Spring and snow arrived forcing the Coventry game to be postponed at the last minute to the end of April and an almost playoff decider – see later in the report.
Mansfield away followed and a last gasp Ollie Palmer equaliser would prove vital at the end of the season earned Lincoln a draw. Two 3-1 victories followed – away at Chesterfield, who are on the brink of relegation, and local rivals Grimsby in freezing blizzard like conditions.
0-0 away at Morecambe took us to Easter. Exeter on Good Friday – a really entertaining 3-2 win after coming back from behind and a tough 1-0 win at Carlisle on Easter Monday.
Sunday 8 May was the day fans had been waiting for, Lincoln City’s first trip to Wembley. Around 27,000 imps made the journey down to London in buses, trains, cars and with over 40 coaches travelling from the club. The atmosphere was electric, and the stadium was a sea of red and white with Lincoln outnumbering their Shrewsbury counterparts by at least two to one. Elliot Whitehouse scored the only goal of the game, putting Lincoln ahead in the first half and Ryan Allsop kept Lincoln ahead with a great save. A fully deserved 1-0 win meant Lincoln claimed the Checkatrade Trophy.
Following on from the excitement of Wembley came a disappointing 1-0 defeat at Port Vale and a frustrating 0-0 against former imp Gareth Ainsworths Wycombe set us up for a must win game v Colchester and with Michael Bostwick sent off it needed a last minute winner from Luke Waterfall to maintain the play off push.
Next came a brilliant 4-2 win at fellow play off chasers Coventry, backed by almost 3,500 fans meant a point was needed in the final two games, to ensure playoff position. A 1-0 defeat at champions Accrington left it to the final game at home to Yeovil. A crowd of over 10,000 saw Lincoln get the point required with a superb Tom Pett equalizer sending them to meet Exeter in the Playoffs. After the game the fans got to witness Neal Eardley and Michael Bostwick receive their well-earned player of the season awards.
The home leg was held on Saturday 12 May, live on Sky Sports in front of a vibrant atmosphere, the game finished 0-0. Matt Rhead hitting the bar was Lincoln’s best opportunity of the match. This result meant it was all to play for on Thursday night at Exeter. Unfortunately though it was not the Imps night. After having a goal controversially disallowed, Lincoln went down 3-1 resulting in losing out on the opportunity for a second trip to Wembley this season. Another year in division 2 beckons.
For a 1st year back in the football league I don’t think many Lincoln fans could have hoped for more – losing in the playoffs and a historical victorious visit to Wembley. Alex Woodyard has already left but with a few new signings on the horizon a new season can only be viewed with immense optimism.
Onwards and upwards! #UTI