RECORD BREAK­ERS

Mas­sive Imps fol­low­ing in­vades Port­man Road

The Non-League Football Paper - - FRONT PAGE - By MATT BADCOCK

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

PIC­TURE: An­drew Vaughan

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

PIC­TURE: An­drew Vaughan

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

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