By Jon Harries
A very solid point was earned at Portman Road on Saturday in a tightly contested match between play off chasing Ipswich and the Dons who are looking to build momentum going into next season. Three changes were made to the side who lost to Crewe the week before, Jerome, Thompson and O’Hora dropping out through injury, O’Hora possibly for the rest of the season due to a niggling foot injury.
Ipswich made a solid if not spectacular start to the game, but it was the away side who had the best opportunity. A typically flowing move found Ethan Laird in space, his ball across the area found Grigg whose turn and shot was very well defended, It broke back to Fraser who shot into the side netting. The second half arguably was the away sides with Surman forcing a good save from Holy and Matt O’Riley forcing a double save a few minutes later. The best chance for the Tractor Boys fell to Freddie Sears after a mistake between Jules and Fisher allowed Sears to attempt a lob towards goal that fell harmlessly wide. 13 points at former Premier League grounds this season is an impressive stat and shows we really have nothing to fear going into next season.
After 10 days away due to Covid 19 in the camp, Lincoln City had a huge game at home to the form team of L1 Blackpool. The Seasiders were two goals up either side of half time Ellis Simms and Kaikai with the goals and on their way towards a 6th away win in a row. But never write Lincoln off and Anthony Scully halved the deficit for the Imps, Scully then turned provider for Brennan Johnson who restored parity and provided Lincoln with a vital point that kept them in the play offs for now. It will be a nervous end of the season for Lincoln with teams just outside the play offs waiting to pounce.
Lincoln and Michael Appleton have had a phenomenal season, if I’m honest I wasn’t expecting them to be battling so high up the table. They enjoyed a brilliant start to the season; in fact they were top for a few weeks battling with Hull and Peterborough for the top spot. The wheels only really started to fall off after injuries to key personnel exposed the lack of depth in their squad. Alex Palmer has been a solid acquisition keeping 14 clean sheets this season.
Former Don Joe Walsh and Dutch sensation Lewis Montsma were a solid partnership although a loss of form and injuries have affected the run. Lincoln went out and spent money on wingbacks Regan Poole and Cohen Brammall in January to bolster the options and reports are they are settling in well. The midfield three of Connor McGrandles, James Jones and Liam Bridcutt were a brilliant midfield allowing Jorge Grant, Brennan Johnson, and Tom Hopper the freedom to express themselves. Unfortunately the spine of their team got injured at the same time, on top of the Covid 19 outbreak. I’m sure most Lincoln fans would have taken 6th place if you’d offered them that at the start of the season, but today that is still in question.
Two key players for Lincoln are Brennan Johnson and Morgan Rogers. Michael Appleton is well known for giving young players playing time and has built very good connections with other clubs higher up in the pyramid. Brought in from Nottingham Forest and Manchester City respectively, (Rogers only in from January) Johnson has 7 goals and 4 assists this season and Rogers has a goal every 3 games since his introduction. Both have pace and trickery in abundance and certainly a bright future ahead. Rogers in particular can provide an individual moment of magic and certainly both players should be respected.
Laird – Lewington – Darling – Jules – Sorinola
McEachran – Surman – O’Riley – Fraser
I think Sorinola could cause more problems for Poole and better defensively down that side against either Rogers or Johnson. I’d like to see Charlie Brown given a start although if Jerome is fit he’d be better IMHO against the physical Lincoln CBs.
I predict a 1-1 draw. It’s always a tight affair with one goal either way usually the norm. The selfish part of me would love nothing more than an away win, simply because I still can’t get the meeting in our time in L2 at Sincil Bank out of head. A fantastic away day only spoilt by Jason Shackell scoring a last minute winner just after the air raid siren went off.
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