Top dogs FC Halifax face Lincoln City for a top of the table clash after Braintree Town battled back against Simmos 10 Sincil Soldiers in an absolute belter at the Bank. The Vanarama Conference aka the Peoples Premiership showed that passion is always in fashion in the league the financial football fellows forget. It was more rock the kazbar stuff from herculean Hamza, the mighty Moor, who again made man of the match as the reborn Imps 7th return to the league crusade goes on-on-on!
Thanks for reading STMI
First the teams & schemes then the match report and finally more stats than you can shake an Imp or Iron fan at.
Saturday 23rd August KO 3PM
Scorers Newton 7, Bencherif 21 Davis 49 (pen), Tomlinson 61, Brundle 90
Attendance 2231 (2205 Imps 26 from The Iron)
Ref Mr Whiteley
Potential teams & schemes
Simmo goes 4-2-3-1
17 Caprice (Y-66) 23 Brown 6 Diagne (R-47) 3 Newton
12 Mendy 14 Nolan
8 Power (Y-66) 11 Tomlinson
12 Bakare 18 Cox
11 Sparks 26 Mulley
8 Davis 4 Isaac
3 Habergham 2 Brundle 6 Massey 23 Peters (Y-73)
Devonshire goes 4-4-2
Subs & substitutions
The Bench: 1 Farman, 7 Kabba, 16 Robinson, 18 Everington, 22 Marshall
Substitutions: 84′ Marshall on for Burrow
The Bench: 29 Pentney, 17 Watts, 20 Clerima, 7 Walker, 9 Marks
Substitutions: 45 on for Mulley 71′ D/s Marks on for Bakare and Walker on for Habergham
To the game fellow football fans to the game…………
A neat early combination between the three central Imp midfielder gatekeepers on the serene Lincolnshire green of Sincil Bank signals a lively end to end start. Nolan plays casually back to Townsend, but, he thankfully beats Cox to a hospital ball of a 50/50 and clears. The Imps counter but Tomlinson is penalised for a foul on Peters. Newton is looking dangerous. Midfield matador Mendy cleverly plays in Power but his drive is deflected for a corner. Newton drives low, everyone misses and, the ball bulges the net in the far corner for an early lead for the Imps.
Habergham feeds Bakare, his neat turn unbalances Brown, but, Diagne is wise to that one. A great counter from battling Braintree, as Mulley gets beyond Newton and crosses, forcing Caprice to put over his own crossbar. Nuke-em Newton clears the corner with bravado, having run off what appeared to be an increasingly concerning limp. The Imps counter, frustration, as in-form Burrow’s first touch lets him down. Another great ball from Power releases Caprice on the overlap only for the ball to be deflected off Massey’s shoulder for a corner. The set-piece is half cleared, allowing Tomlinsons to hit a howitser. The bullet bends between the keeper’s gloves, but alas, fizzes the wrong side of the post.
Power is the centre of things again, releasing Nolan who feeds the hungry Caprice. Power demands the return, gets it, sadly, his promising drive is blocked by a shell-shocked team-mate. Another move from the rampant Imps sees Newton deliver a fabulous cross that Hamza Bencherif bullet-heads home at the far post from six-yards. Not content with two, the momentum continues as Nolan fires wide from outside the box and keeper Hamann beats Burrow in a vital 50/50 duel to the not quite death. If City can continue to exploit the Braintree duel full-back achilles it could be a good afternoon for the goal difference. Then again this can go either way if the 3-3 thriller of recent yesteryear was anything to go by.
Mulley has the beating of Newton, yet his cross is rather deep giving Sparks a lot to do before his cross is blocked. The Iron’s greaks clank and crank up as Braintree find their second wind. Fortunately Sparks’ ball to Cox is heavy and bounces off his chest into the grateful gloves of Townsend. The young keeper’s positioning is spot on to deny Bakare and he then hits a deft and decent volleyed clearance that almost gets the outnumbered Burrow in. Its end to end now, but scrappy, with Tomlinson denied by a superb save from Hamann. Although, in truth, foraging Burrow is flagged offside.
Tomlinson our first twenty-goal hero since Yeo, is playing wider than his unique take-no-prisoners agricultural game style. But don’t you just love him for it! Tommo the hawk gets a yard and lets loose a southpaw exocet wide of the left-hand upright to oohs and arghs at an awakening, nowadays, not so sad or slumbering Impdom, a place oh so starved of success. A sumptuous flick from Bencherif is too clever for everyone including Burrow who can only, like the rest of a salivating Sincil swank, applaud the audacity. Power and Mendy are certainly putting in the tackles, both conceding fouls, although all the good work is almost undone, as the Imps switch off . Sparks, ignore him at your peril, gets a peach of a delivery over but Mitch Brundle – there should be a picture of this man above the definition of will to win in the Collins dictionary – heads wide from six yards.
