Corpus/Linacre regroup to level Lincoln

This league one clash between promoted Corpus/Linacre and relegated Lincoln promised a tantalising spectacle, pitting two teams with something to prove against each other. It appeared to be running predictably, with ex-premiership Lincoln controlling a scrappy game to score either side of the half, until Corpus/Linacre suddenly netted a pair. As the final whistle blew at 2-2, the match had provided high octane entertainment without answering any questions; both teams will be relieved to have avoided defeat but also regret failing to carve out a win.

Corpus/Linacre kicked off, but Lincoln claimed possession and swarmed past the right-back to win the first of a series of throw-ins. Corpus/Linacre were reduced to repeatedly booting the ball up-field in defence, and could not contrive any convincing response. Lincoln though, lacked the penetration to capitalise on this pressure. Their tall number 12 was unable to make his presence felt, except for one neat dummy past two defenders, as the game began to assume a back-and-forth rallying.

Corpus/Linacre started to have some joy down the left, mostly due to the impressive Carl Gaffney. Lincoln still appeared the stronger in this haphazard game, however, withtheir defence unflappably dealing with their opposition’s. Although Corpus/Linacre created a chance from a corner, Lincoln generated a far more purposeful air.

‘Lincoln’s goal was bombarded’

Left-back McMurray shuttled up and down the wing with vigour, enabling striker Josh Thomas to shoot wide, and soon after centre-mid Biggs made an aerial pass to the right wing that resulted in Webber scrambling through a cloud of defenders to poke the ball in by the far post.

Corpus/Linacre responded to this setback with genuine energy. Their captain produced a good run on the right, but lacking support had to settle for a corner. From this, Lincoln’s goal was bombarded, twice requiring goal-line clearances, but once again Corpus/Linacre could not put the chances away. Miletic again led his team forward, but was neatly cut off by centre-back Morten. Lincoln’s defence perhaps looked more solid than it was, lacking any real test. Indeed, when Miletic ceased looking to his team-mates and pressed forward alone, he managed to cut through and was stopped only by the keeper sliding at his feet.

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Lincoln looked comfortable, but suggestions of flaws in their play began to show in the second half. They claimed a second quickly, Thomas exploiting his pace to rush through a buckling defence and tap past the keeper, which should have made the game theirs. For a while, this seemed so; Corpus/Linacre threw themselves forward but still seemed to lack edge. Their centre-forward Francis Carr threaded through to Gaffney, who could not quite match the speed of Morten, appearing swiftly to close him down. A free kick soon after turned into a tame trickle to the Lincoln wall.

‘A draw was a suitable result’

Corpus/Linacre’s energy did pay off though as Carr benefitted from a nice pass from Miletic to make a simple finish, Lincoln’s absent defence at fault. Lincoln themselves felt this, re-discovering their aggressive intent; Thomas shot wide, and Biggs scooped over.

However, they clearly felt restricted by the pressure, pulling every player save Thomas back to defend a corner. There could be no solution to Tom Guest though, who curved the ball over the defence with a spectacular overhead kick into the top left corner.

Corpus/Linacre were invigorated, while Lincoln, pushed out of their comfort zone, couldn’t struggle back. Gaffney and Carr combined again for the latter to shoot onto the cross-bar, and any Lincoln counter-attacks were quickly stifled.With both teams chastened, the frenetic final few minutes yielded no further score, and a draw was perhaps the only suitable result for a game of such sudden switches and reversals.