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Lincoln Preview

By: Richard Hubbert
Date: 28/12/2004

IT’S a fixture that both sets of supporters have been looking forward to since the fixtures were released in the summer - the first league meeting between the Mariners and - Town's oldest adversaries - the Imps in fourteen years.

Home > 2004-2005 Season > Previews > Lincoln (a)

Much has changed in the fourteen years since Town were in the league’s basement division - they have been promoted three times, relegated three times and visited Wembley twice. The sides may have met in the league cup in 2001, but this game is far more important with the two sides separated by just two points in league two.

The Opposition

The success of the past two seasons has undoubtedly raised expectations at Sincil Bank. Former Mariner Keith Alexander (left) took over from Alan Buckley in 2002 and has guided the Imps to the play offs both last season and the season before that. This year they will want more of the same, but have had to make up for a pretty poor start to the season - where they won just two of their opening 13 games. But since October, Alexander’s side started to string some victories together, and despite a poor December, still sit in mid table and within striking distance of the play offs.

Their Squad
At the heart of the Imps defence in recent years has been Northern Ireland defender Paul Morgan, who was signed by Alan Buckley from Preston in 2001. He usually plays in a back three along with Ben Futcher, son of Mariners legend Paul Futcher. Futcher put in a transfer request at the end of last season, and has been linked with numerous clubs, but the 6 foot 5 stopper has continued to impress at the back for the Imps. Former Mariner Matt Bloomer (left) has started 17 games for Lincoln this term - he has appeared in central defence, right wing back and even up front in recent seasons. In midfield, Peter Gain is regarded as one of the best midfielders in the division but fortunately for the Mariners, has been injured of late and will probably miss out. This meant Keith Alexander dipping into the transfer market the other week to sign Ritchie Hanlon from Stevenage. Combative midfielder Richard Butcher was snapped up by Lincoln from non league Kettering. Indeed, many of Alexander’s buys have been from non league clubs. Perhaps the most successful being Simon Yeo, who was brought in from Hyde United and has netted 8 goals this season. Also with a non league background is last years top scorer Gary Taylor Fletcher who could return after recent injury. In attack, the vastly experienced Martin Carruthers was brought in from Boston as part of a swap deal with Dean West, while Marcus Richardson had a couple of loan spells with Lincoln last season before the move was made permanent.

Key Player
Alan Marriott (left) has been City’s number one keeper for the past few seasons and is highly regarded by Keith Alexander. A real fans favourite, Marriott is an excellent shot stopper who, like many goalkeepers who have faced Town this year, could be the difference between the two sides.

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Team News


  • Dean Gordon and Colin Cramb have now left the club meaning they will not be involved in the game. They were both on the bench on Boxing Day, meaning that the likes of Darren Mansaram, Graham Hockless and even Simon Ramsden could make the bench.

  • In attack Russell Slade must choose between Michael Reddy and Andy Parkinson to partner new signing Martin Gritton. Parkinson is more likely to get the nod, with Reddy once again on the bench.

  • Slade is likely to stick with the 3-5-2 formation to counter Lincoln’s three man attack, with Rob Jones continuing at the back.
  • Strike duo Francis Green and Gary Taylor-Fletcher could return after a couple of weeks out. Taylor Fletcher could go straight into the starting lineup, whilst Green may have to settle for a place on the bench.

  • Peter Gain has been out for a few weeks with a knee injury and looks set to miss out again, whilst Irish defender Gareth McAuley has been struggling with a calf injury which could rule him out.
  • Probable Teams


    1Anthony Williams
    2John McDermott
    16Ronnie Bull
    6Justin Whittle
    28Terrell Forbes
    18Rob Jones
    15Terry Fleming
    8Jason Crowe
    7Ashley Sestanovich
    10Andy Parkinson
    26Martin Gritton
    1Alan Marriott
    12Matthew Bloomer
    23Jamie McCombe
    5Paul Morgan
    4Ben Futcher
    3Kevin Sandwith
    8Richard Butcher
    7Ciaran Toner
    27Gary Taylor Fletcher
    9Simon Yeo
    28Marcus Richardson



    11Stacy Coldicott
    19Darren Mansaram
    12Graham Hockless
    17Thomas Pinault
    9Michael Reddy
    10Martin Carruthers
    29Lee Frecklington
    15Ritchie Hanlon
    30Francis Green
    20Nathan Peat

    Head to Head

    Town and Lincoln have met 84 times in the FA Cup, League Cup and the League itself (not counting Lincolnshire Cup), despite facing each other just once in the last 14 years (in 2001 in the League Cup). The Mariners have the edge of the Imps, with 37 wins to Lincoln’s 25 - but Town have not won at Sincil Bank since 1957 when they ran out 4-1 winners.

