Well, Ross Stewart was worth waiting for, wasn’t he? I hope to see him and Charlie starting today’s game and Jones too, if he’s fit, as I think a combination of these three together with McGeady will be devastating. Lincoln looked very handy when we played them in the Papa John’s semi but they’ve really gone off since then, winning only one out of their last five matches. They also have serious injury problems so all in all things are looking good for a win this afternoon. Rogers is their danger-man but the way our makeshift back-line is keeping out the goals I’m confident they’ll continue to do a good job even if Lincoln nick one. Burge also has to take a lot of credit for all those clean sheets. I’ll be watching the match with my fellow-bubblers and am looking forward to it. This is the most enjoyable run I can remember for many years, probably since our promotion season of 2007. Match prediction: 2-1 to us.
I got to my bubble around 2.30 and saw that Stewart was on the bench and Jones was still out. Leadbitter and McFadzean were in for Diamond and Vokins. Ex-Sunderland Liam Bridcutt was starting for them and I’d thought he was among their injured. My bubblers predicted 3-0 and 2-0, to us of course. Portsmouth had beaten Ipswich 2-1 in the early game.
We got our first decent cross in right on the first minute but soon afterwards we left too much space and Lincoln managed a decent effort on target LJ was spoken to in the fourth minute after protesting that ref Carl Boyeson hadn’t given a foul on Winchester on the edge of their box. I’m glad he’s showing such passion. It was a niggly game and we wondered if we’d finish with the full twenty-two on. Lincoln won the first corner but it was cleared. Elsewhere Gillingham took a very early 2-0 lead against Donny. In the tenth minute a low long-distance shot from Leadbitter was turned round by Palmer in goal for our first corner. The quality of the stream was dodgy as the sunny section of the pitch kept looking like it’d been zapped by Daleks. Ref Boyeson made a couple of other decisions aganst us that got our players rattled and I could see trouble in store. McFadzean put a good shot on target but Palmer blocked well to give us our third corner and then Burge did even better to save a Edun shot after an O’Nien mistake. Donny had pulled back two goals against Gillingham. Just before the half-hour it looked like Jackson had wrestled Wykey to the ground in their box but Boyeson ignored our pleas. It was a very flowing game and both sides looked threatening. Wyke was yellow-carded for a foul. Seven minutes to the break Power found McGeady on the left with a great cross and after creating some space he fired in a shot but it went high and wide. Shortly afterwards we took the lead when Power had time on the right angle of their box to pick a player and his cross was met by the onrunning McFadzean who headed it into the net. We’re bloody good in the air these days. There were just two minutes of added time and it remained 1-0 at the break.
During the break I discovered that the ref was from Hull… Lincoln won a corner almost from the off but Wyke headed it clear. I kept waiting for a replay to confirm it but it looked like a fancy back-heel from McLaughlin went over their defenders and threatened their goal. There were several minutes delay when Montsma suffered facial injuries in a duel with Wyke but he was able to continue. On the hour we won a free-kick right near the right-angle of their box and McGeady’s on-target shot was palmed away by Palmer. Next thing Lincoln were level when Morton got the better of O’Nien and put a low shot past Burge. It felt a bit strange to concede but there was still half an hour left. We replaced Winchester with Scowen and elsewhere Hull had gone behind against Shrewsbury. Burge made a crucial save in the seventieth minute when it looked certain Lincoln would take the lead and I thought Wyke was going to get a second yellow for another foul but he escaped. I was pleased to see Stewart replace Leadbitter and again he had a header on target in his first bit of action. Lincoln were looking lively and in the bubble we were starting to come to terms with the possibility of a draw. Maguire came on for Gooch and immediately took a free-kick that was deflected wide. With an expected five minutes of stoppage-time there was still plenty of time for either side to nick it. Burge made a fantastic reflex save from Rogers and we breathed again. Five minutes of stoppage-time were announced, as expected, but results from elsewhere weren’t bad at all with Peterborough, Hull and Donny all drawing too. It ended 1-1.
This was probably a fair result as Lincoln had some great chances to take the lead. All our immediate rivals drew too so it hasn’t been too bad an afternoon.