The Mariners mauled local rivals Lincoln City in a furious four goal first half salvo straight from Roy of the Rovers; at the wet and blustery Blundell Park Bastille last night.
The Codfather gave triallists, defender Dwayne Samuels and winger Robert Eagle a bow in a lineup affected by the wlking wounded of Lee Peacock, Kenny Arthur, Mark Hudson and Lee Ridley ; along with long term absentees Charles Ademeno and Lewis Gobern. Town lined up with Rob Peet between the Sticks, Samuels at right back, Kempson and Garner in the centre plus Wood on the left. Leary and Cummins contested centre midfield with Bore on the right and Eagle on the left. Connell and Coulson started up front.
The Imps played a strong side blending youth with experience. Musselwhite, Clarke, Clapham, Keltie, Facey, McCallum and Pearce, along with Hutchinson, Adams, Miller and Cunningham all started.
But to the game??for this me hearties was a Lincolnshire six goal thriller with both sides wearing their hearts on their sleeves, in conditions where caution would and did favour the brave; and nigh on sixteen hundred feasted on a fast and furious first half flotilla of goals.
The Imps pressed first with Facey showing why he is a target man as opposed to a twenty a season man, lashing high over the bar. Town`s slick passing and movement suggested the Imps defence would not hold out for too long as Connell and Coulson began to click. Peet saved well from the lively McCallum, who showed good touch poise and composure to crash a volley goalwards. Bore then roasted two before unleashing a long range drive just past the upright.
The Imps broke the deadlock, as much due to the conditions and McCallum`s quick thinking as the comedy of errors in the box.. An inviting corner saw the defence go missing in action leaving McCallum to side foot home precisely at the far post. But for a magnificent save by Peet from a Hutchinson thunderbolt header, moments later, the seesawing tie could have seen the Mariners all but sunk.
Oh but it was end to end almost total football with centre back Garner squaring for Connell who scuffed his shot as, alas, the danger passed. The Connell magic was a-coming as he almost chipped ex Scunthorpe stopper Musselwhite from twenty yards before his 25 yarder whistled passed the veterans post. We would get our just rewards for the incessant pressure with 2 goals in 4 minutes, and 4 in 12; as the Imps defence crumbled.
Bore on 22 levelled, as Eagle eyed Robbie played a slide rule threaded gem to Coulson. MC turned on a sixpence to fuel Bore, aflame he overlapped and raced on to unleash a demon drive that nearly broke the net. On 26 minutes the move of the match thus far, and it had some competition believe me. Some one touch saw Samuels overlap down the opposite flank to cross to Connell, who is fast becoming a Blundell goal machine; The striker cushion headed home from the six yard line.
The Imps were level when, clearly missing Watt (due to sign Monday) the Mariners achilles was upon us again. The defence went missing at a corner again as Garner and Kempson, a veritable Blundell beast, somehow contrived to allow an unmarked McCallum to head home at the far post again. On the half hour Town also weighed in with a goal from a corner. Kempson this time used his strength to make amends and bundle all before him, including the ball, into the net.
The interchange between Connell and Coulson was simply sublime in the 34th minute with a grateful Micky Cummins charging through the middle to place a low drive passed the Imps keeper. Musselwhite had been left horribly exposed again. The end to end encounter continued, with the 32 Lincoln fans justifiably on their feet, when Woods appeared to clip the heels of Hutchinson who was in on goal. Facey then left himself a little too tight an angle, although Peet saved smartly; before Connell headed wide to bring the humdinger of a half to a close.
Seconds away and round two of the semi saw Connell and Coulson cruelly continue their creativity at the expense of the Imps defence. Musselwhite waved a long range effort round his post from Eagle and Coulson really should have done better as Connell went from strength to strength. McCallum also has more than a little guile and style about him and made something from nothing firing wide in the 56th minute.
The Blundell beast aka Kempson hit a haymaker of a drive moments later that Musselwhite rolled back the years to palm over. He also saved Miller`s blushes as the centre back sliced an awkward one goalwards. Young Hutchinson, living off scraps shot wide from 8 yards as Keltie had a shot charged down by Garner. Connell was then rested with young Nathan Dixon joining the fray just as the livewire Leary hammered a left footer just over the bar.
Towns superb cut and thrust attacking play continued to tease and please with a number of corners as Cummins went close to adding to his goal. The Imps too had one cleared off the line by Wood as young Peet continued to grow in confidence. Samuels then staked another claim for a contract with another rising drive from 30 yards that deserved better. Indeed he and Eagles played well tonight suggesting some food for thought for the Codfather.
Connell, Coulson and Cummins were stars tonight and well worth the admission fee. We screamed options tonight suggesting we will be a handful offensively this season. The defence did not cover itself in glory particularly at corners, but then Kempson and Garner have enjoyed little playing time and Watt appears to be the wise old head. He needs to be, given Wood/Bore on the right aside, the back four is hardly blessed with pace.
But we should not end on a low note, for this was attacking, flowing football from Town. And a stile and guile worth a smile, for it suggests a future far brighter than that dark May Day moment at Burton.
Peet, Samuels, Wood, Leary, Kempson, Garner, Bore, Cummins, Connell, Coulson, Eagle.
Subs: Hegarty, Corner, Fuller, Dixon, Gray.
Goals: Bore (22), Connell (26), Garner (32), Cummins (34)
Lincoln: Musselwhite, Clarke, Clapham, Cunningham, Pearce, Miller, Hutchinson, Keltie, Facey, McCallum, Adams.
Subs: Fagon, Draper, Turner, Green, Gibson.
Goals: McCallum (13, 27)
Attendance: 1,561 (32 City supporters)
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