Category Archives: Writers – Vic Erzantarz
Unfashionable AFC Fylde, Barrow FC, Stockport, Chorley, Colwyn Bay and Ex-Imp Yussuf’s Oxford City are contesting a fantastic Conference North battle Royale. If you find yourself free on a Saturday the Conference North is the place to be. Hats off Conference North fans we applaud you and sincerely hope our Football Bingo and Football Buster games are helping out!
Thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
Welcome to the Conference North Preview including the fixtures last six fixtures and current form plus the table. It really is a fabulous League this year with AFC Fylde, Barrow FC and Stockport the top 3 over the last six, but don’t exclude Chorley and Frank Sinclair’s Colwyn Bay. Ex-Imp Yussuf back from injury is firing Oxford City where the goals flow at either end it seems. For now they are going in the right direction.
|Today’s games 20/9/14|
|3pm||AFC Fylde||v||Worcester City|
|3pm||Boston United||v||Gloucester City|
|3pm||Bradford Park Avenue||v||Brackley Town|
|3pm||Gainsborough Trinity||v||Stalybridge Celtic|
|3pm||North Ferriby United||v||Barrow|
|3pm||Solihull Moors||v||Stockport County|
The Last 6 fixtures & current form position
|1||AFC Fylde||Drew 0-0||Won 5-0||Won 3-1||Won 8-1||Won 2-1||Won 2-0|
|v GUIS..||v COLW..||v HEDN..||v OXFO..||v BRAD..||v GLOU..|
|2||Barrow||Won 3-1||Drew 2-2||Won 4-0||Won 4-3||Won 1-0||Won 2-1|
|v HYDE||v HARR..||v CHOR..||v SOLI..||v WORC..||v LEAM..|
|3||Stockport County||Won 3-1||Lost 3-2||Won 3-0||Drew 1-1||Won 3-2||Won 2-0|
|v BRAD..||v STAL..||v LOWE..||v HEDN..||v BOST..||v WORC..|
|4||Chorley||Won 2-0||Lost 4-0||Won 2-1||Won 3-0||Won 1-0||Lost 2-0|
|v STAL..||v BARR..||v BRAC..||v TAMW..||v NORT..||v WORC..|
|5||Colwyn Bay||Won 4-2||Lost 5-0||Won 3-0||Won 4-1||Drew 1-1||Drew 0-0|
|v HYDE||v AFC..||v LEAM..||v GAIN..||v GUIS..||v NORT..|
|6||Oxford City||Drew 2-2||Lost 1-0||Lost 8-1||Won 7-2||Won 2-0||Won 5-0|
|v GLOU..||v HARR..||v AFC..||v BOST..||v GAIN..||v BRAD..|
|7||Leamington||Won 2-1||Drew 1-1||Lost 3-0||Won 1-0||Won 4-0||Lost 2-1|
|v BRAC..||v LOWE..||v COLW..||v STAL..||v GLOU..||v BARR..|
|8||Worcester City||Drew 0-0||Won 2-1||Lost 1-0||Won 2-1||Won 2-0||Lost 2-0|
|v BRAC..||v NORT..||v BARR..||v LOWE..||v CHOR..||v STOC..|
|9||Solihull Moors||Won 3-0||Lost 3-2||Lost 2-1||Lost 4-3||Won 3-1||Won 4-0|
|v STAL..||v OXFO..||v HEDN..||v BARR..||v NORT..||v HARR..|
|10||Hednesford Town||Drew 0-0||Won 2-1||Lost 3-1||Drew 1-1||Won 1-0||Drew 1-1|
|v GLOU..||v SOLI..||v AFC..||v STOC..||v HYDE||v GUIS..|
|11||Gainsborough Trinity||Drew 0-0||Won 3-1||Won 1-0||Lost 4-1||Drew 1-1||Lost 2-0|
|v LOWE..||v GUIS..||v BRAD..||v COLW..||v TAMW..||v OXFO..|
|12||Harrogate Town||Drew 2-2||Lost 1-0||Won 1-0||Drew 0-0||Won 1-0||Lost 4-0|
|v BARR..||v NORT..||v OXFO..||v LOWE..||v STAL..||v SOLI..|
|13||Stalybridge Celtic||Lost 2-0||Won 3-2||Drew 1-1||Lost 1-0||Lost 1-0||Won 3-1|
|v CHOR..||v STOC..||v BOST..||v LEAM..||v HARR..||v TAMW..|
|14||North Ferriby United||Won 1-0||Won 1-0||Lost 2-1||Lost 3-1||Lost 1-0||Drew 0-0|
|v BOST..||v HARR..||v WORC..||v SOLI..||v CHOR..||v COLW..|
|15||Brackley Town||Won 3-2||Lost 2-1||Drew 0-0||Lost 2-1||Lost 3-0||Won 1-0|
|v GAIN..||v LEAM..||v WORC..||v CHOR..||v GUIS..||v HYDE|
|16||Guiseley||Drew 0-0||Lost 3-1||Lost 4-1||Won 3-0||Drew 1-1||Drew 1-1|
