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Conceding right at the end on Saturday was very deflating but I'm still feeling up about our promotion prospects and I'm expecting us to get another win tonight and go back to the top. I suppose the players with Covid will still be isolating but maybe I'm wrong about that and it was looking as if Evans' injury was nowhere as bad as it first appeared so I'm not expecting big changes from Saturday's starting line-up. When was the last time we scored eleven goals in three consecutive league games? We're an exciting team to watch these days and generally have been tight at the back so teams won't look forward to playing us anywhere, especially at the SoL. Lincoln were looking like promotion challengers at the beginning of the season but they're currently sixth off bottom and have won just once in their last five league outings, since late October in fact. Chris Maguire was playing when they won on Saturday and I presume he'll be playing today so I wonder what kind of reception he'll get from our fans. I'll be watching the match on the internet and my match prediction is a 3-1 for us.

When I got the team-news around half an hour before kick-off, the only change I could see was Diamond on for Evans. Our bench was looking very inexperienced. Maguire was starting for Lincoln. I got the match online and the pitch was looking pretty rough. Flanagan conceded the first corner of the game in the sixth minute and when Maguire went across to take it, he received a lot of applause from fans in that part of the ground. The corner came to nothing anyway. Lincoln weren't giving us much space in their half at all and were playing very deep. Maguire received a yellow card for a bad foul on Winchester in the tenth minute and it might well have been a red. Fortunately Winchester was able to continue but I doubted if Maguire would get much more applause from our fans. Pritchard made a heavy tackle on him a short while after that and Maguire didn't look very pleased. We won a free-kick in a good spot in the eighteenth minute but whatever Pritchard was trying to do, it didn't work and the chance was wasted. We certainly weren't playing with our recent fluidity and Lincoln were frustrating us and keeping us at bay. We won our first corner in the twenty-fifth minute and it was immediately followed by our second but we couldn't capitalise on it. By the thirty-minute mark Lincoln had barely troubled Patterson and it was looking like a war of attrition would be necessary.

A minute or two afterwards Lincoln took the lead following a quickly taken free-kick by Maguire near the left angle of our box with our defenders not keeping their eyes on the ball. When the ball came out again, Maguire was there to slam in a powerful low shot that went in by the left post. He said something to LJ as he raced back to the halfway line and it didn't look too friendly. While Bishop was being seen to for a nosebleed LJ got the team together for a pow-pow and he needed to say something to boost their performance. When Maguire took another corner in the same spot as before, he received boos not applause. Winchester was booked for a foul on Maguire, who seemed to be in the thick of everything. It remained 0-1 at the break and we hadn't had a real effort on target. We'd have to do a lot better in the second period to break down that packed Lincoln defending but I still thought we could do it.

We'd made no changes as we started the second-half but our sloppy, disjointed play was just the same as it had often been in the first. As soon as I'd typed that we put together our best move of the game with Gooch jinking through the right of their box before delivering a cross to Stewart whose header went out for a corner. Things went from bad to much worse in the fifty-sixth minute when Flanagan missed a crucial tackle and then Winchester brought down Maguire in the box. Winchester got a red card and Maguire scored from the spot to put them 2-0 up. We were on the back-foot and I couldn't see us getting two goals with ten men but never say die. We made a double switch in the sixty-fifth minute replacing a tired-looking Cirkin with Denver Hume and Diamond with O'Brien. O’Brien had an almost immediate effect as when his pass into the box was met by Pritchard, he was brought down and a penalty awarded. Stewart’s kick was weak and Griffiths got a hand to it but couldn’t prevent Stewart following the ball into the net. This was a great shot in the arm for both our fans and players and we had an effort cleared off the line. It didn’t last long, though, and in the seventy-fifth minute we were caught cold at the back again and Maguire raced through to get his hat-trick. A lot of fans started to leave the ground. Hawkes came on for Pritchard with ten minutes to go. Fiorini was booked for a very dramatic dive in our box, which at least provided a touch of light relief. There were six minutes of stoppage-time and in the final minute there were serious handbags after a Doyle foul that spilled over into our technical area and resulted in a couple more yellows and a red for LJ. It ended 1-3.

A home defeat with a very below par performance and two red cards. Not a night to remember but we really need to turn this round before Saturday’s game.