Sports: New season, news faces but old qualities remain crucial to Lincoln City’s success

Sports: New season, news faces but old qualities remain crucial to Lincoln City’s success

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The Cowleys have revamped Lincoln City’s attacking options and style of play over the summer as they look to bridge the sizeable gap between League Two and League One.

But they also knew it was essential that any improvements were not to the detriment of the qualities which have brought so much success over the last three years.

If the outstanding 2-0 win is anything to go by, they appeared to have got that delicate balance just right so far.

“We showed resilience, determination and grit, which are attributes you need if you’re going to win away from home,” said Danny Cowley after the game, although that particular verdict could have come after numerous important wins during the Cowleys era.

As is often the case after a memorable Imps win, it was a true team effort, demonstrated by the fact calling a man of the match was so difficult to call.

Any of the back five, including Josh Vickers, who made an astonishing save late on, were valid shouts.

But Cowley felt Tyler Walker’s display of tireless running summed up Lincoln’s performance.

“They put their bodies on the line, they fight hard for the team and they go to end,” he added.

“They’re the qualities we have in the group. I don’t think it’s something you can give to someone. We’ve got character and a team ethic. We’re always team first.

“Tyler Walker fed on scraps all game, but his work-rate, running and defending from the front…. He didn’t wake up this morning thinking about those things, but the fact he was willing to do that for the team was a real positive for us.”

Tyler Walker sends in the cross which led the Imps' first goal
Tyler Walker sends in the cross which led the Imps’ first goal
(Image: CameraSport – Chris Vaughan)

Walker was instrumental as the Imps took the lead against the run of play just before half-time.

After being found by Neal Eardley’s free-kick, Walker drilled the ball into the side-yard box, where it was turned into his own net by Alex MacDonald.

After blunting a strong Rotherham side in the first half, the Imps asserted themselves more in the second period and struck again when Harry Anderson powered home Jorge Grant’s corner.

“We didn’t manage to get control of the game in the first half, from restarts or throw-ins,” reflected Cowley.

“You have to have to give credit to them [Rotherham], they’re a physically dominant team who work ever so hard.

“We couldn’t get many passes off, but we got the goal. It was a brilliant run from Tyler. He’s got the timing and shape of his runs off to a tee.

“It gave us a good position in the game at half-time. I was pleased with the second half. We played the game in their half and scored from another good set-piece.”

After the toughest pre-season of time at Sincil Bank and with a squad light in numbers, the Imps boss is trying to temper expectations.

In such a competitive league, there will be tough days ahead, but the 2,000-plus travelling fans had every right to keep dreaming as they left the impressive New York Stadium.

 

“We were playing against a team that has just come down from the Championship, and we all know the gap between the Championship and League One, let alone the gap between the Championship and League Two,” said Cowley, whose side are just one of three teams in the division with maximum points from two games.

“We knew there was a huge gap to bridge and I am really proud of the boys and their efforts.

“We have to realistic. While it’s a brilliant start for us, we’re not going to keep getting through [with such a small squad].

“But tonight we don’t have to worry about that. We can feel pleased and focus on the qualities that have gained us a win away from home.”

 



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