A bitterly cold afternoon at Edgar Street ended with the necessity for a third meeting of Bulls and Imps in as many weeks. The home side will rue Stuart Fleetwood’s penalty miss and the gift of a goal to Mustapha Carayol, but feel some relief that their name will be in the hat for round 3 after Mathieu Manset’s late spot kick.
Permanent temporary relief caretaker supremo Jamie Pitman named Joe Heath as replacement for the suspended Ryan Green, and fellow loanee Matt Lund was on the bench. The warm-up, much needed as the mercury fell, took place with orange balls, a sensible precaution in view of the adverse weather forecast, though curiously the game began with a white one. Further puzzles concerned the absence of any ball boys, a complete turnaround from the unnatural multiball experience, and the necessity for the floodlights to blaze away from the start. Surely not at the behest of the esteemed F A Cup sponsors, as suggested by one cynic.
In the opening exchanges, the Bulls looked in positive mood. Fleetwood and Rob Purdie engaged in some tricky passing moves, and Nicky Featherstone and Kenny Lunt forced a corner after a promising build-up. The dangerous Carayol had a run and shot which Adam Bartlett parried. The ricochet then rebounded to the striker, but he was unable to control the ball. Josh O’Keefe then fired a harmless free kick way over Bartlett’s bar.
With 19 minutes played, Sean Canham was penalised for a push on O’Keefe on halfway. Alert to the possibility of a quick break, Scott Kerr took the kick, with the ball still moving (a fact not spotted by the officials) and found Ashley Grimes down the right flank. The experienced Grimes spotted Bartlett closing him down and chipped him perfectly to put Lincoln into the lead.
Just as this blow came out of the blue, Hereford’s equaliser a mere 4 minutes later came as a surprise. Purdie showed determination in chasing a loose ball but there seemed little danger as Gavin Hoyte shepherded it back to Joe Anyon in the visitors’ goal. A momentary hesitation allowed our Rob (well Oldham’s anyway, for the moment) to get a foot in and find the net with a trundling effort from the edge of the box.
Scorer Rob Purdie being congratulated by Sean Canham - Pictures taken by Andy Compton of the Hereford Journal
Another 4 minutes and another early Christmas gift, this time presented to Mr Carayol. Under pressure from Grimes, Bartlett and Michael Townsend dithered over a clearance and the ball fell into the striker’s path, and he gratefully accepted the chance. To their credit, United set about restoring parity with some vigour. Fleetwood delayed his shot marginally too long, and then Joe Heath, gaining in composure, fired a low cross cum shot across the face of the goal. After another attack Lunt’s shot appeared to be handled, and Heath’s follow-up certainly was. Optimstic claims for two penalties were denied, but at least Mr Williamson spotted the second one. It was unexpected when Fleetwood was given the responsibility of taking the kick, and a disappointing effort was caught by Anyon. There was still time for a further sortie which ended with some over-elaboration and no shot on goal.
HT: HUFC 1 LINCOLN CITY 2
The wisdom of sending the team out early in what by now were sub-zero temperatures seemed dubious as much shivering was to be seen. A chance to reflect on modern footballers’ kit, with various combinations of long/short sleeves, gloves and tights, was enlightening. And the prize goes to macho man Richard Rose for his gloveless, short-sleeved bravado.
Featherstone and Purdie cleverly played Heath down the line and his hanging cross was headed over by Canham. Some enterprising approach play at both ends lacked the final pass and shot on goal. The game entered a frustrating phase, with niggly fouls and plenty of dissent being shown. Fleetwood in particular seemed determined to start his next collection of yellow cards with his continuous arm-waving and whingeing whenever things were not going his way, and sure enough, the booking materialised. The arrival of Mathieu Manset livened up proceedings, and one terrific spin and shot almost bore fruit. The Frenchman then nearly found the tiring Purdie with a fine pass. Joe Colbeck fired in a dangerous cross and new boy Lund added some energy to the midfield.
Lincoln created chances too, and a Joe Anderson cross caused some consternation in the home penalty area. Sam Gwynne’s timely intervention then prevented another chance and allowed Bartlett to pounce on the loose ball. As the game drew to a close, it seemed that a cup exit was a probability, and despite some endeavour, and the welcome return of Guillem Bauza, an equaliser did not seem forthcoming. Then, with 86 minutes gone, Fleetwood burst into the box and was tripped, Mr Williamson pointing straight to the spot. Some dispute then took place, with several candidates pointing out their penalty taking prowess on their CVs. Monsieur Manset proved the successful applicant, and then justifying the selection by blasting the ball unceremoniously down the middle.
Mathieu Manset and captain Michael Townsend after the 'Beast' scores the penalty
Little of note followed, with a replay at Sincil Bank to look forward to.
FT: HUFC 2 LINCOLN CITY 2
Attendance: a poor 1803, with 235 from the far east.
HUFC: Bartlett, Heath, Townsend, Rose, Gwynne, Purdie, Featherstone, Lunt (Bauza 81), Colbeck (Lund 62) , Fleetwood, Canham (Manset 53).
Lincoln City: Anyon, Anderson, Watts, Gowling, Hoyte, Carayol, Kerr, O’Keefe, Jarrett, Grimes (Broughton 65), B.Hutchinson.