Imps deserve pre-season win after dominant first half performance at Sincil Bank
Lincoln City 3-0 Crewe
Garratt, Turton, Guthrie, Davis, Bakayogo (Nugent, 45), Jones (Ray, 45), Bingham, Cooper (Ainley, 66), Kirk (Kiwomya, 45), Lowe (Saunders, 78), Dagnall Crewe:
Pre-season results don’t count for too much but Crewe Alexandra will have to approach the opening 45 minutes of the new season in a more productive way next weekend at Stevenage. Some poor defending at Sincil Bank, especially from a corner and a long throw-in resulted in the Railwaymen falling three goals behind in the opening half an hour.
From an attacking sense, chances were few and far between as well, especially for poachers Lowe and Dagnall but full-back Bakayogo did force Farman into a smart save as we approached the half-time interval. Substitutes Callum Saunders and George Ray did have a couple of half chances but they were denied by some determined defending from the Imps.
Lincoln were impressive throughout and looked a threat whenever the ball went into our box, looking for the former Newcastle Town and Nantwich target man Matt Rhead. He was a handful in the air throughout the 90 minutes but it was his strike partner Adam Marriott who scored twice and Jack Muldoon scored at the far post after Rhead had flicked the throw in gratefully in his path.
Crewe Alexandra found themselves behind within the first two minutes at Sincil Bank. Zoumana Bakayogo may have an early foot race inside the penalty area, but his back pass placed Ben Garratt under pressure and the Crewe goalkeeper ended up conceding a needless corner.
From the resultant corner from the left, Matt Rhead won the initial header to force Garratt into a smart save but following a brief melee in front of the Alex number one, Adam Marriott seemed to apply the decisive touch to scramble it over the line.
Moments later, the handful in the air Rhead headed on to the roof of the net after pulling off Harry Davis at the far post.
Crewe’s best attempt in the opening ten minutes, saw George Cooper force Paul Farman into his first meaningful save after he found enough space to drill a good effort goalwards from 20 yards.
On 15 minutes, Lincoln City doubled their advantage from a long throw-in. Full-back Sam Habergham propelled it into the Crewe box, aiming for the height of Rhead and his flick on was turned it at the far post by the alert Jack Muldoon. Crewe’s defending from set-plays left a lot to be desired and will certainly need improvement as we enter the serious stuff next weekend but that is what pre-season if for, to iron out problems.
Chris Dagnall was bundled over to win a free-kick but Cooper couldn’t keep his effort on target to trouble Farman.
Lincoln continued to look dangerous whenever a cross was delivered into the Crewe penalty are and after Davis hooked another headed effort from Rhead away from the goal-line, the Imps extended their lead on the half an hour mark. Lincoln played some sublime football to get in behind Bakayogo down the left hand side and Nathan Arnold calmly picked out Marriott, who slid his shot beyond the helpless Garratt. Full credit to the home side, but Crewe had been out of sorts from the off.
minute and saw Dagnall play the ball out to the left for Kirk. The youngster waited for the overlapping run of his full-back Bakayogo and his stinging shot on the run forced Farman into a smart save. The Lincoln City goalkeeper got a really strong hand on it to push it over his crossbar.ndCrewe’s best passing move of the first half arrived in the 42
Unsurprisingly, Steve Davis made changes at the interval with defenders George Ray and Nugent and winger Alex Kiwomya replacing Bakayogo, Kirk and Jones. The switch around resulted in a completely different back four with Davis at right-back, Guthrie at left-back and Ray partnering Nugent in the centre. Ollie Turton pushed into midfield as the replacement for Jones.
Two goal hero Marriott was replaced at the break also but it was his replacement Miles Taylor, who conjured up the first effort of the second half when his ambitious chip drew a fine save from Garratt. The Alex goalkeeper adjusted his feet to tip his chip overt the crossbar.
A forceful run from the Lincoln right-back then saw him burst past Bingham and Kiwomya and into the Crewe penalty area and his low cross towards the far post only needed a touch from Rhead.
On 65 minutes, Callum Ainley replaced Cooper. Callum Saunders also replaced Lowe. Moments later, Nugent delivered a superb clearance with his head to deny Rhead a simple header at the Crewe goal.
A telling ball from Guthrie from the left only needed a more positive connection from the head of Saunders but the Welsh youngster couldn’t get enough on it to test Farman. Moments later another clever run from Saunders saw him get in behind the Lincoln City back-line only to be denied a shot on target by a timely sliding tackle. From the resultant corner, Ray did find space at the far post but couldn’t control his shot on the volley well enough.
Ray did connect with a Guthrie header late on but on this occasion it was straight into the gloves of the Lincoln goalkeeper.