Sixer’s Lincoln City Soapbox: on watching a team in red and white dominate

Jake recalls a grey day

Malcolm Dawson writes……the last time I went to Sincil Bank, I had a nice day out with other members of the Heart of England Branch, spending time in the Lincoln City Social Club before witnessing a 1-0 win in the F.A. Cup. The last time I went to Lincoln I was enjoying a day out with a friend of mine and her (at that time) young son. We walked the walls, went in the Cathedral, looked in a few shops and had a decent dinner somewhere so my memories of the city are pleasant ones. So were Pete Sixsmith‘s until about 3.05 pm yesterday afternoon. Let him explain……

LOST IN LINCOLN

In the dim and distant past, Bruce Forsyth used to ask contestants on Beat the Clock, to rearrange words into a well known phrase or saying.

Let’s see what you, dear reader, can do with these:

Lincoln end embarrassing could the beginning debacle of be at This.

Although you may have framed these words into a question, if you came up with “This embarrassing debacle at Lincoln could be the beginning of the end?” you would be on the same wavelength as me. If you were to add “And the quicker Jack Ross leaves, the better for all concerned” you would be echoing the thoughts of the vast majority of the Sunderland supporters who entered Sincil Bank with a modicum of optimism and left (many of them before the final whistle) with that optimism gone.

Alright my loves? Not if you were in the away end yesterday.

This was by far the worst performance of the manager’s time on Wearside. Buoyed by two decent wins, we went into a game against opponents who appeared to be mourning the departure of the Cowley Brothers and who looked to be in a state of emotional collapse.

The Sincil Drain

Last time at their pleasant and atmospheric Sincil Bank, they collapsed to a 0-6 pummelling by Oxford United. Last weekend, they lost at Blackpool, albeit to a last-minute goal. So, they came into this game needing to show their noisy and boisterous support, that the mourning period was over and that “The King(s) is (are) dead. Long live the King.” New manager Michael Appleton and his players responded splendidly. Ours, manager and players, were supine. To describe it as a disappointment is like saying that Michael Gove is mildly irritating.

If you want a “d” word to cover it, how about “dross”, “Dismal”, “disgraceful”. That’ll do at the moment.

When we heard the team, the general feeling was that an unchanged side with a decent bench was just the ticket. The two new defenders would be able to further embed themselves in, the Wyke/O’Nien combination would have another chance to show its worth and McGeoch and Power would hopefully replicate their first half dominance of the previous Saturday.

Well, we got that embarrassingly wrong didn’t we.

They came at us right from the start and produced a performance that had pace, power and positivity. Our response was ponderous, feeble and lacking in any positivity whatsoever as we were outplayed and outfought by a side who had been clearly instructed about our weaknesses and had been drilled to take advantage of them. I imagine that their scouting report on last Saturday suggested that we were slow in the build-up, liked to turn back on ourselves and had no real urgency in the opposition box.

It may well have said that certain players like to hold the ball too long, others are uncomfortable when a quick player runs at them and they offer little up front. And the goalkeeper is going through a dodgy spell. If it didn’t identify those failings, the scout wasn’t doing his job.

Jon McLaughlin has been below the impeccably high standards that he set last season. Many felt that he should have done better with the goal he conceded last week. This week, he was indecisive when coming for a dinked pass by Eardley and was bundled over by Tyler Walker, resulting in either Walker’s 7th goal of the season or an own goal by the keeper. Let’s give it to Tyler.

Bruno Andrade

We had one opportunity to level the scores, when De Bock, who was given a torrid time by Bruno Andrade, hit a fine shot which had Josh Vickers stretching to tip over the bar, but that was it. Nothing else. Vickers had a quiet afternoon as our attempts to salvage something foundered.

Walker hit the post with a penalty after De Bock pulled down Andrade following a scintillating move from The Imps which started deep in their half and quickly moved into our box. The manager responded by hauling off Maguire and Gooch (each equally ineffective) and sending on McGeady and McNulty to supplement Wyke. Alas, it gave Lincoln even more room and another flowing move allowed the unmarked Andrade to gallop away and play a superb first-time ball in for Walker to stab home with Lynch and Willis nowhere near him.

We could have gone home then. There were some dismal attempts to get back into the game, but the City defence was comfortable with the limited options that we had and they were worthy winners at the end. They had everything that we lack. They have pace in Andrade. We have Gooch. They have a goal scorer in Walker. We have Wyke. They have busy central midfield players who move the ball quickly. We are slow and ponderous. They have central defenders who have that security blanket in front of them. We have defenders who are always plugging gaps.

