Lincoln boss Michael Appleton glad to see out the season with a win



Posted Saturday, April 30, 2022 by PA

Lincoln boss Michael Appleton glad to see out the season with a win

Michael Appleton was delighted to see Lincoln round off a difficult campaign with a 2-1 win over Crewe.

The Imps, who were poor for the first hour, looked to be heading for a home defeat against the relegated Railwayman after Chris Long opened the scoring in the 21st minute.

The visitors, who were condemned to the fourth tier weeks ago, wasted chances to take the game away from Lincoln and were made to pay as substitutes Tom Hopper and Hakeeb Adelakun scored in the final 11 minutes.

Both players have endured difficult seasons, with Hopper missing most of the campaign through injury while Adelakun had fallen completely out of favour – his appearance against Crewe was his first since mid-January.

The win saw the Imps move up a place to finish the season 17th.

“It had a typical last game of the season feel to it,” admitted Appleton. “At half-time it wasn’t a case of screaming and shouting, it was ‘come on, we need to finish the season as strongly as we can’.

“It was up to us to take the game to them and eventually we did pick it up. In the lead-up to the goal (equaliser), the pace picked up and we just about deserved it in the end.

“It was a good goal, a well-worked corner and then we changed the play a little bit, we went with wing-backs. (For the winner) Haks has probably been waiting all season for that and I’m delighted for him.”

Alex Morris, who has been appointed Crewe boss on a permanent basis following the departure of David Artell, felt his team plucked defeat from the jaws of victory.

“We found a way to lose the game from a winning position,” said Morris. “Halfway through the second half we had chance after chance to extend our lead. Defensively we were in total control of the game.

“We changed it in terms of their shape, they got a player up top and then from the corner (before the first goal) we were down to nine (with two Crewe players waiting to come back on after receiving treatment).

“We had two markers missing and they go and score and go on to win the game from there.

“While we missed lots of chances to have won the game comfortably, we deserved to lose because of those factors. You’ve got to have a tough enough mentality to deal with setbacks.

“If you’ve got nine men on the pitch when you’re defending a set-piece, so what. Find a way to keep the ball out of the net. Don’t use it as an excuse.”

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