The Verdict: A sobering end to a terrible year
We look at the talking points as Town end 2019 on the wrong end of an eight-goal thriller at Sincil Bank.
Both Town and Lincoln were certainly not in goalscoring form coming into Sunday’s clash at Sincil Bank, with neither teams expecting an eight-goal thriller. The fact that Town were facing Lincoln in a league fixture will tell you much about the contrasting forms of the two teams over the last 12 months and probably in truth, the whole decade.
After struggling in recent weeks to create clearcut chances, let alone score goals, three goals in any match should be enough for Town to claim maximum points. Unfortunately though, it was Town’s ability to defend which is now under scrutiny, with Lincoln looking like scoring with nearly every attack.
Admittedly, the withdrawal of Janoi Donacien at 1-1 certainly didn’t help the course. Town then had to shift Edwards to a makeshift right-back role, on a booking, alongside Woolfenden, Chambers and Garbutt. From that moment an already ‘shaky’ defence looked like a defence who had never played together before. In truth, it wasn’t just the back four’s fault, they were not helped by another abject performance from Will Norris in goal, nor the midfield and attack who provided little assistance in the defending department.
The Holy One
Signed from Gillingham on a free transfer in the summer, Holy enjoyed a terrific start to life with Ipswich Town. It wasn’t that long ago that Holy nearly entered the record books in keeping six consecutive clean sheets but had to settle with equally the record with five.
After back to back defeats against Accrington Stanley and Rotherham, Lambert then opted to go with Will Norris at Southend and has been tinkering between the two ever since.
For much of the season there has been little between the two, but in the last few weeks Holy’s stock has seemingly risen after some pretty poor performances from the on-loan Wolves keeper. Norris is thought to have better distribution than Holy, maybe. But for me, a goalkeeper’s job is first and foremost to keep the ball out of the net. Holy has done that more often than not this season, whilst commanding his box and in my memory not letting the team down.
Lambert kept his Town players in the dressing room for an hour after the full-time whistle on Sunday. After appearing for his post-match comments, he explained that a few ‘harsh truths’ were said in a controlled manner.
The rotation policy is something that Chambers eluded too in his post-match comments and surely something that must have been raised in the meeting. There will be the usual talk of going ‘back to basics’ for the New Years Day clash at Wycombe Wanderers but right now talk is cheap.
In a game which was a frustrating one in the main, there was perhaps one positive. After going 1-0 down, there was a reaction. Town dominated the next half an hour and deservedly equaliser through Garbutt’s free-kick.
The play was free flowing and chances were being made a lot more frequently than in recent weeks. However, after Donacien was substituted with an injury, Lincoln then wrestled the momemtum back hitting the post before finishing the half in the lead after a Norris howler.
The rest as they say is history.
Most, if not all Town fans will be glad to see the back of 2019. A year which saw Town drop to the third tier of English football for the first time since 1957. A lot of Town’s year was summed up in the 90+ minutes at Sincil Bank, too easy to score against but still give the fans that glimmer of hope. What is it they say, it’s the hope that kills you?!
Now going into the New Year, Town sit in fourth position in League One, six points behind leaders Wycombe Wanderers (who Town travel to on New Years Day) and only three points ahead of tenth placed Blackpool.
The slump of form which Town are in as seen Paul Lambert’s men take 10 points from a possible 33. Time to stick together!