Category Archives: The Case For The Defence
Paul Farman has been simply immense this season including 9 saves plus 3 claimed crosses up at his old Gateshead stomping ground on Monday. The former England C keeper is fast achieving cult hero status at the Imps, no mean feat considering the gloves he has to fill.
Ask, pretty much, any Imp, who their favourite City keeper has been over the last few years and they will say Mazza. Yes, there have been some contenders and pretenders to the throne, but his shot-stopping was almost as slick as his hair-style. However Farman must be in England C manager Paul Fairclough’s plans after some inspirational performances. Having scored for both Gateshead and Blythe Spartans, the only question is when he will pitch in at the other end.
His shot stopping so far has been nothing short of outstanding seeing him tied with Jamie Taylor on 7.4 in the profs STMI Lincoln City player ratings . The penalty and follow up save against Macc only saw him beaten by a third strike as his defenders inexcusably went to sleep. His two full-length saves in the opener against Kidderminster, plus a post, secured a vital three points for a gelling Imps side. Seven saves at Cambridge ensured we ran them close, as did another 6 at Newport County as we got a goal back having gone two goals down.
Well played Paul take a bow son!
Paul’s match ratings
Paul’s Full match stats
|Sq no||NAME||Starts||sub||Mins||Saves||Let in||Clean sheets||YC||RC||Mins per goal|
|CLUB||FROM||TO||FEE||BSP aps (goals)||FA CUP (goals)|
|Lincoln||23/5/12||Free||5 (0)||0 (0)|
|Lincoln||04/11/11||22/01/12||Loan||8 (0)||0 (0)|
|Gateshead||01/07/09||01/05/12||Free||63 (1)||2 (0)|
|Blyth Sptns||01/08/08||01/07/09||Free||16(1)||0 (0)|
Tonight at Cambridge we face 6′ 5″ Stockport County steal Tom Elliott, new wingers Robbie Wilmott (Luton Town) and Adriano Moke (York City) and a battle of attrition in the middle with Ricky Wellard (AFC Wimbledon) and Rossi Jarvis, with Keiran Murtagh (Macclesfield) unable to even get in the side. This is indeed a test for our new back-four dubbed Holdsworth’s underdogs of war.
Thanks for reading the oracle of Optimism.
Tuesday 14 th August K.O at 7.45 pm
|Cambridge Away end seating (terrace in brackets)||18 (15)||12 (10)||8 (5)||South Stand seats (1600) LCFC official site confirmed that terracing is available for this evening’s game £15 adults, £10 concessions and £5 for U16s. U5s are free.|
It certainly shows how times have changed, with up to 400 Imps set to travel, more in hope than expectation, to rivals we once looked down upon. Cambridge have spent big in their centenary year, something we failed to do when we were 125, but you feel another tight performance from our back four could give serious credence to a play-off push. The consensus at STMI optimistically suggests a 1-0 smash and grab, a 0-0 and a hiding that will bring us down to earth. Trainee journalist Rose Tinted already has ribbons in her hair, Bacardi Breezers on her breath and is going for 2-0 with a knighthood for Reg and Bob coming in the post.
Cambridge like Kidderminster have injuries, or did on Saturday despite only being pegged back by a last minute penalty at Forest Green. FGR brought in 4 strikers over the summer but they found United a tough nut to crack. Jez George fielded five of his new faces that day, but could also welcome back Michael Gash and Andy Pugh, and Adam Marriott was confined to his bed. Huge 6’5″ striker Tom Elliott (ankle knock) should be fit to lead the line, as could Berry who suffered mild concussion. Gash you feel would be the man to replace them with ex-Imp Smith.
Gray and Nutter were superb at right and left full-back respectively, whilst Boyce and Miller were consummate in the centre. But that was against a one plus the foragers, tonight they will face 4-3-3 or 4-4-2. Gray you feel will have the edge on Moke as he has the pace, positional sense and pedigree to play much higher. Nutter will need Smith to be at his best if he is to deal with Wilmott.
