Story by Matthew Williams
Lincoln City won 2-0 at home to Oldham Athletic on Tuesday night, in what was a convincing victory.
Danny Cowley’s men went into the game looking to carry on the momentum in their title push, which had been buoyed by their 1-0 win at home to Yeovil on Friday night.
Oldham meanwhile had endured a somewhat stuttering start to life under Paul Scholes and were without a win in six.
There was an early scare for Lincoln as Jose Baxter unleashed a strike from 20 yards. Goalkeeper Matt Gilks fumbled the strike but was just able to grab the rebound before the onrushing Oldham attacker.
Gilks had to be at his best minutes later to keep out Mohammad Maouche’s deflected effort. The strike had been heading for the top corner before the experienced keeper parried it round the post.
The away side started the brighter and produced more good play after 10 minutes. Goalkeeper Dan Iverson found Oladopo Afolayan who fed Baxter for another attempt from the edge of the box. This time, his shot lacked the power to trouble Gilks.
Lincoln’s first meaningful attack of the match came after 17 minutes. Tom Pett seized on an Oldham mistake in midfield, exchanged passes with Matt Rhead and struck from just inside the box which Iversen dealt with comfortably.
Moments later, Lincoln should have taken the lead. Excellent play down the left by Harry Toffolo set Bruno Andrade up for a chance to cross. His low ball looked ideal for John Akinde, but the striker skied his effort.
Lincoln were beginning to take control of the game and they would take the lead on the half hour mark.
Neat interplay between Toffolo and Mark O’Hara gave the former an opportunity to finish from 15 yards out. The full back finished smartly past Iversen to give his side the lead and score his third of the season.
The game seemed to be drifting to half time with the home side well in control. However, there was one more flash point before the break. Baxter inexplicably lunges into a tackle on Neal Eardley and was given his marching orders.
There was time for Cian Bolger to head over before the referee brought the half to a close.
Lincoln deserved their lead at the break. Oldham had started the match well but were let down by Baxter who’s rash tackle was always going to risk a red card. It presented Lincoln with a real opportunity to press home their advantage in the second half.
They almost did just that soon after the break, Andrade jinking inside and striking ferociously against the crossbar.
It was a warning sign of things to come for Oldham. Cowley has introduced Danny Rowe for Rhead at half-time and the forward justified the decision after 58 minutes.
Attacking down the right, he fed Harry Anderson in the box. Anderson produced a first time back heel which Rowe met with a curling strike which clipped the bar on its way into the net. A fantastic goal and liquid football from the Imps!
The next ten minutes saw Lincoln close to a third goal with a flurry of chances. Firstly, a slip in the Oldham defence saw Akinde play Andrade in down the left. The winger had options but chose the shot which Iversen managed to turn behind.
Next, Anderson turned over an Andrade cross, before he himself again tested Iversen with a low freekick.
In truth, Iversen saved his team from a heavier defeat, producing an excellent save to keep sub Michael O’Connor out from close range.
That was the last notable action of the game as Lincoln saw out a comfortable victory. The win takes the Imps five points clear at the top of League Two.
Their task was made easier on the night by Oldham going down to ten men. In truth, the away side were unable to offer much by way of an attacking threat after that point.
The next match for Lincoln City is a derby at 3rd place Mansfield on Monday night.