Goals from Jake Wetherall and Morgan Penfold earned Lincoln City a comfortable victory over Worksop Town on my first ever visit to Sandy Lane and first game of the 2016/17 season.
Just 23 days on from watching Germany v Poland at the Stade de France, I was back attending live football at the rather different surrounding of Sandy Lane!
Heavy rainfall in the morning had put the contest into doubt but the emerging sunshine meant that, following a pitch inspection, the meeting between these two non-league sides would indeed go ahead and be my first live game of the new campaign.
Worksop Town were founded in 1930 and currently play in the NCEL Premier Division, the fifth tier of non-league and ninth overall. The Tigers have enjoyed greater successes in the past – notably three straight seasons in the Conference North, just two below the football league, from 2004 to 2007 as well as reaching the FA Cup 3rd round in 1955 before losing 1-0 away to Swindon Town.
Today’s opponents Lincoln City, themselves having enjoyed better years as they prepare for a sixth consecutive season in non-league, were also the opponents in Sandy Lane’s curtain-raiser back in 1992. The stadium is a good standard for the level with a capacity of 2,500, 200 of which are seated.
319 spectators, including many supporting the visitors, were in attendance this afternoon to enjoy what has become a regular pre-season fixture for the two sides. But it quickly became clear that this would be a very different affair to last season, where the hosts ran out 7-2 winners against a youthful Imps line-up.
It took only four minutes for the visitors to open the scoring when Wetherall stabbed home from inside the area after the Tigers’ defence failed to fully deal with an early corner.
Lincoln were comfortably on top and at times they looked to be threatening a similar outcome to their 5-1 victory at Grantham Town the previous evening in the quarter-finals of the Lincolnshire Senior Cup.
However, goalkeeper Ryan Graves pulled out a couple of decent stops and accompanied by some resolute Worksop defending, the scoreline remained 1-0 until the half-time break.
An almost entirely different Lincoln side reappeared for the second half, but they carried on in much the same fashion and had doubled their lead by the 53rd minute when trialist Penfold bundled the ball home after Graves failed to hold the cross from Andy Wright.
Worksop rarely threatened and the deficit almost increased in the final ten minutes when Elliott Hodge’s effort struck the crossbar, but in the end the Imps had to settle for a rather comfortable 2-0 victory on an entertaining afternoon at Sandy Lane.
Worksop Town 0–2 Lincoln City
Jake Wetherall ‘4, Morgan Penfold ’53
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