Chockies, ices if you please and if the lady with the woodbines is still around it is surely time for a Woodbine outside the not so hallowed gates.
Ryan Case replaces James Mulley due to injury but the Imps hearts and minds are still in the changing room, or perhaps clearing a half-time bottle of stout, as Cox heads goalwards. Fortunately an alert Townsend saves well. City’s composed, even aesthetically easy on the eye, football returns. Although there is some Sheffield Simmo steel forged into this side as Mendy crunches Davis. The visitors are certainly a different property this half, but then Devonshire’s sides are.
The twist, as the tale turns amidst controversy. Diagne is out-muscled by Cox who gets a shot away, but the Bank is horrified, for our Gallic garcon of a centre-half is red-carded for pulling his man back, with a penalty to boot. Cool hand Luke, or rather dead-eye Davis, whistles one straight down the middle, outwitting Townsend. One could feel the chill wind coursing down the Sincil drain along with the smell, understandable given so many touching cloth. The half-time food of course is ‘mint’. Hamza drops back into the defence as 10-man Lincoln shape up 4-3-2 for the battle of attrition ahead.
The Iron go for the jugular, with Cox and Bakare eager to exploit the defensive change, that sees Hamza, not the quickest, next to Brown. To their credit, the Imps are keen to get another that would see clear distance. Lincoln counter and Newton unleashes a neutron bomb that lands in the car park and bounces like a Lancaster bomber payload – the same week two did an historic fly passed over bomber county. Marauding marine Cox struts for The Iron, but, his though-ball to Bakare finds his partner in an offside position. Cox goes alone this time arrowing an optimistic drive the wrong side of the right-hand post. The one man charioteer – Cox again – unloads another which the composed young Townsend makes look easy.
Power, schemes and conjures, cleverly using both feet to confuse Sparks. They are mortal at this level it seems, as his ball does not quite match the precursory cameo. Nolan, a cast-off toffee, picks the lock, releasing Tomlinson who beats his man and the angle conjured by the keeper to send Sincil Bank reaching for the roofs of the stands. A magnificent tackle from Mendy sets Caprice away but his cross is deflected for a corner. Caprice is a dervish down the right delivering a peach for Brown who thumps wide. Caprice ransacks full-back Peters, then reacts by fouling him for a yellow card.
On 71 minutes Walker and Marks enter the fray, replacing Habergham and Bakare, going 3-4-3 with Marks as the talismanic Braintree battering ram. More controversy. Tomlinson cannot catch a clearance, runs at his defender, is kicked and almost punched by Peters – it would have cost him a stroke if he was playing golf – yet incredibly he gets away with a yellow. But the claret is never far away in this Battle of the bank, its blood and thunder again as Townsend saves another twenty-yarder from Brundle. Newton fouls Brundle, himself a one man charge of the Light Brigade. The towering Massey has a header saved by Townsend – just 19 and 5’11, but the on-loan Brummie babe is standing tall. Power is booked by a pantomime villain of the peace referee who continues to lose the plot.
Sparks is flying and centres for Brundle to head a fivers breadth the wrong side of the post. Townsend fails to claim under pressure but Bencherif heads off the line and Brundle is forced off with a blood injury, making it ten on ten, as a pulsating game continues with a passion. He returns, with the kitchen sink, in the knowledge that there are no more substitutes allowed, the Iron need to get back into things with a miserly five minutes stoppage time to play. Cox lets fly from the edge of the box but Townsend is there again.
The pressure tells, incredibly its the heroic Brundle, who hits a deflected 25-yard effort that unbalances Townsend and flies into the far corner. Its now a nail-biting 3-2 thriller with everything to play for. A Chez Isaaz drive from distance goes wide. The Imps survive a soft penalty shout as Sparks goes down a little easy and finally Townsend claims from Marx at the last. What an advert for the division, a fantastic effort from both sides with the 10 man Imps thundering third. Braintree in 17th deserved to be better placed.
Stats & Table
Note: shots on includes goals and saves includes crosses claimed
54 % Ball 46 %
7 Shots on 8
5 Misses 5
7 Saves 6
5 Corners 2
2 Offside 3
15 Fouls 10
2 Yellows 1
1 Reds 0
|1||FC Halifax Town||4||4||0||0||10||1||+9||12|
|2||Forest Green Rovers||4||3||1||0||6||2||+4||10|
|22||AFC Telford United||4||0||1||3||3||7||-4||1|