Massive Imps following invades Portman Road
VERDICT: Lincoln City gave their magnificent support a display to be proud of with towering performances all over the pitch – one thing’s for sure, Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich won’t look forward to the replay
DANNY COWLEY hailed his Lincoln City side and their supporters heroes as they came within four minutes of knocking out Ipswich Town.
The Imps were just minutes away from causing a famous upset and condemning the Championship club to a third round exit for the seventh season in a row.
Twice they led through Theo Robinson, twice they were pegged back by Tom Lawrence.
Exactly 4,838 noisy Lincoln supporters – the highest number of away fans to visit Portman Road since it became an all-seater stadium in 1992 – made the trek to Suffolk in what was dubbed the ‘Impvasion’. And how they saluted their side at the end of the game they probably deserved to win.
It’s just the latest example of how Cowley and his assistant brother Nicky have breathed new life into a club that had stagnated since dropping out of the Football League in 2011.
“There’s a tinge of disappointment when we got into the dressing room, but the overriding emotion is one of pride,” Cowley said.
“We went toe-to-toe with a really good Championship side and gave a good account of ourselves and that’s something we can be proud of.
“Success for us at ten to five was getting a standing ovation from our supporters. We did that. For me, the players found a new level today. We asked them to bring their A-games then find another ten per cent. To a man they did that. We’ve drawn, but we’ve taken a very experience Championship team all the way.
“The biggest mistake you can make in these games is try not to make a mistake. We gave them the freedom to play, be brave and pass the ball. We were able to do that.”
Just seven minutes in, the raucous travelling army erupted when Nathan Arnold sent in a low cross from the right for Robinson to tap past Dean Gerken at the near post from six yards.
Lawrence drew them level just five minutes with a fine solo effort, but Lincoln continued to impress themselves on the game.
Robinson gambled to get on the end of Christophe Berra’s miscued header to crash the National League leaders back in front on 65 minutes.
A famous upset looked on the cards with just four minutes remaining only for Lawrence to drill in from outand side the box.
“He’s got us out of jail, yes,” Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy said. “Lincoln were excellent, they’ll be feeling very unlucky not to have won the game. I’ll be complaining bitterly about the goals we conceded and I guess they will be as well. But they were very good.”
Cowley, who is hoping the TV cameras turn up for the replay, added: “The boys will wake up tomorrow morning and be mightily proud. They were heroic.
“The supporters of this club have been starved of success. They’ve seen something in the players they can connect with. For a Non-League club to bring 5,000 supporters away from home says everything about them.
“If we can be as half as good as our supporters we will be one hell of a team.”
STAR MAN: Theo Robinson (Lincoln) ATT: 16,027 ENTERTAINMENT: ★★★★★ REFEREE: Lee Probert 8/10
THAT’S FOR YOU LOT: Lincoln City’s Theo Robinson celebrates one of his two goals in the 2-2 draw at Ipswich and inset, the Imps’ mass of travelling support – 4,838, which smashed the record for away fans at Portman Road held since 1992
STRETCHED TO THE LIMIT: Two-goal Theo Robinson vies for possession with Ipswich’s Danish international full-back Jonas Knudsen
MAIN MAN: Theo Robinson celebrates scoring Lincoln’s second