The crowd were nowhere near as unpleasant as at Bolton two weeks ago but there was little support for either players or manager. It may well be that he is coming to the end of his time at Sunderland. He has not improved the side at all over the summer – in fact, we have gone backwards and the reliance on McGeady to pull some magic out is embarrassing.

Whether the current owners want to appoint a new man with the takeover talks at a delicate phase is unlikely, which gives Ross a week or two to sort out this shambles as another debacle at Wycombe will surely tip him over the edge. Nothing less than a run of victories and some flowing, interesting football will satisfy and convince supporters that he is any better than Moyes, Grayson or Coleman.

As often happens, the game spoilt a pleasant day. The trip down was quiet and uneventful, we arrived in Lincoln in ample time to sample some of its many delights and most of us did. I wandered into the very busy city centre, swarming with shoppers and students and full of busy shops. There were even people buying things in Debenhams!!!

I strolled up to the Cathedral up Steep Hill, the most appropriately named thoroughfare in the UK, and popped in to see if the Imp had been doing his a*** kicking routine. I was assured that he hadn’t and that he was saving that for Sincil Bank later in the afternoon. He should have stayed in his place in the roof and spared us all an embarrassing afternoon which makes me think very hard about wasting time and money on trips all over the country. Visits to Shrewsbury and Oxford are looking increasingly unlikely.

Let’s finish as we started, but no answers this time. I invite you to rearrange these words into a well known phrase or saying;

Are Saturday of there ways afternoon. better a spending

Not difficult is it……?

Lowlights of the game via safc.com

Sixer’s Sevens: Lincoln 2 Sunderland 0, Sixsmith 4

At 3,12pm the BBC reported Chris Maguire had been sent off. In the absence of any confirmation from Pete Sixsmith I went looking elsewhere and found a site that gave the score at 2-0. It was quickly corrected to 1-0, something Pete did confirm. How many League games since we prevented our opponents from scoring?

Pete became a bit busier after half-time, sending four seven word texts instead of the usual one:

A performance flatter than the Lincolnshire countryside

Imps cause Ross all kinds of trouble

Outplayed and out thought by rampant Imps

And one that says it all:

Read moreSixer’s Sevens: Lincoln 2 Sunderland 0, Sixsmith 4

The first time ever I saw your ground: Lincoln City and Sincil Bank

Pete Sixsmith, Montgomery and other heroes

Johnn McCormick writes: Today, we welcome the return of an excellent but brief series, twice. This is a repost because we appear once again to have been visited by the purveyor of Turkish massage sites. So if you’ve seen this before please accept our apologies. If you haven’t here’s another piece to enjoy. 

Pete Sixsmith is a member of the 92 club and over the previous two seasons he has regaled us with tales of visits to grounds in Divisions two and three, and tales of visits by Division two and three clubs to Roker Park and the Stadium of Light. Then we ran out of new grounds and the series ended.

Until today. Lincoln City tootled up from non-League to League Two and League One in fine style, and now we’re off to play them.

But not for the first time. Over to Mr Sixsmith

Read moreThe first time ever I saw your ground: Lincoln City and Sincil Bank

Lincoln City vs Sunderland: more points on the board please, Lads

Jake: nowt for Lincoln City and three or four for SAFC would make for a good-looking scoreline’


A well-known writer
on Sunderland AFC has solemnly declared that this Saturday’s visit to Lincoln City will be the farthest south he will travel this season in the cause of following the team.

It remains to be seen whether that writer, none other than our own Pete Sixsmith, will maintain this boycott of half the country if promotion ends up being potentially sealed at, say, Burton in April. Or indeed if we return to Wembley for some reason.

Read moreLincoln City vs Sunderland: more points on the board please, Lads

Promotion poll: Sunderland vie with Portsmouth but can Burton, Lincoln or Doncaster make top six?

John McCormick, associate editor, writes: things have quietened down with our ‘who to follow’ poll, as we might expect. Portsmouth, Sunderland and Ipswich are clear leaders, with not much between them, after which we have Rotherham and Peterborough. Then comes Coventry, followed at a distance by Donny, Lincoln and Burton.

That’s interesting because on Wednesday over at  Roker Report, Nick Barnes, who knows more about football than I ever will,  identified Lincoln and Burton as teams that could mount a challenge to Sunderland, along with Ipswich, Portsmouth, Peterborough and Coventry. He didn’t mention Rotherham.

