substitute was involved with the action straight away when Neal Eardley delivered a great ball into the area from the flanks. Stanley panicked at the back with Bursik spilling the ball, allowing LEWIS to come in and head home to give the Imps the lead!
Joe Maguire was the man who attempted to grab one back for Accrington following Lincoln’s goal. The former Liverpool youngster found himself with time outside the area allowing him to pull the trigger and force Vickers to make a save, resulting in a corner for Stanley.
There were appeals the ball had gone in from the set-piece but Lincoln got rid quickly, with Hesketh putting his body on the line to win the ball from Clark who was attempted to drill one through the sea of City men in the area.
The home side made their first change just before the hour mark with Sam Finley coming on for the booked Diallo. Stanley’s time without a booked player on the field didn’t last long as they had another player in the book with Maguire picking up a yellow for a foul on Lewis.
Charles was replaced by Joe Pritchard just before the 20 minutes remaining mark as Stanley searched for an equalising strike. It was the replacement who got the home fans on their feet producing a magnificent strike for Accrington to equalise.
Substitute Finley was booked for a foul on Hesketh at the halfway line. Lincoln fired the ball forward towards the back post where Bolger was waiting to head it home, however, Bursik was there to tip it over for a corner. Grant sent the ball in towards City Captain JASON SHACKELL who produced a great header to give Lincoln the lead!
The home side made their final change of the game when Colby Bishop came on for Ashley-Seal.
It was end to end action at the Wham Stadium before Stanley Captain Seamus Conneely scored the third equaliser of the game moments later with a low driven strike past Josh Vickers’ who had made a good stop moments before. City then made their second change of the game as Ellis Chapman replaced Grant. The youngster was involved straight away as he saw his low strike go just wide of Bursik’s goal.
Michael Bostwick was welcomed back to a warm welcome from the travelling Lincoln fans as he came on in the 89th minute. The defender replaced Tom Hopper who had received treatment earlier in the game. The fourth official then displayed that there would be a minimum of 10 added minutes.
The weather continued to pile onto the pitch as the wind and rain picked up with both sides looking to snatch three points. Scully looked like he was through on goal before Mark Hughes clattered him with the Imps winning a free-kick. The Stanley defender was booked for his challenge, however, Eardley's delivery caused no danger for the home side.
Bostwick showed his experience when challenging Clark who had broken into the City area, the substitute defender calmly picked the ball from Stanley's number seven before clearing up the field for the Imps.
It was Finley who wrote the headlines on a cold Saturday at the Wham Stadium as he skipped through a number of City players before poking it past Vickers to win the game as the Imps goalkeeper couldn't get a hand to it.
Conneely was involved in the last piece of the action for a late challenge on Scully. The Imps took the free-kick but the referee was quick to blow the whistle for full-time.
FULL-TIME – ACCRINGTON STANLEY 4 THE IMPS 3
30 Josef BURSIK
2 Callum JOHNSON
3 Mark HUGHES
5 Ross SYKES
7 Jordan CLARK
12 Joe MAGUIRE
15 Bobby GRANT
28 Seamus CONNEELY (C)
32 Dion CHARLES
38 Benny ASHLEY-SEAL
42 Sadou DIALLO
40 Toby SAVIN
8 Sam FINLEY (59’ Sadou DIALLO)
9 Offrande ZANZALA
10 Joe PRITCHARD (68’ Dion CHARLES)
16 Ben BARCLAY
19 Colby BISHOP (77’ Benny ASHLEY-SEAL)
34 Aji ALESE
Goals: 36’ Jason SHACKELL (OG), 70’ Joe PRITCHARD, 78' Seamus CONNEELY, 90' Sam FINLEY
Booked: 45’ Sadou DIALLO, 64’ Joe MAGUIRE, 75’ Sam FINLEY, 90' Mark HUGHES, 90' Seamus CONNEELY
1 Josh VICKERS
2 Liam BRIDCUTT
5 Jason SHACKELL (C)
6 Cian BOLGER
11 Tom HOPPER
17 Anthony SCULLY
18 Jorge GRANT
23 Neal EARDLEY
26 Harry ANDERSON
28 Jake HESKETH
37 Tayo EDUN
30 Charlie ANDREW
10 Jack PAYNE
12 Ellis CHAPMAN (79’ Jorge GRANT)
16 Michael BOSTWICK (89' Tom HOPPER)
20 Conor COVENTRY
22 Aaron LEWIS (50’ Harry ANDERSON)
25 Zack ELBOUZEDI
Goals: 30’ Anthony SCULLY, 53’ Aaron LEWIS, 76' Jason SHACKELL
Referee: Christopher POLLARD
Assistants: David AVENT & Mark CUNLIFFE
4th Official: Richard BARTLETT
Attendance: 2,279 (450 Imps Fans)