|v AFC..||v GAIN..||v GLOU..||v BRAC..||v COLW..||v HEDN..|
|17||Gloucester City||Drew 0-0||Drew 2-2||Won 4-1||Drew 1-1||Lost 4-0||Lost 2-0|
|v HEDN..||v OXFO..||v GUIS..||v HYDE||v LEAM..||v AFC..|
|18||Lowestoft Town||Drew 0-0||Drew 1-1||Lost 3-0||Drew 0-0||Lost 2-1||Won 3-2|
|v GAIN..||v LEAM..||v STOC..||v HARR..||v WORC..||v BRAD..|
|19||Boston United||Lost 1-0||Drew 1-1||Drew 1-1||Won 3-1||Lost 7-2||Lost 3-2|
|v NORT..||v TAMW..||v STAL..||v BRAD..||v OXFO..||v STOC..|
|20||Tamworth||Drew 1-1||Drew 1-1||Drew 2-2||Lost 3-0||Drew 1-1||Lost 3-1|
|v WORC..||v BOST..||v HYDE||v CHOR..||v GAIN..||v STAL..|
|21||Bradford Park Avenue||Won 3-2||Lost 1-0||Lost 3-1||Lost 2-1||Lost 3-2||Lost 5-0|
|v HYDE||v GAIN..||v BOST..||v AFC..||v LOWE..||v OXFO..|
|22||Hyde||Lost 4-2||Lost 3-2||Drew 2-2||Drew 1-1||Lost 1-0||Lost 1-0|
|v COLW..||v BRAD..||v TAMW..||v GLOU..||v HEDN..||v BRAC..|
20% Goes to boost the budget of your chosen team
|4||FC Halifax Town||10||6||2||2||17||9||+8||20|
|12||Forest Green Rovers||10||4||4||2||12||8||+4||16|
|24||AFC Telford United||10||0||3||7||13||25||-12||3|
Pound for pound Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal has an easier job filling Alex Ferguson’s boots than anyone taking on the Nuneaton Town Gig after Wrexham FC got Kevin Wilkin . We all have to start somewhere and Wrexham Boss Kevin certainly did and finished plenty during a fantastic journey. No nine-figure war chest in the People’s Premiership, then again The Wilkin’ s, Neil Aspin’s (FC Halifax – same record as Wikin but in successive seasons – watch for a Port Vale move if the poor run for The Valiants continues) and Gary Simpson’s (Lincoln) of this world don’t need it.
With ‘Golam’ gone having failed to keep the precious Red Devils in the Champions League. Louis transformed all before our very eyes on Sunday with some tactics, coaching and a million in change out of £150 more for the summer shopping trolley. Did he even take it back for the quid or leave it in the car park? Back in the real world Kevin Wilkin, alas, from a Nuneaton point of view, is now at Wrexham FC and beginning to work the magic there. A win against top of the table Barnet could see the Dragons hit the play-offs in the People’s Premiership, sponsored by Vanarama. The man who can, presumably got in his van and signed eight (Click for details & look for the shirts) for peanuts and a promise of glory. The Dragon’s squad is worth about £350,000 on paper, although it is certainly appreciating on the pitch.
So it is no surprise that Nuneaton have struggled to replace him. Following liquidation in 07/08 Town sprinted back up the pyramid under his guidance coming second in the Southern League Division One Midlands. The following season saw a second successive promotion,- second again – from the Southern League Premier Division. Then in 2012, Nuneaton finished fifth place in the Conference North and won the play-off final. His record is outstanding and together with the experienced Gary Mills as his assistant Wrexham suddenly look like play-off contenders. Tough test tonight at the Buzzing Bees of Barnet. Mills is unlikely to return to the Midlands even though he has local connections with Tamworth, but Marcus Law might. He was at the Forest Green Rovers game on Tuesday night and will probably be even more interested in the job now that Brian Reid has fallen on his sword.