    P 84 W 37 D 22 L 25 F 162 A 121

    Lincoln Head-to-Head (15th on The Opposition Ladder).


  • Down the years, there have been many players (and managers) that have had links with both clubs. In the 1980s, there was a long list of players who played for both sides. George Kerr, like Keith Alexander - had two spells in charge of Lincoln. He was sacked after just a year in 1978 before he joined Town and again from 1985-1987, resulting in Lincoln’s relegation from the football league in 1987.

  • Those to appear for Lincoln were the likes of Kevin Kilmore, Bobby Mitchell, Jimmy Gilligan and Gary Lund. Once Lincoln were relegated and Colin Murphy took over he brought in Nigel Batch and Bobby Cumming with instant results - promotion back into the Fourth Division at the very first attempt. Both of these players were of course Town legends, clocking up 783 appearances between them for the Mariners.

  • Gordon Hobson was highly regarded by both Town and Imps fans. He scored 73 goals in 272 appearances for Lincoln before moving to the Mariners in 1985. He played just 52 times for Town (scoring 18 goals) before he was snapped up by Chris Nicholl at Southampton. He later rejoined the Imps in the late 1980s, continuing to bang in the goals with 22 in 61 games.

  • Paul Groves had a brief loan spell at Sincil Bank at the start of the 1989/90 season - the last time Town were in the bottom division before their relegation in May.

  • Current Mariner Terry Fleming was at Lincoln for five years between 1995 and 2000, when he made 188 starts for the Imps. Lee Thorpe was also at Lincoln for a few seasons - he of course had a short loan spell with Town last season.

  • When legendary Town manager Alan Buckley (above) took over at Sincil Bank in 2001; many ex-Mariners followed. Kingsley Black, who of course scored for Town at Wembley made 30 starts for the Imps before having the remainder of his contract paid up when Lincoln were in administration a few years back.

  • Adam Buckley>, Alan’s son, made 19 starts for Lincoln but last year was found guilty of stealing from his team-mates. Similarly to Black, Ian Hamilton was another to have the remainder of his contract paid up after joining from Notts County in 2001. Hamilton had a six game loan spell for Town in 1999 when the Mariners were in the First Division.

  • Luke Cornwall formed a good partnership with Livvo for the Mariners under Lennie Lawrence, but had a disappointing loan spell with the Imps in the 2002/03 season. He played for both Bradford and Woking last season.

  • Last Meeting

    The last time Town met Lincoln was in the League Cup in 2001 when Town won 2-1 with late goals from Phil Jevons and Jonny Rowan. Alan Buckley was managing Lincoln and returned to Blundell Park for the first time since his dismissal in 2000. Tony Battersby had given the Imps the lead after 34 minutes, but Town pushed forward to win the game. Starting a League Cup run that saw them beat Liverpool at Anfield until they were beaten by Arsenal at Highbury. The previous league meeting was in 1990 when a Dave Gilbert penalty in front of over 11,000 at Blundell Park saw Town win 1-0. The last league game at Sincil Bank was a 1-1 draw with Keith Alexander, now Imps manager of course, scoring for Town and Paul Smith netting for Lincoln.

    Grimsby Team: Coyne, McDermott, Gallimore, Chapman (Ford, 79), Willems, Pouton, Campbell, Groves, Butterfield, Jeffrey (Rowan, 69), Jevons
    Subs: (not used) Ermes, Busscher, Morgan

    Lincoln Team: Marriott, Barnett, Bimson, Morgan, Holmes, Sedgemore, Black, Finnigan, Battersby (Walker, 88), Thorpe, Gain
    Subs: (not used) Buckley, Brown, Pettinger

    Attendance: 5,906    Report


    Mmmm, so far I have been ridiculously rubbish at predicting scores this season - Town are rubbish away from home and Lincoln are a better away side. Therefore a 1-1 draw seems sensible!


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