Imps & Scunthorpe Derby Rivalry Returns

Scunthorpe United beat Grimsby Town  in the  Lincolnshire Cup 3-0 to set up a final at Sincil Bank that will bring back some memories for The Imps and Iron fans who have seen their sides go in different directions largely due to ambition and investment.  Let us hope both rivals put out full sides for this Lincolnshire Cup Final has plenty to inspire a very big crowd indeed.  The latest money man, Peter Swann,  who allegedly turned down Lincoln, will get his chance to sit in the directors box after all, adding spice to a long-awaited derby against the Iron, that has always had plenty of passion, goals and that extraordinary edge.

thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs.

Lincoln City F.C. badge.pngVScunthorpe United FC logo.svg

It will be North Lincolnshire princes against Mid Lincolnshire paupers on paper, but the pitch and partisan nature is always the great leveller. It was not always this way, particularly during the KA era. when sons and daughters of Lincolnshire packed Sincil Bank and Glanford Park for an all Lincolnshire play-off affair a decade ago. No there was no North / mid Lincs rich and poor divide then, just passion running high on and off the pitch.

*****

The Iron were unbeaten in their last 6 games, had won the last two and conceded only one goal in their last four games to finish fifth in the table. Lincoln had finished sixth after a 1-1 draw, thanks to a last gasp equaliser from super-sub Simon Yeo.  As the lower placed side we would play at home first, with the Iron hosting the second leg.

But to the games footy fans to the games…………………………….

A packed house of 8902, allowing for segregation and the 2000 visitors, saw a pulsating all-Lincolnshire affair.  Inspired by a pre-match flyby and the theme from the Dambusters, The Imps kicked off with Marriott and Evans called into action at either end. Roared on by an edge of seats Sincil Bank, Lincoln seized the initiative and deservedly went ahead with a quarter of an hour on the clock.  Cult hero Bimmo flew down the flank and centred his bomb, Weaver headed home and the Red sections of the Bank were the ones bouncing, exploding with joy . Three minutes later young Richard Butcher unlocked the off-side trap with a ball to Mayo who chipped Evans to double the lead. Whilst the visitors contested the decision, the Bench, the Directors box and Sincil Bank basked in a Bacchanalian fashion undreamed of at the beginning of a bankrupt season bereft of all but staying alive.

The challenges at the coliseum added to the cacophony, Caruthers got a yellow card thumbs down for a late one on Mayo. But then fortune favours the impassioned and brave as The Iron were back in with a shout in a titanic bout.  Busy Beagrie’s corner was forced home by Calvo-Garcia to sent the visitors hordes mental, their belief restored.  Butcher’s headed goal was disallowed from Bimson’s almost clock-work wind up heroic throw. In truth it could have been for any one of a number of infringements, although the ref had a word with Futcher and Caruthers, both of which were taking no prisoners.  Two honest pros no quarter asked or given as Futcher got booked shortly afterwards and Caruthers hit the bar with a 25-yard volley, the venom adding to its velocity .

Both managers kept the faith for the second half. Marriott held Calvo-Garcia’s shot on the turn. Cropper sent a sensational overhead kick just wide of the Stacey West, a massed molten red and white choir chanting incessantly to counter the Iron brew crew equally on song and on view. Ten minutes in Mayo controlled superbly and freed Cropper who turned his man went for the channel. crossed and found Smith who side footed home the third.

Despite the Imps having a Mayo headed ruled out the Iron yanked the very nails from their coffin thanks to a double substitution from the canny Brian Laws. On 65 minutes Paul Dalglish and Steve Torpey replaced Caruthers and Sparrow respectively. Three minutes later busy bee Beagrie’s contested corner dropped to Calvo-Garcia who hammered home to guffaws and roars. Then two minutes later an equaliser to send the visiting hordes hopes an octave higher than their pretty impressive decibel level. Hayes held up superbly, slipped into the path of Stanton, who rifled a right-footer beyond Marriott’s reach from 20 yards.

What to do thought Impdom, but Keith, he had a cunning plan, a marksmen who had seen active service in  green and had been waiting for this opportunity to do this all his life, on a football field in red and white.  Oh Ye, oh Ye, the introduction of pivotal postman turned poacher Simon Yeo revitalised Team Lincoln on and off the pitch. Calvo-Garcia headed over a deep corner from Dawson at one end Bimmo’s beautiful ball found Yeo who volleyed home with aplomb, almost lifting the goal as it bulged the roof of the net.

But the super-sub was not finished yet with another 8 minutes of this Sincil ‘stormer’ still set for a grandstand finish. First he was booked for explaining the facts of football to the ref, then curled an effort inches wide. Then just as against Torquay, young Butcher and Yeo combined. Bimmo found ‘Butch’ who had covered some yards in his box-to-box role. He skilfully kept the ball in with one foot and then flicked to Yeo with the other. Simple Simon kept it short and sweet slamming home an instinctive rising volley for a vital two goal advantage and a 5-3 aggregate advantage. Cue pandemonium  and unbridled joy at the Bank, that would see many queuing breakfast in hand for a prized ticket to the away episode of the Lincolnshire must see soap.

The return……………………..

The 2200 tickets were quickly snapped up for the second leg on the Wednesday, with 8,295 eager for the Glanford game that would set Irons against Imps once again.  The noise of the travelling fans behind Marriott was incredible, heckles rose, lifting the visitors from warm-up to kick-off and the forcing of the early pace with a succession of corners. But Scunthorpe, quick to break and energetic looked oh so dangerous as the slippery conditions, played their part. Persistent rain made things interesting and difficult for both sides.  It was a battle that would see the elements and the biblical beast taming beauty, with the artisan eager to please and seize any opportunity. Sparrow had an early effort and Evans saved a Butcher drive.  Kilford comically crocked himself as he tried to clobber Gain in the rain. Mayo was inches wide before Butch robbed Calvo-Garcia but was denied by the outstretched leg of Jackson just as he was about to pull the trigger. A glorious half-volley from Butcher was ruled out for offside before Sparrow thankfully fluffed his lines and Marriott dived at Hayes’ feet.

Bimson was denied a penalty in the second half , his cross adjudged ball to hand. The battle continued with Cropper and others requiring treatment in a affair that was certainly not for the faint hearted, in a stadium that lends itself magnificently to the bear-pit scenes from Yore, complete with blood, guts and gore.  Dawson sent a 25-yard exocet wide, but on the whole Keith’s big back five looked solid, particularly those crunching corners, with Futcher and Weaver stand-out heroes . It was a a true team effort, to be tested to the limits as Laws told his lads to throw the 24 carrot iron bath and caution to the wind.

With 20 minutes to go Keith then sent on – you’ve guessed – Yeo who, in truth had been baiting the bears, warming things up for some time on the touchline. Futcher, blood streaming down his face required treatment after a challenge from Torpey that made him even more the Imp public enemy number one. Not for long as jeers turned to cheers. With just two minutes on the clock the Imps countered, Peter Gain knocked an enticing ball for Yeo to scamper forward and side foot beyond Evans. The Imp hordes did a Dambusters flight that brought tears to the eye and hopes to our hearts that we would indeed get the chance to end a season of rebirth in glory at the millennium.

As for the Iron fans, they would not have too long to wait before they began their memorable journey to the Championship, leaving the long running Lincolnshire derby behind.

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Posted on July 21, 2013, in Archive Match reports, Ex Imps, Uncategorized, Writers - Neil Gentleman-Hobbs and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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