Lincoln United ran out 4-1 winners at Ashby Avenue in a game largely shaped by a first half red card for Loughborough Dynamo’s Charlie Young.
Goals from Kallum Smith, Danny North, Mark Gray and Noel Burdett secured the three points for the Whites, in what was their first win in four games.
Coming into the fixture on Non-League Day, Loughborough were the more fancied side, having defeated the Whites a week earlier 1-0 at home. Although, they were yet to win a game on the road this season.
Both teams sat in a mid-table position, with the Whites a place below the visitors in 12th having lost their last two Bet Victor Northern Premier League South East games.
Lincoln started the brighter of the two teams, forcing the first save of the match from Jason Alexander in the Loughborough goal low to his right in the 8th minute. In the 11th minute Danny North had his attempted lob blocked as he raced through, and the visitors were able to clear.
8 minutes later, the ball fell to Charlie Young, whose poor touch led to a two-footed lunge on Lincoln’s Kallum Smith. After calming both teams down, the referee sent off the Dynamo man for the challenge.
With the advantage of the extra man, Lincoln were able to press forward and commit numbers to their attacks. In the 25th minute they opened the scoring after Kallum Smith nipped in front of the keeper to tuck home a Jack Wighwick cross.
Following the opening goal, Lincoln were able to limit the oppositions chances although the pragmatic St Kitts and Nevis international, Ryan Robbins, caused plenty of trouble for the home side’s defence.
United almost scored again but a brilliant goal line clearance by Tyreece Robinson prevented Kallum Smith’s second of the game in the 27th minute.
The Whites were able to double their lead thanks to more good work by Kallum Smith. He closed down a clearance which fell to the Lincoln captain, Matthew Wilson, who squared the ball to Danny North to slot home with ease to the keepers left.
Despite a small spell of pressure from Loughborough where they couldn’t take advantage of two free kicks inside the Lincoln half, the Whites went into half time 2-0 up.
After the interval, Loughborough came out firing. They piled men forward to earn a corner which was volleyed home emphatically by Tyreece Robinson in the 46th minute after the initial cross had been headed out.
Their first goal was backed up by a tactical change that allowed Loughborough to dominate early in the second half. Ryan Robbins had been isolated throughout the first 45. However, with Alex Steadman pushed further forward in attack, Loughborough were able to retain the ball and build meaningful attacks.
The Dynamos threatened to equalize frequently. A header from Robbins narrowly missing the target at the back post in the 56th minute. The ongoing battle between Robbins and Mark Gray reached a climax, when the Lincoln man was shown a yellow card in the 61st minute.
United nearly restored their 2-goal lead when a long throw dropped to Danny North, who was unable to hit the target from close range in the 70th minute.
As the Dynamos pressed forward in search of a leveller, more space opened up for the Whites. In the 72nd minute a Kallum Smith shot was brilliantly tipped over the bar after a mazy run from the winger. From the resulting corner Mark Gray thundered a header past the helpless keeper to make it 3-1.
Loughborough centre back, Henry Eze, played the last 15 minutes of the match up front in an attempt to rescue the game. Lincoln were able to finish the game off after a swift counter attack. A wonderful bending effort from substitute Noel Burdett found the side netting deep into stoppage time.
With both sets of players tiring, the referee called time on a wonderful Lincoln United performance that sees them leapfrog their opponents into 11th place, albeit having played 3 more games.
After the game Lincoln United manager Steve Housham said it was a “massive three points” for the club.
Singling out Kallum Smith’s performance, the boss said: “Kallum’s a great lad, he trains hard and him and Jack Wighwick worked well today.
“I said to them ‘our wingers will be the matchwinners’ and it proved that way.”