With regard to filling that Nuneaton void, I had to laugh at some of the other names on the bookies slate. Property developing Guru Robbie Fowler has been listed as 25/1, while Dean Saunders and Garry Flitcroft are both 12/1. Why even Goldilocks and the three bears might turn up is Gary Waddock and Ronnie Moore turn up for interviews, whispered locally and linked with the new Tamworth opening up the road. Current favourite and assistant boss Mark Noon is favourite for the job, but does not want the Lambs hot-seat full-time. Must be the mint sauce, apologies for that.
Understandable, though take a look at Wilkins record – could you fill that void.
|Nuneaton Town||1 June 2006||20 March 2014||348||151||110||87||43.4|
|Wrexham||20 March 2014||Present||17||7||4||6||41.2|
Barrow FC , AFC Fylde & Stockport County win, Boston United, Chorley FC, Guiseley and North Ferriby slip up whilst Oxford City striker and ex-Imp sick-note Adi Yussuf bagged his third goal in a week as the Jekyll and Hyde academic side stormed to fifth in the table. Hyde very much on the slide are bottom feeding again.
Thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
Their are currently two cocks crowing in the Conference North, as AFC Fylde and Barrow FC both returned to the summit. Chorley were chewed 2-0 at Worcester with D’s all round for the former leaders as Deeney and Dunkley supplied the hot-sauce. Goal machines Oxford City – who should be in the south and stay there – have now gatecrashed the final Northen play-off position to steal 5th, having inflicted a second defeat on a Lincolnshire club in a week. The City aim to stay there it seems after an incredible bounce-back. Eight days ago City let in 8, to AFC Fylde, before beating Boston 7-2 away and yesterday enjoyed a comfortable win over 2-0 win over Gainsborough Trinity amidst the leaves and lecterns. Yussuf haired in for a 12th minute opener before Rodriguez netted at the death. Barrow, did not play midweek and had to come from one down before Pilkingtom pounced with Jason settling from the spot on 68. A Hannigan brace fired Fylde to glory at Gloucester, bottom four for now.
The Green’s – not Queen’s – speech did not have the pick-me -up Duke Dennis of Boston expected at Northern Giants Stockport County in front of a massive crowd of 2585. That these incredibly loyal die-hard fans have suffered so much, both on and off the field, brings a tear to the eye. Hopefully Alan Lord can continue to turn things around amid the back stage shambles and get at least a play-off spot after the Bogie man guided the Hatters to second bottom before leaving this time last year but now three consecutive home wins and five goals in five from Kristian Dennis suggests their could be some light at the end of the tunnel. Ryan opened things for the Hatters on 21 heading home a Lofthouse corner. Pierginni headed home leveller on the verge of half-time. Dennis bagged a real poachers brace bundling home a Duxbury centre and then stabbing home a Churchman cross-come-shot. Pilgrims goal machine Southwell did get a consolation seven minutes from time. The Pilgrims drop to seventh now five points off the pace. Good job Guiseley drew at Hednesford 1-1 and money club North Ferriby endured a snore draw at Colwyn Bay
The Results Scorers & Crowds
|.||Pilkington 22 , Jason 68 pen||.||.||D Newton 18|
|225||Brackley Town||1||0||Hyde FC|
|.||Rowe 30 pen ,||.||.||.|
|286||Colwyn Bay||0||0||North Ferriby United|
|396||Gloucester City||0||2||AFC Fylde|
|.||.||.||.||T Hannigan 45 & 51 ,|
|362||Harrogate Town||0||4||Solihull Moors|
|.||.||.||.||Knights 13 , Byfield 23, Beswick 45 , Bogle 70 ,|
|.||Marvin Robinson 90 ,||.||.||A Boyes 74 ,|
|675||Lowestoft Town||3||2||Bradford Park Avenue|
|.||Henderson 14 , A Fisk 54 ,Henderson 59 ,||.||.||B Barraclough 51 , R Qualter 53 ,|
|218||Oxford City||2||0||Gainsborough Trinity|
|.||A Yussuf 12 , J Rodriguez 90 ,||.||.||.|
|.||McKenna 18 , J Cadman 26 ,Ennis 9 ,||.||.||S Clarke 1 ,|
|2585||Stockport County||3||2||Boston United|
|.||Ryan 21 , K Dennis 44 & 50 ,||.||.||Piergianni 40 , Southwell 83|
|.||Deeney 31 , Dunkley 86 ,||.||.||.|
Vanarama North Table
|6||North Ferriby United||9||4||2||3||10||8||+2||14|
|17||Bradford Park Avenue||9||3||1||5||15||19||-4||10|
Bristol Rovers could beat FC Halifax tomorrow and, with Barnet FC, Forest Green Rovers and Eastleigh also away from home a win for the Bees could put them top. With Torquay United at the Bank, a win for the mighty Imps could put us second.
