It’s fair comment to say we don’t like Lincoln City. When the teams met regularly during our time in the Football League, I don’t recall the rivalry being that fierce. We competed at opposite ends of the table, with Lincoln reaching the play-offs on a number of occasions under the stewardship of the late Keith Alexander but never quite achieving promotion and Boston content to avoid relegation.
But over this last season or two, when Boston have been successful in righting the wrongs of the previous owners, they’ve come on to the radar as rivals again, a situation helped by their relegation from League Two last season. The collapse was quite spectacular and culminated in an abysmal final day 3-0 defeat to Aldershot that, coupled with Barnet’s 1-0 win over Port Vale, sent them into the Conference for the first time since 1988. I was outside the ground with JB at the final whistle to enact what had become a familiar terrace ditty on our away jaunts - we went to Sincil Bank to laugh at Lincoln.
Saturday was the first round of fixtures in the Football League and the fact they weren’t in competitive action must have grated in the minds of the travelling Lincoln fans. As would the prospect of an opening day trip to Southport next weekend - what a comedown and a reality check. Still, on this evidence, they look a decent bet to be challenging at the top of the table. Don’t be fooled by the narrow scoreline, Lincoln were the better side by a fair distance and the seven goals the result of some ponderous defending on account of both sides which needs to be erased pretty quickly.
A number of the Lincoln support took the resumption of county hostilities a little too literally. The remnants of the Lincoln Transit Elite - active in the heyday of football hooliganism - decided to have a little day out. After creating trouble in Wetherspoons, they tried to mingle with the Boston fans. Trouble is, we’re such a tightly knit group of supporters and we all recognise each other’s faces that newcomers, particularly pig ugly, forty-something, tattooed thugs intoxicated and barely able to stand straight, are identified and reported to the police pretty quickly. What an embarrassment to their club. Just accept those days are gone and try and get yourself off benefits.
Watching these animals being herded about by the local police and stewards detracted from an entertaining opening to the match and I missed Lincoln’s opening two goals by keeping a watchful eye on events at the front of the Town End. Mikel Suarez rattled the crossbar early on, but The Gimps took control after John Nutter’s quickly-taken free-kick (that’s the description from the official website, I didn’t it as I say).
Gavin McCallum doubled the lead, firing past an exposed Paul Bastock, who was understandably livid with his defence for conceding such a straightforward goal. This became a common theme and I doubt Bazza’s blood pressure was helped any by the two goals we let in during the second-half. There was a reprieve when, in their brightest spell just before the break, Ben Milnes followed up on the rebound after Marc Newsham’s penalty was saved by Doug Lindberg. Thankfully I managed to see that goal!
The crowd trouble sapped all atmosphere during the second-half and if the LTE had sobered up enough they would have seen the restoration of the two-goal cushion through Alan Power. This third goal was the most frustrating, coming literally seconds after Kevin Holsgrove was denied in a one-on-one at the other end which would have squared the game.
Suarez pulled one back and the home crowd’s interest briefly lifted again, but awful defending allowed Brad Barraclough the opportunity to make it 4-2. Bazza booted the sponsor board in sheer frustration - this is an issue which needs addressing before we start the campaign proper next weekend at Workington. Newsham pulled one back in stoppage time to make the scoreline more respectable but the bragging rights went to Lincoln this time.
Next Match: Hoping to make the epic trip to Workington for the first league match next Saturday, but otherwise the first home against Histon the Tuesday after.