Imps 0-1 Kidderminster Harriers – don’t panic, Mr. Mainwaring

Last night the Imps marked their first non-league game at Sincil Bank since 1988 with the kind of insipid, ground out home defeat that’s been so familiar in recent years. Here’s some thoughts:

The positives:

It’s only the second game of what’ll be a transition season. The majority of the XI that started last night had never played a competitive game for Lincoln at Sincil Bank, they’re just getting to know each other as a team. Patience is key.

Alan Power’s runs look like they’ll be a key contributor this season. He’s like a really crap Xavi. He just needs everyone else to be on his wavelength for the final ball.

Joe Anyon had an excellent game. Why wasn’t he between the sticks at the tail end of last season, Steve?

We could be Grimsby fans.

The negatives:

There was no final ball. Our buildup play was fine, until the point when someone needed to be set up for a shot, it just didn’t happen. Either a gold shirt would step in and put a stop to it, or a ball would be fruitlessly passed to no-one/lashed uselessly high and wide. (I’m looking at you, Gavin.)

We are appalling at defending set pieces. Kidderminster’s first free kick led to a header that hit the crossbar, and the confusion in the box on their second one led to an innocuous ball being flicked on into the goal. Needs huge improvement.

Ali Fuseini, apart from a goal saving tackle in the dying minutes of the game, contributed nothing. He’s far, far better than his performance last night would suggest.

The Opposition:

Kidderminster stuck incredibly effectively to their gameplan. Seemingly whenever Lincoln entered their half there’d be a mass of men behind the ball, even very early in the game, but they were also efficient at turning defence into attack, getting more than a few chances on the break. Their breakthrough, though, came more through Lincoln defensive incompetence, a limp freekick being turned past Joe Anyon by Callum Gittings.

Game highlight:

Undoubtedly the brawl sparked in front of the Kidderminster fans by Ali Fuseini towards the end of the game. Could it really have been about a throw in? Really? Calm down Ali.

Off the field highlight:

The fourth official struggling to get numbers to appear on his electronic board when confronted with three Lincoln substitutions and one Kidderminster change at the same time. As the boos rang out we watched as he floundered fruitlessly, at one point indicating that Lincoln’s number 00 would be replaced by Lincoln’s number 00. The whole imbroglio took so long that the substitutions of Jamie Taylor and Josh O’Keefe (72nd minute) are recorded as happening in an entirely separate minute to those of Bradley Barraclough and Kidderminster’s Jamille Matt (73rd minute).

Also, the bloke who drove past me on the way home and shouted “cheer up mate, Grimsby lost 5-0 to Braintree!”

The referee:

Karl Evans wasn’t entirely terrible, but perhaps proved the idiom that “the refs get worse the lower down the leagues you go”. Imagine how bad they’ll be next season when we’re in the Blue Square North? (Note: that was a joke)

Implausible “really?” moment of the game:

Kidderminster appearing in their gold shirts. Gold.

Sponsors Man of the Match:

Alan Power. Eye catching runs but didn’t lead to much.

My Man of the Match:

Joe Anyon. We could have been a couple more goals down without him.

Game in a sentence:

It’s only the second game, don’t panic.

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