Michael Appleton feels ‘quality prevailed’ after Lincoln get FA Cup scare



Posted Sunday, November 07, 2021 by PA

Michael Appleton feels ‘quality prevailed’ after Lincoln get FA Cup scare

Michael Appleton breathed a sigh of relief after his Lincoln side made hard work of overcoming Essex-based Bowers and Pitsea in the FA Cup first round.

Max Sanders’ 66th-minute goal – his first for the club – was all that separated the League One side and their Isthmian League Premier Division opponents as the Imps toiled against the part-timers.

“If you don’t score in that opening period, when we had a couple of chances, you could become nervous for no reason other than this is the FA Cup and that is what it does,” said Appleton.

“I know how difficult it can be and how difficult it can be to break down a group of players who are determined, defend really deep and make it hard to play against.

“We knew we were going to be camped in their half, but we took too many touches of the ball in the first half, but eventually quality prevailed ion the second half.

“They put their bodies on the line, they defended manfully and their keeper had an excellent game. They’ve played five or six games to get to this stage, so that’s the effort they’ve put in to get here. It was their cup final and it looked that way. I’m sure they’ve had a good weekend.”

Appleton had to recall young goalkeeper Sam Long from a loan spell with Gainsborough Trinity following the news that regular stopper Josh Griffiths was not given permission to play in the competition by parent club West Brom.

And the City boss was pleased with how the 18-year-old acquitted himself, having to produce two excellent saves in the first half to prevent Bowers and Pitsea from taking a shock lead.

“There weren’t many balls coming into the box, but when he had to deal with them he did and showed a safe pair of hands,” said Appleton. “His handling was clean and his distribution with his feet was excellent. Over the next year or two, Sam will give himself a really good opportunity here.”

The visitors had the better of the first half and went close to breaking the deadlock, but Max Cornhill rattled the Lincoln crossbar with a rasping half-volley and Jamie Dicks’ free-kick forced Long into a fine save.

City’s Dutch defender Lewis Montsma had an effort that was deflected just wide, while Dan Nlundulu and Hakeeb Adelakun both fired tame efforts at goal.

Lincoln introduced young striker Freddie Draper in a bid to avoid embarrassment and his header forced visiting custodian Mitch Beeney into a one-handed-save just before the hour.

City winger Adelakun then struck a post, before Sanders produced a moment of magic to beat Beeney from a tight angle to eventually knock the stuffing out of the visitors.

Bowers captain James White said: “I’ve had some special moments on the pitch in my career and this is right up there. Very proud to captain the side today – an outstanding effort by all.

“Thank you to the fans, who made it a very special day for us all.”

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