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Lincoln City 2 Harriers 0


Date: 15-01-14gif Venue: Sincil Bankgif att: 2012gif away fans: 145
Harriers promotion plans in tatters with this defeat

gif Report by Worried Harrier
After a longish break of a fortnight due to the inclement weather conditions, Harriers fans proceeded north eastwards to visit the cathedral city of Lincoln and face the Imps in this Skrill premier clash.  Harriers were beginning to descend down the league table at an alarming rate, having just one win in their previous four league games since the new manager Andy Thorn took over.

Thorn was continuing to give highly unconvincing summaries before and after games essentially stating that the team were taking on board what he was saying and things were going in the right direction.  Trouble was, results and performances on the pitch were telling another story.

Given we were approaching the end to one of the wettest winters on record the Sincil Bank pitch was in remarkably good condition and Lincoln were upbeat following their last ditch win over Hyde the previous week.  For Harriers, somewhat surprisingly, Thorn persisted with Marvin Johnson (presumably hoping he could emulate the world class Joe Lolley) and Danny Lewis was forced to sit on the bench having sustained a viral infection giving Nathan Vaughan a starting chance.  Also Danny Jackman had picked up a knock and so Jamie Grimes was recalled from his loan spell at Worcester as back up on the bench.

The game began fairly evenly.  After eight minutes the two captains tussled following a foul on Alan Power by Kyle Storer, the latter ending up in the referee's notebook.  Lincoln's Shaun Newton then drove an effort just wide.  This was followed by a big blow for Harriers - Michael Gash chased the ball towards goal but pulled up with what looked like a hamstring injury.  He had to come off and was replaced by the lascivious Amari Morgan Smith.

On fourteen minutes there was a big chance for the hosts off a long throw - a good block by Chey Dunkley denied Ben Tomlinson and then Nathan Vaughan gathered.

A few minutes later Marvin Johnson hit a low drive on goal from just outside the area.  He had a number of such chances throughout the game but in truth they were all pretty lacklustre and easily saved by the Lincoln City on loan goalkeeper.

In the twentieth minute the Harriers went behind.  Callum Gittings, having a poor game by his standards, was caught in possession.  He was robbed by Delano Sam-Yorke who crossed into the box where Tomlinson slotted in at the back post.  One nil and no less than the home side deserved.

Then came Harriers closest chance of the first half.  A corner from Storer was headed goal-ward by Josh Gowling and the ball came off the crossbar before being cleared.  Straight afterwards on twenty eight minutes up the other end, a great block was effected by Storer to once again deny the rampant Sam-Yorke.

At half time the match had been reasonably even with Lincoln probably just edging it and deserving their lead.
  HT: 1 - 0
Lincoln were clearly the better team in the second half.  The Harriers posed little threat going forward whereas the Imps always looked dangerous in the penalty area despite Thorn having said that Harriers had now tightened up at the back.

On forty eight minutes Nick Townsend made another fine save to deny a header from Dunkley that was otherwise destined for the top corner of the net.  The chance came from a long throw from Mickey Demetriou who was probably Harriers' man of the match.

In the fifty fifth minute a nasty moment or two entailed.  The ball went out of play in front of the home dugout and, with his side leading one nil, the Lincoln assistant coach kicked the ball away to prevent Lee Vaughan from taking a quick throw in and was pushed over by Vaughan in return.  After a brief altercation and the intervention of the fourth official, Vaughan was booked and play resumed.  On fifty eight minutes Gittings was replaced by Freddie Ladapo, Thorn's Messiah who had come down from league football, though having previously been on loan at the dizzy heights of Nuneaton and failed.

A few challenges then began flying as the game became heated following the Lee Vaughan incident and Harriers made their final change as the Argentinean Santiago Aloi came on to replace Jack Byrne.  Unfortunately it was to no avail.

On the break, in the seventy fifth minute, Ben Tomlinson struck a well taken chance to make it two nil to the home side and curtains for Harriers.  That took what little fight there had been out of the Harriers and Lincoln then managed to see the game out for an easy victory.

For all the talk of contact books and stiffening the defence, since the appointment of Andy Thorn the Harriers' record has been nothing short of shocking.

We all knew Thorn's perception of success was way out of kilter with the rest of those in the carpet town when he punched the air in triumph having drawn with crisis stricken Hereford (who by the way lost 7-0 at Luton today) a few weeks previously.  Losing at home to a team in the bottom four (Dartford), a heavy defeat at Gateshead and relying on star man Joe Lolley to beat Salisbury in what was otherwise a poor performance all augur poorly for the future this season.

It is obvious that the uninspiring pre and post match interviews is emulated in the dressing room.  On the pitch the players are clearly trying but i) de-motivated and ii) unsure what is expected of them tactically.

There may be competition for places as Thorn puts it, but that is not the point.  No-one in the team is resting on their laurels as I see it, rather they are confused and bemused and they have lost the belief in their ability to win games and at this moment the boys from Aggborough are posing such little threat.  The players in my view have not got to 'step up to the plate' but the manager certainly has to otherwise, he needs to do the honourable thing, admit non-league is not his forté and move on.

Braintree next - they have games in hand and on current form will end the season way above us even though they are part time, with a playing budget that is fraction of ours, with the worst fixture congestion one could imagine and playing at the below standard Cressing Road ground.  These are indeed worrying times for the Harriers.
  FT: 2 - 0

 Goals for Lincoln: Tomlinson 19, 78

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gif Mickey Demetriou

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Lincoln City  goals   subs   cards      Harriers  goals   subs   cards 
Townsend     N Vaughan  
Miller     L Vaughan
Newton     Demetriou  
Jordan   Storer
Audel     Dunkley  
Sheridan   Gowling  
Brown     Byrne gif  
Power   Gittings gif  
Sam-Yorke     Gash gif  
Adams     O'Keefe
Tomlinson gif     Johnson  
SUBS:         SUBS:      
Preece     Lewis  
D Rowe     Aloi gif - 70  
Robinson     Morgan-Smith gif -   9  
Nolan     Ladapo gif - 58  
Gray     Grimes  

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