Thanks for reading Vic Erzantarz
Then again it has been a tough adjustment for Rovers who will pose the first ex-League test for Halifax, our joint-tips to win the division with the most complete side in the division. We’d have them as a corner on our bingo card every week. So should Barnet, our other tips for top two. The Bees have a 100% away record scoring five at Chester and two at Nuneaton without reply. A 1-2 home defeat to Lincoln aside they have earned 4 clean sheets this season and won at home against ex-League Club Bristol Rovers 2-0 and thumped Dartford 4-0 on Monday.
FGR should beat second bottom Welling to move within a point, while away specialists Barnet come up against Southport, the top part-time side in the country for the last few years. Eastleigh, newly promoted but surprisingly fourth, will do well to get a point at Macclesfield gaining momentum in 9th.
The only one of the top five to play at home are the reborn Imps who host Torquay (14th) the draw specialists. However the Imps deserved better against FC Halifax, conceding a penalty and going down to ten men for the second game on the trot. With luck and the goal prowess of two in two Tomlinson the Imps could go second.
Money club Gateshead and Wrexham could do the game with thirteen goals in two games Grimsby just a point behind. They are frying in the Fisheries, such is the optimism up their they have even released goal machine Alan Connell.
|Saturday 30th August 2014|
|3pm||Aldershot Town||v||Grimsby Town|
|3pm||Alfreton Town||v||Braintree Town|
|3pm||Bristol Rovers||v||FC Halifax Town|
|3pm||Dartford||v||AFC Telford United|
|3pm||Dover Athletic||v||Kidderminster Harriers|
|3pm||Lincoln City||v||Torquay United|
|3pm||Welling United||v||Forest Green Rovers|
|1||FC Halifax Town||5||5||0||0||13||3||+10||15|
|3||Forest Green Rovers||5||3||2||0||7||3||+4||11|
|20||AFC Telford United||5||0||2||3||6||10||-4||2|
Mo Fofana has understandably suffered a lapse in form but the pressure is mounting on the lad to deliver with fans cries for him to start probably doing him more harm than good.
Vic Erzantarz chews the cud
Mo, a native French speaker, earned a one year extension after some bright performances in a hit and miss first season for both his good self and the Imps last term. He deserved a new deal, possibly more as a versatile defensive squad player, but, with so many other midfielders in the side the work horse was going to have to be at his best in order to get a regular starting place as a centre-half, right-back or defensive midfielder. Mo has therefore not been cast aside and recently got an opportunity against Gainsborough, however his confidence and display on the night showed that he is currently a shadow of what he can be when he is at the top of his game. At this level players cannot be expected to show the consistency of the pros plying their trade further up the pyramid. If they could Lincoln would be counting the luca and wishing them well for the future.
Ratings (last 10 games)
Fofana’s early season form was a credit to his desire and tenacious tackling but his right foot bias and inexperience puts him behind two-footed or left-footed players when it comes to playing to the left of Nolan. Foster was certainly far from his best on Saturday, but he was replacing Nolan with Todd Jordan to his left. Jordan is two-footed but he is much stronger on his left peg and has played well. In a crowded midfield moving the ball from your left to right foot allows your opponent to rob you as well as making it easier to beat you when going past with the ball at his feet.
