Lincoln United earned a point away at Belper Town today, despite being reduced to nine men by the end of the game. Report by Matthew Williams.
The Whites showed good character to get a point given the numerical disadvantage, especially given the fact they had to come from behind twice to draw 2-2.
The first half saw few chances as the play-off rivals wrestled for control of the game.
Belper eventually broke the deadlock on 21 minutes. Debutant Ross Duggan firing past Phillip McGann in the United goal.
Lincoln controlled patches of the first half but struggled to translate this into the final third, creating no real chances.
The second half was packed full of incident. The first action of note saw the game levelled at 1-1 by Tom Garrick.
However, the game swung back Belper’s way when referee Paul Stonier awarded the home side with a penalty. Craig Nelthorpe stepped up and converted it to give the away side a 2-1 lead with 25 minutes left on the clock.
The Whites were not disheartened by this and hit back on 76 minutes. Johnathan Williams put a dangerous free-kick into the box and centre-half Matt Wilson was on hand to tap in and level proceedings at 2-2.
The drama wasn’t over. A moment of controversy case as the minutes ticked towards 90. Kallum Smith received a red card for what was adjudged to be a dangerous high challenge. Lincoln were unhappy with decision. Manager Sam Wilkinson said: ‘’Kallum Smith did not deserve his red card. No one even appealed for the foul, it wasn’t a high foot. The referee got it totally wrong.’’
This left the Whites having to see out the game and retain their point with a man disadvantage.
The situation was worsened further when Kevin Hemagou also saw red for a second bookable offence in the dying moments of the game.
However, Lincoln managed to see the game out and come away from Belper with a hard-fought point.
After the game, Sam Wilkinson reflected on his side’s display. He said: ‘’There’s massive credit to the players for sticking together. It’s definitely a point gained. I’m not one to blame the officials and he didn’t cost us the game but he never gave us the chance to win it.’’
The result sees United remain above 6th places Belper in fifth. The next test for the Whites comes in the form of an away game with Cleethorpes Town on Boxing Day.