I could extend our watch list to eight clubs, even nine on the grounds that Donny are ahead of Lincoln and Burton in our poll, and I have added clubs during the season – Luton last season being the most recent – but it makes graphics difficult to follow. So I’m going to stick with six.

Read morePromotion poll: Sunderland vie with Portsmouth but can Burton, Lincoln or Doncaster make top six?

Portsmouth then Sunderland, Ipswich, Rotherham, Peterborough and Coventry top our poll. But where are Lincoln?

On Friday we had over 3,000 visitors, followed by a quiet weekend. Not everyone took part in our top six poll  but over 1200 votes (not voters) have now been cast. That’s not bad, I suppose, for a League One fans’ site but I am expecting a few more will chip in before the season kicks off.

Early results suggest the headline I used then – for which I visited a couple of betting sites to find the promotion favourites – was on the right lines. Of the six clubs I named five are in the top spots. Lincoln (currently lingering in 8th place) are the exception with Sunderland, unsurprisingly, replacing them. There’s a gap – slight but quite evident – between the top three and the next three,  after which numbers drop off, so Lincoln and Doncaster, who made last season’s playoffs and now lie seventh, have quite a bit of ground to make up.

All of the clubs in the League received votes, which I’m taking to signify that we  managed a wide reach. It will be interesting to see if enough fans of so-called smaller clubs, which are predominantly towards the bottom of the poll, visit in large enough numbers to move their favourites upwards. Crowdwise, numbers are against them but we have only small numbers voting so you never know.

Read morePortsmouth then Sunderland, Ipswich, Rotherham, Peterborough and Coventry top our poll. But where are Lincoln?

Ipswich or Portsmouth? Rotherham or Peterborough? How about Lincoln or Coventry? It’s your choice

Last season our punters got it more or less right and correctly predicted most of the top six. Luton were missed but that was mainly down to the Coventry Ninjas, whose hijack of last year’s poll pushed them (Luton) out of the top places.

Maybe the ninjas or another club’s fans will do the same again this season. As far as I’m aware the polldaddy vulnerability that allowed multiple voting still exists and all I can do is disable the ability of readers to see the results in real time. That might change how the poll coding works (it’s built-in and can’t be changed) but it takes something away. A pity, but there we go.

I’ve got a lot on for the next few weeks so I won’t be conjuring up a novel method of tracking and displaying our chosen clubs’ progress or the lack of it. All I’ll be doing is monitoring the accretion of points for now, though I might come up with something different later in the season.

As always, your comments are welcome. We hold posts for moderation but they do go up eventually, subject to meeting commonsense rules of decency, manners, libel etc.

Read moreIpswich or Portsmouth? Rotherham or Peterborough? How about Lincoln or Coventry? It’s your choice

Rambling through Accrington, Coventry and Ipswich to Lincoln. How do Sunderland’s rivals shape up financially?

League One comprises 24 clubs. Three of them, Bury, Bolton and Blackpool, are entering, exiting or plodging in the clarts of receivership. Leaving them and Sunderland aside gives us twenty clubs.

I thought I’d take a look at their finances. Nothing detailed, just a skim through any entries at Companies House and a quick perusal of a search engine, enough to kill some time I have and satisfy idle curiosity. My idea was to divide the twenty into two and cover 10 clubs each time. After that matters should have moved ahead with the Lancashire Bs and Sunderland’s takeover and I should be able to revisit these four.

Read moreRambling through Accrington, Coventry and Ipswich to Lincoln. How do Sunderland’s rivals shape up financially?

Words and pictures: Lasses beating Lincoln to set up Arsenal tie

They've done it!

This is the moment Sunderland Women’s Football Club knew they had beaten much-fancied Lincoln City to advance into the quarter-finals of the FA Women’s Cup.

The prize is a 6th round tie at home to Arsenal, who will start favourites but arrive at Hetton knowing they face determined opposition.

Read moreWords and pictures: Lasses beating Lincoln to set up Arsenal tie

Arsenal at home in the semi-finals

Photo - from last season - courtesy of Sunderland Women's Football Club: click for full view


Who said Arsenal’s season was disintegrating?

Well, after the Carling Cup final defeat against Birmingham, a task too great at the Nou Camp and a 2-0 exit from the FA Cup at Old Trafford – not to mention finding Sunderland impossible to beat at the Emirates somewhere in between – quite a few have harboured such such thoughts.

And now, they may be in for another setback.

Read moreArsenal at home in the semi-finals