Sports: Pointless possession stats and Jack Payne’s Championship quality – talking points from Lincoln City’s win at Huddersfield Town

Sports: Pointless possession stats and Jack Payne’s Championship quality – talking points from Lincoln City’s win at Huddersfield Town

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Lincoln City booked a place in the second round of the Carabao Cup with a terrific 1-0 win at Huddersfield Town, with Harry Anderson scoring the only goal of the game.

A great night got even better when the Imps were paired with Everton in the second round, with the Premier League side to visit Sincil Bank in the week commencing August 26.

Imps writer Mark Whiley examines some talking points from the tie.

Taking it seriously

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t exactly relishing this game. It felt like an inconvenience amid the more important business of the league.

The prospect of seeing two much-changed teams in front of a sparse crowd didn’t exactly whet the appetite.

But after watching the Imps deliver another magnificent away performance – and then draw Everton in the second round – I’m  happy to admit I’ve completely change my attitude towards the competition.

While the Imps made five changes, it barely weakened the team and underlined that while the squad is still short on numbers, it is rich in quality and character.

In fact, despite some nerve jangling moments in the last 10 minutes when Huddersfield finally began to threaten, it was a relatively routine victory against the highest-ranked side in the first round.

The other sides relegated from the Premier League last season, Fulham and Cardiff City, do not enter until round two.

Possession means nothing

If you ever want a demonstration of why possession stats mean nothing, take this game.

Huddersfield had 65 per cent of the ball compared to the Imps’ 35 per cent.

But crucially a lethargic Town side played most of their football in front of the Imps, meaning most of their efforts came from distance, with Grant Smith making some good, but routine saves.

In contrast, when the Imps got on the ball, they were positive, played with urgency and looked to pass the ball forward.

Ellis Chapman battles for the ball with Huddersfield's Trevoh Chalobah
Ellis Chapman battles for the ball with Huddersfield’s Trevoh Chalobah
(Image: CameraSport – Andrew Vaughan)

Town’s baffling approach

Huddersfield’s approach to the game was totally baffling. You can understand Jan Siewert’s rationale of making changes with Friday’s Championship clash with Fulham in mind.

But after tumbling out of the Premier League with just 16 points and taking just one point from their first two league games, the Terriers could have done with a morale-boosting victory, or at least a battling performance. He got neither.

After making 10 changes, the Town players left the pitch to boos from the remaining home fans in the ground to leave Siewert fighting to save his job just three games into the season.

Huddersfield Town manager Jan Siewert and Danny Cowley
Huddersfield Town manager Jan Siewert and Danny Cowley
(Image: CameraSport – Chris Vaughan)

Perfect Payne

Terriers fans must have been left wondering why Siewert let Jack Payne leave the club in the summer.

The spritely forward was arguably the best player on the pitch, showing the industry and invention his former club were severely lacking.

His performance deserved a goal and he should have got one when he missed a sitter late on after getting his legs in a tangle in front of goal.

But it was the only negative in a performance full of positives.

Payne, who helped Huddersfield win promotion from the Championship in 2016/17, still looks good enough that level.

He is already looking like an inspired signing by the Cowleys.

Lincoln City's Jack Payne
Lincoln City’s Jack Payne
(Image: CameraSport – Chris Vaughan)

Bring on Everton – again!

With the seven Premier League clubs involved in the Champions League or Europa League not entering the competition until the third round, this is best possible draw for the Imps.

It’ll be a fantastic occasion when the sides meet for the second time this year later this month.

I’d be amazed if Sky Sports don’t pick it for live coverage – especially as media darlings Salford City are out of the competition – as on paper it looks like the juiciest tie of the round. If it is, the Imps would up £100,000.

The addition of an unplanned 10,000 sell-out crowd will also be a money-maker for the Imps just before the end of the transfer window.

Northern section

Crewe v Aston Villa

Lincoln v Everton

Leeds v Stoke

Sheffield United v Blackburn

Rotherham v Sheffield Wednesday/Bury

Newcastle v Leicester

Burton Albion v Morecambe

Burnley v Sunderland

Nottingham Forest v Derby

Grimsby Town v Macclesfield

Preston v Hull City

Rochdale v Carlisle

Southern section

Plymouth v Reading

Crawley Town v Norwich City

Newport v West Ham

Oxford United v Millwall

Watford v Coventry

Swansea v Cambridge

Cardiff v Luton

Bristol Rovers v Brighton

Crystal Palace v Colchester

Fulham v Southampton

Bournemouth v Forest Green

Southend v MK Dons

   



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