Lincoln hold Plymouth to goalless draw

Photo: LSJ News
Lincoln face a mammoth 300 mile trip to Plymouth’s Home Park for an FA Cup 1st round replay after a goalless draw at Sincil Bank.

The Imps produced a dogged defensively display to frustrate their League Two opponents in front of their biggest home crowd of the season which pleased Lincoln Manager Gary Simpson.

“We’ve played really well, it’s just a shame we couldn’t put away the good chances we had,” said Simpson.

Any gulf in class between the two sides separated by 20 places in the non-league ladder wasn’t apparent in a high tempo opening at Sincil Bank. The Imps hussled and harried their Devonshire opponents throughout the first half, restricting the Pilgrims to speculative attempts from distance.

Conor Hourihane registered the visitors first shot after six minutes with a curling 30 yard drive, which was comfortably blocked by the Lincoln rear-guard. Thirteen minutes later a volley from Benin international Romuald Boco was scuffed well wide of the Lincoln goal and was soon followed by another speculative volley again from Irish midfielder Conor Hourihane which sailed harmlessly wide.

The Pilgrims were frustrated and forced to wait until the 31st minute for their first shot on target. A cross from Durrell Berry was deflected kindly into the path on loan striker Reuben Reid to volley straight at goalkeeper Farman from the edge of the area.

Lincoln increasingly grew into the game as the half progressed, and countered quickly in the 37th minute, thanks to an impressive turn of pace from Nick Wright. The 25 year old striker surged deep into the Plymouth half but fired straight into the arms of goalkeeper Jake Cole from 25 yards.

However it was Lincoln left back Sean Newton who was the stand out player for the home side and he sparked to a flurry of chances giving Lincoln the momentum going into half time. After 38 minutes Newton showed silky skills to escape the attention of two backtracking midfielders before unleashing a venomous left shot which swerved narrowly wide.

Just moments later Newton tested the keeper in unorthodox fashion with a viscously inswinging corner forcing keeper Jake Cole to rapidly back-peddle to palm the ball away.

As the rain lashed down at the beginning of the second half the game threatened to turn into an equally damp squib with chances at a premium.

However ten minutes into the half a badly misplaced pass in the Plymouth midfield gifted Nick Wright the ball allowing him to again surge deep into the away sides territory, but he blasted his shot wastefully over from the edge of the box.

Soon after, Lincoln produced their best chance of the game. Nick Wright met another lethal Newton cross with a powerful header from close range forcing a great reaction stop down low by Plymouth keeper Jake Cole.

Unfortunately for Lincoln, their chances dried up after that as the Pilgrims dictated possession and stretched a weary Lincoln during the last half hour.

Just after the hour mark Luke Young fired a venomous low shot straight at Paul Farman in the Lincoln goal, who then thwarted another 20 yard low drive from Lewis Alessandra in similar fashion just four minutes later.

Despite Plymouth’s possession and they failed to produce a quality final pass until a delightful through ball carved through the Lincoln defence like a hot knife through butter in the 81st minute. The pass sent the prominent Luke Young through one on one with goalkeeper Paul Farman but his shot went trickling wide.

Plymouth huffed and puffed for a winner but Lincoln stood firm for a clean sheet maintaining their impressive record of only conceded three goals at home all season.