13th May 1989
Lincoln C (h)
Consolidation at the end of the day.
Exeter 0-1 Lincoln City
Report by Neil CUSTIS
THAT as they say is that. The bus drew into Sincil Bank at 10.15 pm, all got off said their good-byes, Dave the bus driver took the coach back to the depot and the campaign was over.
Lincoln's statistics: won 18, lost 18, drawn 10. They finished seven points off the final play-off spot in the end and that is prob ably the margin of points they have thrown away this season, if not one or two more
On Saturday the Imps played with an air of calm which helped them play some of their best football of recent games. Previously there was a desperation about the team trying almost too hard to win but as soon as the pressure was off the Imps began to play some good football-along the floor. Only when skipper Trevor Matthewson give the big boot clearance from the back did the style change. Playing his league debut Mark Cook living up to his 'Steve McMahon' nickname amongst the players, took over the Bob Cumming role in fine style. Leaping into and winning tackles while pushing forward, Cook is certainly a name to look out for alongside the vast potential of Teny James, John Schofield, Graham Bressington and lan Bowling. It was Cook's unintentional dummy which lead to the only goal of the game in the 11th minute. It was the first corner of the game which David Clarke swung into the box, the ball bobbled around, Cook tried a spectacular overhead kick which he com- pletely missed and the ball fell to Darren Davis who smashed it into the roof of the net. This was Davis's second goal in three games, his first away from home for the Imps. The central defender/left back has been pushing forward in recent games and has been able to add an extra dimension and show what a fierce shot he has. Shortly after his opener £45,000 striker Paul Smith was given a golden one-on-one opportunity to increase the Imps lead. But the goalkeeper came off best again and where previously Smith would have buried such chances his bottle has gone recently. Imps' manager Colin Murphy can only be thankful the change has come so late because he has scored some vital goals this season and no doubt is part of next season's plans. There was some attractive and exciting football being played and a perfectly worked corner from the home side ending with a powerful downward header from Chris Banks brought a superb reaction save from Bowling. The Lincoln back lines main problem was Chris Vinnicombe who was getting involved all over the park but Graham Bressington has a cool head on his shoulders and his withdrawal at balf-time was not the first 1 curious change around we have seen this season. Shane Nicholson came on and pushed up from his left back role sending a half volley from the edge of the box screaming over the bar. "I should have scored, it just bobbled before I hit it," he explained later. In his second game back from injury Gordon Hobson was looking more lively receiving the ball to his feet and constantly talking and encouraging, or should that be the captain's job. Both sides created chances as the game rame to a close. David Clarke sent a curling shot flying over the bar with the goal gapping and shaved the post with one of his free-kick specials. Clarke's contribution certainly deserves a mention, as one of the coder customers on the ball he was constantly creating chances up front from the left while Paul Casey did the same from deep right. All Lincoln's hardwork looked sure to be cancelled out when a real mix up in the Imps six yard box left substitute Carl Harris with a free shot on goal but Nicholson was there to block it. The final whistle came and with it a position in the top 10 of the fourth division. It was the consolidation so many wanted. Many outside the team, perhaps too many, were resigned to it from the start. The board and manager and team were not, and more of their drive is needed around the club if the campaign will draw honours next season. Exeter manager Terry Cooper certainly wasn't content with his side's performance and sent them all on a 10 lap run of the field after the final whistle. Mission completed, over and out the Imps have consolidated.
Walter, Banks, Dryden, Rogers, Taylor, McDermott, Rowbotham, Vinnicombe, Young (Harris 37),Neville, Hiley,
Sub not used: Smith
Bowring, Casey, Davis, Schofield, Bromesgrove, Micholson, Matthewson, Cook, Brown, Hobson, Smith Clarke
Sub not used Sertori.
Referee Groves Weston Super Mare