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Sincil Bank
Lincoln City v Cambridge United
League Two Fixture

Saturday, January 19th 2005, 3pm
By Christopher Mason

This was a fixture that I had planned to do as an away game since the fixtures came out, regardless of Cambridge's league position. As it turned out, we were bottom of the Football League and Lincoln were in the play offs when January 19th finally came around. Leaving Ipswich at 9am with my Father and heading up the A14/A1, I didn't hold out much hope in terms of United getting anything out of the game; after all we hadn't won away at all in the league up to this point. I'd been to the Lincoln game at The Abbey back in October, which ended in a 1-0 defeat after a lacklusture Cambridge performance. Still, it would be another ground ticked off, number 18 to be accurate.
 
The journey to Lincoln was simple enough, taking in a stop about halfway through and parking just around the corner from the ground at around 12pm. After the short walk to Sincil Bank we went into The Centre Spot bar, which we found to be very impressive and welcoming, even though it was full of home fans.
 
First impressions of Sincil Bank were that the view from the away section was excellent, although despite the fact there were only 408 United fans present the stewards instructed us that we all had to be crammed into one block of the section - which made for fun and games when during the first half numerous United fans kept going to the toilets - although given the first half performance they could be hardly blamed for that! Lincoln City, to their tremendous credit encouraged their own supporters over the PA system before kick off and at half time to donate money to help Cambridge United's financial plight, remembering that United fans had helped them when they were in financial trouble and urged their supporters to return the favour.
 
The game itself, from a United viewpoint was very poor. After a reasonable start we gave possession away from our own free kick, from which Lincoln broke with pace and numbers, culminating in a cross from the right and an unmarked Simon Yeo volleyed the ball past United 'keeper John Ruddy. 1-0 after 17 minutes. Luke Guttridge - who gave the ball away from the free kick, was blamed for the goal and it clearly hit home; for when he took a free kick a couple of minutes later several United fans voiced their disapproval, causing Luke to look up at the fans in a somewhat shocked manner. "Must try harder", seemed the consenous. On 22 minutes Lincoln doubled their lead, a strike from Gary Taylor-Fletcher finding its way into the bottom left hand corner. Lincoln also hit the bar with another attack shortly after. We could have been 4 or 5 down at half time. Several United fans began to voice their annoyance at the teams' performance thus far; I shared the opinion of several supporters that the team just wasn't trying - and did we let them know about it; the half-time whistle was met with a chorus of boos from the travelling support. 

 

 
After commenting that "this is the worst United side I've ever seen", and making arrangements to get to the car as quickly as possible after the game in order to beat the traffic, we took our seats for the second half. United were clearly given a rollocking during the interval and we responded with a goal from the only decent opportunity created all game - Justin Walker feeding a pass into the path of Shane Tudor who pulled the ball back for Danny Webb to knocked it in from about the six yard box.  Any hopes though that this would spark a United comeback disappeared as Lincoln finished the game stronger and could have restored their 2 goal lead - but we could have snatched a draw in stoppage time when Tudor's effort from close range was kept out by Lincoln 'keeper Marriott.
 
The game ended 2-1 to Lincoln, which was made worse when we heard afterwards that Shrewsbury had beaten Kidderminster 4-2. We got away from the ground quickly enough, back to car via the footpath behind the Co-op Community Stand and we were on the road out of Lincoln toward the A1 back to Ipswich whilst supporters of both teams were still making their way back to their vehicles. Hearing Manager Steve Thompson's comments on Radio Cambridgeshire that were deserved a point were dumbfounding....I wondered if Steve and I had watched the same game.
 
We made it back to Ipswich at around 7.45pm, the day itself was enjoyable - another ground done, but from a footballing point of view was very frustrating.

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