It is a frustration for fans, but to rush Mo back into a slot that will further erode his confidence would be the wrong move at the moment. With the side struggling for consistency it will also add pressure to our 25 year old hero and maybe even further add to what has seen him suffer the lapse in form that the team are also trying to overcome. Todd Jordan meanwhile was a stand-out performer against Worcester laying on a brilliant ball for Tomlinson to head home to ease the tension and set-up the plum Plymouth tie. He has made the step up from the NPL and is going from strength to strength yet become a target for a small section of fans, despite some brave performances of his own and a hernia condition to boot.
|FULL NAME||Mamadou Fofana|
|DATE OF BIRTH||7 January 1988 (age 25)|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Sarcelles, France|
|HEIGHT||6 ft 1 in (1.81 m)|
|WEIGHT||12st 4lbs (78.2kg)|
|POSITION: CD / DM / CM|
|CURRENT CLUB||Lincoln City / 1 year deal|
Welling Utd’s leading scorer Ross Lafayette had looked set to miss out during the pre-match manager smokescreen, with a similar ankle issue to Danny Rowe but more positive news sees Nolan definitely return to clip the Wings on the one hand while pulling our midfield strings on the other.
Thanks for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs.
Saturday 2nd Nov 2013 KO 3PM
Welling look set to continue with a 4-1-4-1 cum 4-1-2-3 with Guthrie leading the line and pacey Loick Pires up with him along with Healy or surprise entry Ross Lafayette coming up on the rails. In central midfield Captain Lee Clarke will continue next to manager Jamie Day, still rolling back the years at 34. The Wings have pace, they have movement and can create or take chances from all over the pitch.
Lincoln meanwhile should continue with passing prince Nolan in for Jordan (hernia) with Dixon keeping his place while Nick Wright or Jake Sheridan look the two options for Connor Robinson who should be fit for a return against the shaky Pilgrims in next weeks crunch cup tie. Ben Tomlinson looks set to continue his goal streak, with the Imp marksman on 7 so far this season, many of which he attributes to Newton, the best left back in the division. Miller on the right is a contender too, having the time of his life down the flank this season.
Action Jackson will also want to get the goal his performances have deserved and Alan Power will be looking to get a long overdue goal. Nat Brown and Andrew Boyce will renew their season-long partnership that had a rare seven minutes rest in the cup.
With the FA Cup tie at Worcester City almost upon us, can manager Gary Simpson pull a rabbit or two out of the hat tomorrow in time to play on Saturday? Its not easy getting someone in who can also play in the FA Cup, especially in its early stages, but given the effort and miles the manager has put in he and the 100’s set to travel to Aggborough are due a break.
Vic Erzantarz has a gut feeling
Given the luck the manager has had with strikers he and the fans are due some luck in all fairness after two blow outs this week and thousands of miles travelled in search of the right talent at the right money. Your Uncle Vic’s gut feeling is that if you buy enough tickets sooner or later your number will come up and that miracles do happen if you work hard enough.
The Imps are due a break. Rowe is still weeks away with his ankle blowing up every time he tries to run. Wright and Yussuf are still struggling with hamstring problems and Fairhurst is under the weather. Much maligned Todd Jordan has been bravely struggling through the pain and could do with a rest or perhaps even an operation.
So I’m up off up the the Cathedral tonight to pray that his prayers are hopefully answered tomorrow . If they are we are up and running again, because we are patiently creating the chances yet the forwards and midfielders have been unable to hit a barn door.
The Worcester City FA Cup tie is a massive opportunity for this promising Lincoln City side to draw a line in the sand and come back with £20,000 in our hands. Worcester normally get 600 to a game but with Kidderminster fans and some romantic neutrals plus the Lincoln City hordes, the gate should top 2,000 on Saturday. Add the £12,500 prize money and the winners should walk off with at least £20,000 after costs.
Vic Erzantartz as ever imparts with sparks
This Lincoln City side is not getting the credit it deserves, largely down to the fact that the strikers are failing to convert the guilt edged chances that the patient passing football has been creating. The 4-1 defeat to Kidderminster has added to the storm clouds almost as much as the weather, making for a heavy pitch that could even things up and work to the advantage of Worcester City who are struggling to score. The Dragons do pose a threat with tricky right-winger Danny Williams, who is a bit hit and miss, as well as striker Danny Glover (ex-Port Vale) and Phil Trainer on loan from Nuneaton who may be given permission to play.
