Tue 28 Oct – Lincoln City 2 – 0 Gills
Moving swiftly on… nothing to see here people, nothing to see. No really it was all rather uneventful. A gold star to the 322 Gills fans that made the trip – no really! 322 Gills, I know it was half term but still a magnificent effort given it was midweek, the distance and our, ahem, away record plus the weather, more than Accrington, Morecambe and Chester have brought to Priestfield on a Saturday combined… Lincoln were “expecting 50 to 100” and had to hastily open up the back of the stand to accommodate the demand!!!
Our own trip north didn’t go all that smoothly, we were scheduled to collect Wolfie from Purfleet en route but he missed his train (no really – he got “lost”!) and was thirty minutes late, just long enough to discover Purfleet really is Royston Vasey. Having escaped intact despite a couple of diversions and visiting a “local shop” for “local people“, we made good time up to Lincoln although our encounter with a very big, very black cloud that proceeded to dump it’s contents on the A1 was so heavy we began to worry the match might be in doubt. We whizzed past the Gillingham team coach waving like idiots before arriving at Sincil Bank for the first time since 1998 when a late, late Asaba double had had Gills fans cavorting merrily in the Lincoln six yard box.
We took refuge from the chilling winds in the nearest pub (the Ritz, an ex-cinema) but despite the upbeat glow of the pink and blue florescent lighting and a special offer mixed grill the mood was really sombre, solemn and subdued pre-match even amongst some of the younger and more excitable away regulars. Perhaps they could sense it in the freezing Lincolnshire air because they were right to be resigned to our fate given during the subsequent 90 minutes plus injury time the Gills contrived to not manage a single effort on goal. Not one, nada. That takes some doing, especially when you’re on top for the first ten minutes and finish the game strongly. Oh how I rued moment the Bradford defender clobbered Jackson as he equalised, it won us a point but losing him for a month will have cost us so much more.
On to the game then, if we must, the final statistics say it all, Lincoln had two shots on target and scored two goals, we had none and scored no goals. We had a few wayward cracks at goal but really looked mediocre at best. It was a bit weird really, we began brightly, we bossed the game at times, enjoyed the majority of possession for periods but did absolutely bog all with it. Early on I was feeling mildly optimistic but twelve minutes in and BAM! – Lincoln counter attacked and BOSH, a peach of a cross by Oakes just begged to be spanked into the net and Frecklington nodded City into the lead. I was still grumbling to myself about the unfairness of life, the universe and everything when City scored a second barely a hundred seconds later and it is pretty much game over… We lost the ball in their half, the ball found it’s way to N’Guessan, he charged into our half, past one, past another, the Maradonna ‘86 impression was going well, we even had our own version of Terry Fenwick (minus the wife beating) to lunge in and miss the ball, man and any reason to live. Well you know the rest, he skipped merrily through our entire defence and absolutely twated the ball past Royce.
We all know the drill, at 1-0 any team is still in with a chance but 2-0, nah, game over and the previously boisterous travelling fans were reduced to sporadic youthful abuse of their own players and a few defiant choruses but we all knew the score both physically and metaphorically, we’d bumped into a decent enough team on the up, nothing special but in a bit of form, add some luck and they’d cruise past us…
The rest of the game is a bit of a blur, I was just not in the mood, I didn’t realise Mulligan was playing until the second half such was his careful anonymity, Barcham had the odd run, McCammon coped most of the criticism but actually he wasn’t the biggest liability out there – Mullers was whilst at the back we looked a bit twitchy every time City threatened. The game continued on as if it were still 0-0, we looked neat and tidy but lacking in any product, they hit us on the break with more speed and intensity.
Miller went close a couple of times and at the other end City nearly made it three but in the end Lincoln cruised through to a routine 2-0 win. The long overdue flurry of pressure and offensive play late on was simply too little too late, Barcham and Southall fluffed chances to pull back a meaningless consolation but in reality we’d been beaten with ease. We hadn’t been rubbish or thrashed or taken apart, just succumbed meekly having enjoyed more than 50% of the ball but done absolutely fuck all with it. Fucking Hell Gills; that really was quite shit… at least we weren’t abandoned due to snow, that evil black monster obviously dumped it’s full load on Luton and Wycombe instead…
Champagne Moment:- Credit must go to our driver Gemma who, with the help of several bags of sweets, had us back in Canterbury at a quarter to one in the morning. Less than three hours from Lincoln back to the heart of the Garden of England… just what we needed after an instantly forgettable evening at Sincil Bank.
The Unimpressed Binman.