Home > Football, Previous clubs > My time at Lincoln City..Part 4. Another play-off disapointment

My time at Lincoln City..Part 4. Another play-off disapointment



Mansfield Town away for me was one of the most memorable days of my career. It was one of those days where everything I hit seemed to go in. I scored four goals for the first time in the league in my career. I had scored four on a few occasions in reserve matches over the years but they don’t count. It does when there are league points at stake.

When I arrived at Lincoln City Paul Mayo was the penalty taker. His penalties were ferocious. He has a cracking left foot on him and he blasted his penalties. I always liked taking penalties. Obviously it was a superb goal scoring opportunity but I always liked the pressure that came with taking penalties. Pass or fail. It was one or the other. Missing was a horrible experience and it could ruin your performance for the remainder of a match if you allow it to. I missed one of my few penalties at home to MK Dons which really annoyed me. We were 0-2 down just before half time and pulled one back only to be given a penalty to draw level. The keeper guessed correctly and saved it. I remember chewing over it for the whole of the half time period. It did cost us as we lost the match in the end, our first defeat of that season.

Back to the Mansfield game. As Paul Mayo had missed the last penalty away at Torquay I decided to get myself on them. I got two penalties that day to go with my other two from open play. I always enjoyed playing against Mansfield and scored against them many times over the years. This match got me off and running for the season which came as a huge relief after starting the season slowly in terms of goals.

We were a free scoring team in the first half of that season. We had goal threats from all over the pitch. We always thought that we could outscore any team we came up against. We let a fair few in at the other end so I guess we were good to watch. Many people tell me that particular Lincoln City team of that time was the most pleasing on the eye that they have seen. We really should have achieved promotion that season. We fell away in the second half of the season and stumbled into the play-offs. There were lots of opinions why we didn’t do it. I know that John wanted to strengthen the squad in the January window but wasn’t able to get the players he wanted. Our small squad probably couldn’t cope well enough with the long season that panned out too. Although we had a good blend of youth and experience I don’t think that the squad as a whole had enough depth. I also think that opposition teams wised up to us too. They knew our strengths and combated them effectively enough to annul us.

Bristol Rovers awaited us in the play-offs. We played them in the league towards the end of the regular season and it seemed that they had more than an uphill task to reach the top seven. I had a great chance to win the game and all but end their play-off hopes but squandered it. That came to haunt us unfortunately. They were my previous club who hadn’t wanted me so I was very keen to beat them.

A tough away leg saw us return to Sincil Bank with a 2-1 deficit to overturn. We thought we could do it but two early goals at Sincil Bank made it a very tough ask. We put up a fight but in the end we were second best over the two legs. It was a tough defeat to take. My old club had got the better of me and I also thought that it was maybe my last chance to play at the new Wembley and gain promotion. Although I had another year left on my contract you can never take a play-off place for granted.

So the second season in a row had finished at the play-off semi final stage. A horrible way for a season to finish but overall you have to say that it was a successful one. The wage bill had been cut and we had lost McCombe and McAuley as well as a couple of others. That defeat stayed with me all summer and I was glad to get back for the start of pre-season training in the July.



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