For Boyce this is both a test of his undoubted quality and temperament, ditto Miller to an extent, for both will undoubtedly collect cards this term. Whether 5-3-2 would work is anyone’s guess as Hutchison could be a fine and cultured sweeper. It we can hold out, with questions over Captain Mills, the lynch-pin holding midfielder, then a smash and grab could be on. But Mills, who was everywhere despite the pain on Saturday, will have a tough ask himself against a quality midfield.
Good luck Imps, every game is a cup final to win the lost fans back. The games are coming thick and fast and creditable draws or 4 points from these two would certainly restore the faith and get the turnstiles clicking.
2 Roberts 4 Coulson 14 Garner 3 Jennings
22 Wilmott 16 Jarvis 8 Wellard 21 Moke
9 Gash 10 Elliott
(White away kit debuts)
Gray Hutchison Boyce Nutter
Dayley Power Mills Smith
Birmingham City beauty Graham Hutchison and new Bank beast Andy Boyce are less than 48 hours away from seeing if Fortress Sincil can be a reality. The foe, Kidderminster Harriers may fly down the flanks but in the middle it certainly looks like we will be grinding strikers bones to bake Sincil Bank bread.
The Oracle of Optimism spouts
The Imps have been assembled on a shoestring with Birmingham City eager to help out ex-hero Holdsworth as he cobbled together a limping Imps side. That they are lending us back someone with such quality and composure when he is bought and paid for is a huge gesture… although if there are any more we would happily take them. It seemed to lift the City at just the right time as a flurry of talent seemed to follow. Yes, The Mighty Imps, rusted horns, blunted by boardroom faux pas at the Bank, were sore afraid as news of a £400k budget suggested little rhythm and plenty of blues. But Hutchison and Boyce do seem to have what it takes to snuff out most in a beauty and the beast combination that will give us heart and passion as we go into this game. Miller, Gray and Vidaine Oliver also have us counting down the clock with optimistic anticipation for a change. But alas no change in luck that is so overdue.
Although questions remain over Robson, it would be a shame to see Gray, a convert from the Spireite crooked church, taken from the middle given news today of injury intrigue and musical chairs. Paul will hopefully give his all and Nutter, stripped of the captaincy only yesterday, will hopefully have too much pride and professionalism to let the side down as he gets the captaincy back. He should as newly appointed club captain. Yes you could not make it up with new midfield boss Mills now unable to show his skills against Briggs, due to injury. Warrior Imp Miller will be in the mix as Power, thankfully, is also out. This is destiny Tom stake your claim, for you are the tough midfield boss we need in many eyes. It will certainly be a tough first ask in the form of Kidderminster, with Cambridge soon to follow on the Tuesday night but Miller and Gray can win the day.
Goals for you feel could still be our problem unless Duddy, Taylor and young Bradley can deliver but then again Vadaine Oliver deserves the chance to prance.
Good luck lads, fingers crossed ……. Sincil Salivates!
On a shoe string the Imps may be, yet busy bee David Holdsworth has raided Chesterfield, Gainsborough and the centre of excellence for some competitive customers to partner Josh Gowling. We have a familiar yet new face in Paul Farman between the sticks too. With 4 out are we cutting our cloth or could Gowling leave and another come in?
On paper we appear to have good cover for the various positions: –
Goalkeeper – Paul Farman, Nick Draper.
Right-back – Paul Robson, Peter Bore,
Left-back – John Nutter, Nicky Nicholau, Peter Bore.
Centre Half – Josh Gowling, Andy Boyce, Dan Gray , Elliot Green & Dan Coupland
David Holdsworth has certainly sought to blend experience, guile and youthful, yet talented, exhuberence at the heart of the Lincoln City defensive rebuild. In has come Gray , Boyce, central ex-youth duet Elliot Green & Dan Coupland and keeper Farman. Anyon, Hone, Watson and Williams have departed.
If Bore can get fully fit and back to his anywhere near his capability, he will full-fill options all across the back four as well as in a wing-back or traditional right-sided midfield role. Paul Robson is a capable right-back and deserved a new deal. With the right support and a variance to his crosses (too much near post) he will blossom into a great asset on the right.
John Nutter will make the left-back berth his own again this coming season, although Bore and Nicolau can deputise. Bore is an interesting proposition at left back, as he can cut in and fire home. If Holdsworth can get inside his head (he has certainly shown the lad some faith) we could be looking at Bore doing some serious truffling next season.