But in all honesty we will win on Saturday so keep the faith, hoist up the Lincoln flag and here the red Imps sing. Yes indeed this is a massive opportunity for a great day out for the Imps on and off the pitch. Wright Yussuf and Tomlinson should be more than a match for the ageing Exodus Geoghaghon – yes him again – with this match giving them the perfect opportunity to get their confidence back as they get amongst the goals ready for Welling, Southport and Forest Green away. Losing is not an option for Lincoln – it never has been for Simmo’s six-foot soldiers – who have battled every step of the way.
Now its time to grab that rainbow by the scruff of the neck and nick the whole pot of gold at the end of it. This is the part of the season that can give us some cash to strengthen the side and kick-on. This team needs a winger and an ugly beast up front to ensure we get our just deserts this season but we need to earn the cash to do it on Saturday. This game will show the fight and desire we know the team has and ensure the gates continue to stay above the 2500 mark.
Worcester and the swamp of a pitch will not make things easy, but a Cup run is vital to the club the team and the aspirations of the fans. Win this and we look forward with optimism, lose it… well that is just not up for discussion is it?
Worcester City will raise their game against the Imps, but there will be no giant killing in the 4th Qualifying Round of the FA Cup. It’s time to be positive and grab the vital funds we need with both hands and boots.
Vic Erzantarz feels Imps are about to turn the corner
Negativity threatens to beat us more than our opponents on Saturday, so its time for a line in the sand and 20 grand in the hand this weekend in the FA Cup. Only one side has managed to batter the disciplined formation of Lincoln City and that took two moments of pure genius from Storer and Gash as well as an unfortunate own goal. Hero Gash came on as an inspired super-sub to deliver a 25-yard free-kick and two flicks to set up two of the three other goals. Worcester will be playing their biggest game of the season by far and will doubtless find some heroes of their own in front of a 2000 crowd – some four times higher than their previous home game. But almost half that number will be Imps!
Worcester drew away at second bottom club Oxford City on Saturday in a snore draw of few opportunities. Oxford should have gone ahead early doors but the City keeper was not actually tested until the 70th minute. Simmo’s ex-Macc keeper Jose Veiga (on-loan) is a decent shot-stopper even if he has half an eye on getting his coaching badges nowadays. City do try to play football if they are allowed, but, against the Imps ‘mangler’ that is not going to be easy. Manager Carl Heeley said much the same post match.
“We were the only team trying to play any football that’s for certain. We’ve come away to the biggest spenders in the league and they just whacked it and hoped for the best and I thought we defended it comfortably. I’m pleased with our boys today, they’ve grafted hard, they’ve worked, they’ve matched them, and it’s the least we deserve”, said Heeley.
The Imps will clearly be playing more than pub side pride then, but our discipline and professionalism will do the trick. Time for Captain Power to stand up just as Kerr did a few years ago when he laid on 3 assists in the 3-1 win at Northwich Victoria another banana skin. and The Imps have also broken that 4 hour goal drought, with Nick Wright announcing his re-emergence from injury and the bench. If the Imps can get him, Yussuf and Tomo going next week we could put the recent spell behind us and get our season on the road. The £12,500 prize money together with the gate receipt would also bolster the loan budget allowing the Imps to think more positively over the coming months. Line in the sand 20 grand in the hand onwards and upwards me thinks!
|3||North Ferriby United||12||8||1||3||23||13||+10||25|
|7||AFC Telford United||11||6||3||2||17||10||+7||21|
|8||Bradford Park Avenue||12||4||6||2||23||23||0||18|
|12||Harrogate Town (-3)||11||4||2||5||17||14||+3||11|
It is easy to understand the Frustration of Lincoln City fans, used to 6 years of decline with the Imp Spring now apparently clouding over with a vengeance ahead of a vital Cup tie. Yet the knee jerk texts and post match comments are so wide of the mark it is not true. We need to move on beat Worcester, think before we speak and be even more careful what we wish for.
Vic Erzantarz delves into the current malaise
The post-match BBC Radio Lincolnshire texts and forum chatter would be amusing were it not for the supposed popular opinion they purport to reflect. Headlines and sound-bites catch the eye, a Simmo out thread with an immediate only joking in the actual post has got the attention and in effect done the damage. One fellow suggested that the manager bemoans his budget while Salisbury are using theirs to the full, indeed, the facts are that The Whites have a budget one and a half times that of Lincoln and, suffering with a remote location like the Imps, have ensured that all lengthy away trips will have an overnight stay. The STMI appeal, fell on largely unsympathetic and deaf ears, seeing the fans pitch in with 2 in addition to the 3 paid four by the board. Fifteen were earmarked.
