SPORTSLINC

INJURY CRISIS MOUNTS AS WHITES EXIT TROPHY

 

Lincoln United’s injury problems continued at Leek Town when James Blunden limped off with a groin strain as the Whites went down 4-1 in the FA Trophy.

The young central defender joins skipper, Phil Watt, full back Luke Hornsey and centre half Callum Ward on the treatment bench.

United started the match brightly enough as Conner Robinson and Jack McGovern set up Rob Norris whose volley fizzed well over the bar.

The home side responded after seven minutes with a shot that brought out a briiliant save from new keeper, Sam Vince.

However the Whites’ stopper could do nothing about the 25 yard screamer from Michael Calveley on 22 minutes which cannoned into the back of the net to make it 1-0 for the hosts.

Sam Wilkinson’s men then clawed their way back into the game although Vince was called into action again to get down well and save a 30 yard free kick.

Five minutes before the break, Blunden hobbled off injured leaving Scott Matthews to move into central defence and Kallum Smith to take up position at left back.

Robinson came close to equalising just before the break after a one-on-one with the Leek keeper who just got the better of him.

Despite being 1-0 down at the interval, the visitors were able to mount pressure on the opposition goal.

This pattern of play continued in the second half until Jordan Johnson broke through the United defence after 70 minutes to double his side’s lead.

A minute later, in response, Rob Norris smashed a swerving shot against the Leek Town bar.

The Whites clawed one back on 80 minutes when McGovern finished off clinically following good work by Robinson and substitute Wightwick to give the travelling supporters some hope of a comeback.

However five minutes’ later a mistake in defence gave Stevenson time to chip the ball over Sam Vince to make it 3-1.

Three minutes into added time, Leek made it 4-1 with a strike from Boris Melingui.

There is no doubt that the injury situation is affecting results. Four key players are now unavailable.

However, it is up to the ones who come in to step up to the mark, something which 18-year-old Callum Foster did yesterday in his man of the match performance.

Consistency is lacking but at least Sam Wilkinson’s men can now concentrate on the league with only the Integro Cup as a distraction.

The main focus now needs to be on collecting three points at Stamford on Saturday.

Peter Hayward

sportslinc@hotmail.com

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