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Posted: Fri 14 Apr 2017
Author: Patrick Tinkler
Image by: Pinnacle

Gaffer's focus shifts to taking on Braintree at Plainmoor on Monday

Player-manager Kevin Nicholson was wary that his players shift their focus to Monday’s match against Braintree, in what will be a crucial match in deciding whether we stay in the National League.

“What I saw there a fantastic performance and great football – alright they have switched off a couple of times at the end and it has cost them dearly,” said Nicholson. “Fortunately when you are having a season like Lincoln are those things go for you, and when things are where we are they don’t. What I saw today was a =n incredible amount of hope, an incredible amount of fight. If we play like that in the last three games there’s no reason why we can’t win them all.

The Gaffer will give his players little time to get over today’s result.

“We knew going into today that regardless of what the result was we would have to beat Braintree on Monday. That’s not changed. I expect those players, like I have just told them in there, to pick themselves up quickly, mature very fast, because it would be easy to come away from here thinking that the world’s against you. I’ve seen that the results haven’t gone our way either. It could be very easy for them to mope, and I don’t do that. What we do is brush ourselves down, give them an hour to get their head around it, and then we come in tomorrow – we recover and make sure we’re ready to put in a performance like that on Monday and if we do, no doubt we’ll win.”

“Lincoln started so fast and so aggressive – balls into the box and Matt Rhead is so hard to handle and they do that well. We dug in and they lost some of their momentum halfway through the second half. It evened out a little bit, they came good again towards the end [of the first half] and we saw that out no problem.

United’s looked like taking all three points when Ruairi Keating scored his third goal of the season in the 78th minute, but Nicholson blamed a lack of concentration for letting the Imps back into the game.

“Second half I thought we were fantastic. We broke on them every time we could - looked solid at the back. It was a fantastic free-kick from their guy to win it but the two main things are – you can’t stop Matt Rhead sometimes. He’s so good at what he does you can’t worry about winning the first one but you’ve got to get the second. We’ve done that great all game and then one switch off allowed them to get a shot on and a good save and their lad’s following up just as good strikers do. And then a fantastic free-kick, but we shouldn’t be giving away free-kicks away on the edge of our box with two minutes to go. It was poor from us. They are the two things that have cost us.

“Nothing much has changed; we knew were going to have to win against Braintree. My hope for the lads is that they can take all of the good stuff that they did today, brush themselves down, recover, and do it again on Monday. If they do then we’ll probably be one point off safety with two games to go. With other teams playing each other, it is in our hands.”