Imps 2-1 Barrow –

Finally! A Lincoln game that I didn’t want to immediately forget about as soon as I left the ground.

This was a much changed, reinvigorated Imps side to the one that succumbed so lamely to Alfreton in midweek, bolstered by three midweek signings. In came goalkeeper Paul Furman on loan from Gateshead, excellent in covering for the suspended Joe Anyon. There was also Conal Platt, a winger deemed surplus to requirements at Cambridge United, but crucial in setting up Sam Smith’s opening goal on 20 minutes.

Also new for the Imps was former Sheffield Wednesday defender Richard Hinds, signed on until the end of the season who provided some much needed stability and experience at the back.

Two minutes after Smith’s goal (his third in three games) it was Jean-Francois Christophe’s turn to get on the scoresheet with an outrageous shot from outside the box.

Lincoln appeared to flag towards the end and allowed Barrow back into the game, but their 93rd minute goal was little more than a consolation.

So, we were decent then?

For once, I can say yes without having to qualify my praise. This wasn’t “an encouraging sign” or “a possible turning point”, this was a solid, competent performance by the Imps of the type unseen since our winning run back in January and February of this year. It was a performance good enough to rouse even the Echo Stand.

All good then?

No. Josh O’Keefe remains a concern, he’s simply never going to be the type of box-to-box midfielder he aspires to be.

What about Barrow?

Certainly a cut above some of the teams we’ve seen this season. They’re slightly more than your typical “run and fight” Conference team, although they did plenty of both. Excellent loud support too, until the Imps took control.

And our new guys?

Paul Furman has the longest throws and kicks I think I’ve ever seen from a goalkeeper, I wouldn’t be surprised if he has had more than a few assists in his career. Conal Platt was excellent, a lively presence down the flanks and created the first goal. Richard Hinds looked composed, a definite cut above the rest of our defence.

Man of the Match:

We all like to moan when the match sponsors take the cop out option and give man of the match to the goalscoring striker, but I’m going to do exactly that. Sam Smith, eight goals so far this season, you deserve it.

Moment of the Match:

Jean-Francois Christophe‘s goal and celebration. The goal itself was great, real punch the air, jump up and down goal. The celebration was even better, he ran all the way back to the dugout screaming his lungs out and joined the rest of the team in mobbing the new manager.

What the boss should be doing this week:

We’ve got two weeks off, pretty much. Holdsworth needs to concentrate on just one thing, fitness. Getting these lads into shape, Barrow could have snatched the game from us and it’d have been entirely down to the whole team running out of steam. This needs sorting, now. We won’t always go into the last ten minutes with a two goal cushion.

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