Few centre backs look good unless the midfield is doing their bit and in particular winning the second ball. That and the opposition haring down the middle with the ball at their feet is a hard ask for a tall Oak ripe for the taking. Boyce, has the pace to go with a tenacity that is inspiring, albeit X-rated at times. Gowling and Gray are also up for the fray but will show him how to do things in a subtler way. Gowling needed help last season more than anything else in a tough season. With his shirt at £72 and rising on ebay, many others recognised a brave and telling contribution at times.
We do not want to put too much pressure on the two youngsters, but let us hope they do get plenty of game time. They are Imps born and bred, but Elliot Green & Dan Coupland both already have a polish to their game.
Joe Anyon, was the hero yesterday, making some fabulous saves to keep the Imps in the game, as Hayes and Yeading United threatened to run riot in the opening minutes of the second half last nights BSP basement battle.
Hayes, far smaller than the Imps man-for-man, not surprisingly elected to play the ball on the ground for much of the game. The game plan came to fruition from the opening whistle in the second half. They outwhitted our midfield and defence time and again with Anyon coming to our rescue magnificently.
Joe denied O’Brien in a one on one, making himself big to save with his fee. Seconds later, with us all at see from some sublime one-touch stuff he made a double save from O’Brien and then Wishart, a thorn in our side throughout. Wishart then saw an effor bounce awkwardly but well above average Joe was having the game of his life.
Miller certainly adds some spine to a defence that also saw Gowling put in a positive shift, but it was Joe that would keep us in the game until lady luck intervened courtesy of the opposing keeper. Arnold failed to clear, by playing intead to Louis who stroked coolly home. Anyon was denied a clean sheet as we failed to pick up Pele – as if – who headed an equaliser before Arnold again gifted us the lead. As the keeper flapped at a cross, Miller headed masterfully inside the right-hand post for 2-1 with all three goals coming between the 68th and the 72nd minute.
Stung by the injustice of it all Hayes continued to pressure for an equalier. Miller and Joe continued to defy them. Anyon was alert to another passing move that outfoxed our back four with five minutes on the clock. He needed Miller’s help a minute later as he headed Mingoia’s cross into touch, with roasted Robson realing. At the death Anyon punched clear and then seconds later claimed from beneath his crossbar with Hayes conceding that it was to be the Imps number ones night as opposed to their own.
Well played Joe – Safe The Mighty Imps ran the headline that you are not a one man team last week. You were pretty close last night.
|Sq No||Name||Games||Sub||Saves||Goals let in||Concedes every||Clean sheets||Mins on Pitch||YC||Assists|
|1||Joe Anyon||30||0||103||45||60 mins||4||2700||0||2|
BSP only excludes red card V Alfreton in Cup
Many will rightly suggest that York City will provide a far sterner test on Tuesday night than Ebbsfleet and undoubtedly so given there are ten places between the two sides. Yet we can only deal with or beat who we meet and their attacking quartet on Saturday are certainly no mugs. West, Shakes, Pinny and 10-goal Willock posed problems in the form of height, pace and plenty of physical presence, something that has seen Imps become Wimps for far too long. For once we stould up to the challenge admirably with Farman again aflame between the sticks when called upon.
On paper we have a great defence with fullbacks Nutter and Sinclair more than capable at this and League 2 level. What caused the headless chicken syndrome, lack of midfield cover apart, was the central defensive partnerships (using the term loosely0 that were anything but. For all their higher league breeding Nelson and Watts cannot form the sort of partnerships we need at this level. Hind and Gowling as a pair do things as a couple and then extend that to their full backs who are also a key partnership. Only then can we deal with two on one on the full-back with someone to cover if the cross comes in.
Hinds and Gowling both had great games yesterday and Nutter even pitch in with a goal, smartly taken free kick. Let us hope the best is yet to come with emerging understanding and fitness levels clearly growing contributory factors in the weeks and months ahead. The opening signs against Wrexham and Ebbsfleet look positive and if we keep this quintet together you can see the clean sheet bonus money box being raided a few more times before the season is out.
Well played lads, take a bow all four of you – onwards and upwards… to York and Scott Kerr who has been eyeing this one for weeks.