Craig Priest & Emily Sykes write...
Saturday’s win at Luton adds to our good run of form in recent matches, tomorrow night at Sincil Bank Stags will be expected to do the same again and add more woe to the Imps season. Tie’s against Lincoln are always feisty and will again require a fight from the Stags players – let’s hope the good form continues and doesn’t come to an ironic end at the place where it began.
Back in December rolls were pretty much reversed as Stags headed into the FA Cup second round tie on a poor run of form having been beaten by Matlock in the FA Trophy during the week as Stags put in a pathetic display. Lincoln on the other hand were in good form with four wins in their previous six league matches, nobody expected Mansfield to progress however the game which played out in front of us turned out to be a classic.
Matt Rhead’s dramatic late header saw the teams require a replay following an end to end game in which Stags had led and then subsequently thrown away. Since then lady luck seems to have switched sides as Lincoln lost their form and Stags suddenly found theirs. Since the also epic replay between the sides on December 11th the Imps have fallen from grace with just one win, four draws and six defeats from the following 11 games – Stags on the other hand have eight wins and four defeats from the 12 fixtures which have followed the infamous replay.
To put it another way the Imps have fallen from a play-off chasing 10th to a relegation threatening 19th, whilst Stags have climbed from an un-threatening 8th to a eyes on the title 6th – Lincoln’s poor form also led to dwindling attendances and the sacking of David Holdsworth, which means tomorrow night Stags for the second game running face a side in caretaker charge.
Imps caretaker Grant Brown is no stranger to the situation he’s currently in, having had two previous spells as caretaker boss, therefore will know how to handle the situation and will have the players prepared accordingly.
That said we recently watched the highlights of Lincoln’s game with Barrow at the weekend, the players looked uninterested and undetermined to fight, in truth had Barrow had a half decent striker on the pitch Lincoln may well have been on the end of a heavy defeat.
Naturally this doesn’t mean Stags will hammer Lincoln, we’re sure a few of the Imps squad will have watched our game with Liverpool itching for revenge, we must ensure they don’t get it tomorrow night and adapt to any changes Paul Cox may have to make as the win at Luton certainly took a lot of energy and saw a few individuals pick up a few knocks – the squad strength is key now.
LAST TIME WE MET
As eluded to heavily above the last time these two sided locked horns was in the FA Cup second round in early December. The original game at Sincil Bank ended three a piece as Matt Rhead thundered home a late header to set up a replay.
Ten days later at the One Call Stadium the sides fought it out in front of the TV camera’s for the right to play Liverpool at home in the third round. Lincoln keeper Paul Farman technically opened the scoring as he converted John Dempster’s forceful header into his own net before former Stag Adam Smith levelled prior to the break. Good football in the second half saw Louis Briscoe curl home the eventual winner, much to the Stags delight.
The sides have also met in the league this term back at the One Call Stadium playing out a goalless draw. In total the sides have met 71 times, with Stag recording 27 wins to 25 the other 19 games ending level. At Sincil Bank Lincoln edge the win count with 11 to 10 whilst in terms of goals there have been 216, Stags scoring 110 to 106 in total however they trail 36 to 42 at Sincil Bank.
Former Lincoln full back Lee Beevers may have suffered a dislocated shoulder at Luton on Saturday however like against the Hatters it doesn’t look like it will phase him ahead of his return to his former employers tomorrow, having been declared fit. Paul Cox will also wait on news regarding Anthony Howell after a knee injury kept him out of Saturday’s match.
If you can’t make the trip to The 12th Imp Sincil Bank Stadium tomorrow night then be sure to join Craig for full match commentary via our MM-LIVE page and Takeover Radio 106.9FM from 7pm.
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