Nicholsons is a platinum partner of Lincoln City FC, as well as many of our team being dedicated fans (we also have the odd Grimsby fan in our ranks), so we asked season ticket holder Jim Carratt to reflect on the ups and downs of last season…
A season full of hope and anticipation after the Play-off defeat at Wembley and season ticket sales over 6,000, it all started with a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Gillingham and a 2-1 win over Fleetwood at the LNER (Sincil Bank) stadium. Three defeats followed which pushed City into midtable.
Both September and October were a mixed bag. After a couple of good results winning 2-1 at champions Wigan and 5-1 at Cambridge, yet losing at home to Wimbledon (who were relegated) and away at Morecombe set the tone for rest of the season.
New players had been brought in on loan, they were struggling to settle, notably Dan Nlundulu from Southampton, but he had a lot to live up to after the exploits of several players the previous season, particularly Brennan Johnson who became the Championship Young Player of the Season this year. Injuries were also taking their toll losing both Liam Bridcutt and Joe Walsh for most of the season.
November only saw one victory which was in the FA Cup over non-league Bowers and Pitsea. Carlisle knocked Lincoln out of the Papa John’s Trophy and as we entered the winter months, the season was becoming a real struggle.
December was the low point. It started with a very poor performance, a 1-0 home defeat in the cup to League Two Hartlepool United. The natives were getting restless and although very uncommon, a little booing was heard for the first time. Losing 2-0 at bottom of the table Crewe and 3-2 (after leading 2-0) at home to MK Dons made the atmosphere hostile in the stadium.
January saw three wins and more hope as the transfer window opened and new signings arrived, notably Morgan Whittaker and John Marquis both scoring on their debuts. The highlight though was the 3-1 away win at promotion chasing Sunderland with former Mackem Chris Maguire scoring a hat trick. Losing highly-rated Lewis Montsma to a season ending knee injury was a major blow.
February and March saw the risk of relegation and was a replica of the rest of the season. We had a lot of injuries, some good performances including the 3-1 home win against Sheffield Wednesday, but poor again against relegated Gillingham and Doncaster losing to both of them at home.
The season ended in April with City finishing 17th. Disappointing yes, but injuries ravaged the squad throughout the season and so to maintain their League One status was an achievement. We mustn’t forget that six years ago we finished midtable in the National League, so the club has come a long way. The crowd stayed with the team for most of the season with only Regan Poole and the underrated Conor McGrandles being consistent over the season.
The club will look forward to 2022/23 with a new man at the helm after the somewhat surprise decision of the club and Michael Appleton to part ways. I thought his football was excellent at times, but equally frustrating at the same time especially when we were losing late on in games. He was a different character to Danny Cowley and perhaps didn’t connect with the fans in the same way, but with new manager Mark Kennedy in the hotseat, he’s got a lot to sink his teeth into with players out of contract, new signings to be made and a new philosophy and style of play to implement.
Here’s to next season!!