21st March 1987
Luckless Imps Foiled
Lincoln C 1-1 Exeter C
Report by Nick Purkiss.
ANOTHER afternoon of frustration left luckless Lincoln City wondering what might have been as visitors Exeter produced an Houdini act to escape with a point from Sincil Bank. As on Tuesday against Torquay the Imps had more than enough chances to secure their first home win since January 3rd and their first three points under Peter Daniel. But unlike the Torquay match, it wasn't the Imps anxiety to score that was the main reason for their failure they simply didn't get the run of the ball when it mattered most. The one exception was Willie Gamble's clinically taken 51st minute goal which raised the spirits of the sparce crowd. Gamble controlled the ball in a tight corner of the penalty box, spun away from two defenders and crashed the ball past John Shaw for a stunning goal. But Exeter's penalty equaliser, the only time in the game that Lee Butler was seriously troubled, just about summed up the Imps' day. Kevin Kilmore got himself into trouble in his own area and in his anxiety to retrieve the situation he leaned clumsily on Paul Batty right on the edge of the area. Referee Trussell decided it was both a foul and inside the box and Tony Kellow stepped up amid the protests to calmly send Butler the wrong way with his spotkick. It was more than the visitors' negative approach deserved but you couldn't help feeling Lincoln had brought it upon themselves by allowing them to come back into the game after Gamble's effort. Up until then they had pressed and pressured their well organised opponents and gradually began to create gaps in the five- man defence. With Gary Lund and Gamble well marshalled by the towering Shaun Taylor and Nicky Marker, the Imps midfield realised they had to bring Simeon Hodson and John McGinley into the game.
In his anxiety to get on with the job Richard Cooper was booked for encroachment at a free kick and then was involved in a terrible clash of heads with Taylor. The Exeter man came off worse and emerged with blood streaked down his shirt and left the field for treatment allowing the Imps to press still further. But as McGinley would tell you, it seemed somebody, somewhere was against them. First, the lanky winger had his header cleared off the line and was again close in a goalmouth melee which also ended with a goal-line clearance. He went closer still when doing well to make room for a shot which beat Shaw but
cannoned off the foot of a post to safety and Shaw also produced a fine one handed save from Simeon Hodson. Later in the game as the Imps tried to re- store their lead McGinley was again defied when Shaw leapt to push his header onto the crossbar and over for a corner. That was the last chance for the Imps who looked bitterly disappointed as they left the pitch still knowing that they are not clear of the danger zone at the foot of the table.
Butler, Daniel, Buckley, Cooper, West, Mitchell, Hodson, Gamble, Lund, Kilmore, McGinley, sub Simmons.
Shaw, O'Connell, Viney, Marker, Taylor, Batty, Olssen, Roberts (William 67) Kellow, Keough, Harrower.
Referee C. Trussell, Liverpool.