Lincoln City boss Danny Cowley praised his side’s courage as they were forced to dig deep to repel an Oldham Athletic comeback and book an Emirates FA Cup trip to Ipswich Town in the third round.
The National League high flyers deservedly sneaked through thanks to two goals from the ever impressive Theo Robinson and a fine Terry Hawkridge finish. However, Oldham grabbed two goals in two minutes after the break to heap pressure on the hosts but Cowley's charges held on admirably.
And the Lincoln boss hailed his side’s fighting qualities as they produced an impressive defensive showing late in the game in ever-worsening foggy Lincolnshire conditions.
The Emirates FA Cup
Monday 5 December 2016
By Mark Williams
“We said at half time that you can’t just wait for something to happen, you have to make it happen and that is what probably happened for our third goal – it proved decisive in the end,” said Cowley.
“We wanted to keep punching at half-time, we didn’t want to become negative and wanted to make sure we remained on the front foot.
“In the end we struggled for the last 30 minutes but at 3-2 up, lesser teams would have gone under at that point but we didn’t and we dug deep.
“You’ve seen in the FA Cup second round how many comebacks there has been this weekend and to hang on at the end – I thought we showed some real courage.
“Being 3-0 up in the second half, we probably got a little bit negative and just played for the end of the game rather than playing the moment.
“We probably got a little bit deep but to be fair to Oldham they found an extra gear, they changed their system and asked a lot of questions for us defensively. I think they ended up with four or maybe even five up front.”
A bumper home crowd didn't have long to wait to celebrate and, after Matt Rhead flicked on an Alan Power centre, striker Robinson nodded home from close range in the 21st minute.
Three minutes later and the hosts' advantage was doubled. A mistake in the middle of the park by Oldham's Carl Winchester saw Hawkridge race through and finish neatly.
The League One strugglers were sent out early by boss Steve Robinson for the second half - but it mattered little as the Imps immediately raced into a three goal lead on 47 minutes. Power placed a neat pass into Robinson and the striker superbly dinked the ball over Ripley and into the net.
Oldham gave themselves a lifeline on 71 minutes. Ollie Banks clipped a corner into the centre and big Peter Clarke powerfully headed home.
Danny Cowley's charges barely had time to regroup before the visitors pulled another goal back. A neat move on the edge of the area culminated in Billy McKay turning and firing past Paul Farman in the 73rd minute.
Try as they might late on, Oldham couldn't find the killer touch and Lincoln held on for a famous win at Sincil Bank.
Lincoln City: 1 Paul Farman, 2 Bradley Wood, 5 Luke Waterfall, 27 Jamie McCombe, 3 Sam Habergham, 28 Nathan Arnold, 30 Alex Woodyard,
8 Alan Power, 11 Terry Hawkridge, 9 Matt Rhead, 31 Theo Robinson.
Substitutes: 12 Harry Anderson for Hawkridge 72, 7 Jack Muldoon for Robinson 81
Substitutes not used: 21 Richard Walton, 10 Adam Mariott, 22 Jack Fixter, 24 Jack McMenemy, 29 Jack Weatherell.
Head coach: Danny Cowley
Goals: Robinson 21, Hawkridge 24, Robinson 47
Oldham Athletic: 1 Connor Ripley, 16 Cameron Dummigan, 26 Peter Clarke, 5 Cameron Burgess, 3 Jamie Reckford, 27 Ryan McLaughlin,
28 Paul Green, 8 Ollie Banks, 10 Carl Winchester, 19 Lee Erwin, 12 Freddie Ladapo.
Substitutes: 11 Lee Croft for Winchester 55, 9 Billy McKay for Reckford 66, 18 Darius Osei for Ladapo 77.
Substitutes not used: 13 Chris Kettings, 2 Josh Law, 24 Ousmane Fane, 31 Charles Dunne.
Head coach: Steve Robinson
Goals: Clarke 71, McKay 73