In fact, post match, the manager continued on his consistent path – perhaps that is why he says the same things – lamenting the missed chances that failed to reward the hard work. It was one that saw him say that the board have helped as much as they can, affording him a little leeway to ensure that the budget will now be on a par with that of last season. Splendid, so stability assured that accounts for the club being 13th, given we have just been beaten by one of the title favourites and have a bottom third budget for the division.
The manager has also been accused of negative tactics and no plan B, despite the majority of the resources we have playing out of their skins and a 4-3-3 formation yesterday. Alas playing Captain Power and Sheridan, is not going to get us far in the absence of Wright and Yussuf who have pace and panache. The incumbents do not look like scoring, Sheridan can never beat a man for pace and Power would struggle to get in the side if Fairhurst or Roe (ligaments) were fit.
The manager has wisely tried to play 4-2-3-1, the most balanced of attacking and defensive formations in the book, but you cannot allow for players who cannot shoot for toffee and your target man leaving, with Wright and Yussuff out and kicking their heels, as the rearguard action struggles to stay the inevitable. To go 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 would see the more profligacy in front of goal with a lot more goals conceded.
Lincoln’s problems clearly lay with goals, for despite 13 shots, no mean feat away from home at the Harriers, Tomlinson alone is the only man that looks like scoring. Injuries have taken their toll with Wright and Yussuf obviously the pace required for the rampaging runs that would make the attack-minded 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 click in the final third. Roe is a massive miss and Fairhurst is just not at the races even with overlapping full-backs Newton and Miller putting in the low whipped crosses that he should be straining to poke home.
Wright did do that for our goal – a header to boot – but he needs games after a torn hamstring. It was something the three advanced midfielders and Tommo had failed to do so in a first half that should have seen us go two up before Gash’s moment of brilliance plus his two assists to change the outcome of the game. Storer got a 25-yard wonder-goal and an unfortunate deflection from Boyce put things beyond us, so we were a little hard done by against a side that was odds on to win before a ball was kicked. Storer and Gash cost a weekly wage that is equivalent to 5-6 Lincoln first-teamers, added to the fact that it is only £14 to stand and watch them, this shows the cost base of our club off the field matched only by the loyalty of Lincoln fans, as another 205 travelled and sang throughout.
The problem with forwards (and decent midfielders) is that they cost money unless you get very lucky for a short-time. Oliver, like Yussuf had been threatened with a career ending injury that robbed him of his Wednesday dream. Lincoln like Burton gambled and took him on for a fraction of what he should be worth, just like Oliver who was on little more than an amateur would pick up. Oliver worked out well so arguable we have used up any luck due.
Nathan Ellington, who has just joined Southport, is on two and a half times what we paid Oliver, or one and a half times the wage of a Lincoln player. For that the 32 year old does a Thursday training session and turns up for a game as well as enjoying a 9-5 job. Moan and belittle the manager as much as we want, that is the economic reality that faces Lincoln and other fully professional non-league clubs with minute budgets. We might be honoured to wear the shirt but its a big ask for a player and father trying to feed a family in the current climate.
Yes the forwards are letting the rest of a promising and hard working side down, but we simply have to live with it until they either get up to speed or someone wins the lottery and gives more than 75 grand to the board in order to do our ambitions proud. That will not happen with just the one vote will it? Secondly with people sitting in a good position until the ground move is completed no businessman is going to add to his existing investment unless the club finances deteriorate. With crowds up that is unlikely any time soon.
So frustrating as it is Lincoln are where we are because of what we are, making a 5,000 stadium look more and more viable by the week to allow more of the budget the club generates to go into the first team. It’s sad but reality and inaccurate knee-jerk comments will do us a lot less good than trying to live with it and just keeping the faith. Hopefully we will be Worcester on Saturday and that will allow the manager to get a target man and a winger in, because currently he has only enough in the loan budget for one. If you save one bullet – and its hardly a silver one – you tend to wait and use it when you absolutely have to, do you not?