Lincoln City 1, City 2

Stuart McCall sent Joe Colbeck into the season with one command: Show me some goals.

And the young winger delivered tonight with the coolest of finishes to bank City's first away win of the McCall reign.

It was the perfect way to end a demanding week on the road for the Bantams and, by beating a side who have made the play-offs for the past five years, the result will calm down anyone getting twitchy that they have not charged clear at the top.

The evening began with an immaculately-observed minute's silence for the victims of the fire. Joint-chairman Mark Lawn and representatives from two City supporters' groups laid wreaths in front of the Stacey West Stand - the end named after the two Lincoln fans who died that day.

Stuart McCall had received a pre-match boost with the news that Omar Daley would not be flying off to South America the following morning after Jamaica's friendly in Colombia was called off.

And Daley, playing as a left winger, was straight into action as he picked off a careless Lincoln pass to set up Colbeck for a well-struck drive which was turned away by keeper Alan Marriott.

McCall had criticised City's lethargic first-half display at Barnet last week, accusing his team of only playing for 45 minutes, but both sides made a lively start with chances at either end.

Mark Stallard, playing against City for the first time since his Wembley goal 11 years ago, was only a coat of paint away with a flick from Gary Croft's cross that beat the far post.

And Guylain Ndumbu-Nsungu missed a gilt-edged chance with a free header. The City move had begun in bizarre fashion when Donovan Ricketts raced from his goal, only to scuff his clearance barely five yards.

Luckily it fell to Eddie Johnson, who swept it out to Colbeck and the inviting cross should have been buried by the on-loan Gillingham man. Instead he got there a fraction early and nodded off target.

Ricketts immediately showed the better side of his game with a superb low save to deny Holme Wood-born Jamie Forrester - but Lincoln struck the first blow from the corner.

Ricketts missed the deep kick which sparked a mad scramble in the City box. Dany N'Guessan's thumping drive was blocked in the sea of legs and Louis Dodds drilled the rebound back towards goal which, despite a reaction block from Ricketts, was adjudged by assistant referee Geoff Law to have crossed the line.

City were fuming with the linesman and the away fans stationed behind him gave an ironic cheer when he spotted a Lincoln handball a few minutes later.

Daley's blistering pace was giving Lincoln right back Ryan Amoo nightmares and it was no surprise that he was instrumental in the 35th-minute equaliser.

Daley left Amoo trailing and raced towards Marriott before cutting the ball back at the last second to Ndumbu-Nsungu. With the keeper stranded, the City hitman still had to negotiate two defenders but he carefully took aim and drilled his shot into the unguarded net.

Daley had finished in a heap with Amoo and Marriott and worryingly stayed down for treatment but, after a brief hobble or two, he was soon back in his stride.

Lincoln had their own pace threat on the left in Frenchman N'Guessan who, while not in the same league as Daley, was proving a handful for Tom Harban.

Mark Bower's well-timed slide cut out one dangerous cross in front of goal and then Ricketts had to be on his toes to nick the ball away from the former Rangers winger after the flag surprisingly stayed down - a decision that did not impress McCall.

As every City fan knows, there is never a dull moment with Ricketts around and he diverted another N'Guessan centre as half-time approached by throwing himself full length to punch away with both fists.

Peter Thorne had looked neat and tidy in his first start and his tight control won a free-kick in a good position three minutes into the second half. With no Paul Evans, it was Johnson who was teed up by Scott Phelan and it needed a good block from Marriott to deny him a third successive league goal.

Ricketts did just as well to tip over a thumping effort by Dodds as the game quickly warmed up again. The City fans, who swelled the crowd by over 1,000, seemed to be enjoying what they saw and kept up a wall of noise to the right of Marriott's goal.

First-year referee Stuart Attwell was living up to his early reputation for keeping the cards in his pocket but his patience was tested once too often after 55 minutes as Lee Frecklington saw yellow for bundling over Phelan.

City were hunting a second goal, and Marriott needed two grabs at a long-range shot from Phelan, but City enjoyed a huge slice of luck when Frecklington smacked the ball past Ricketts and then watched in frustration as it cannoned back out off the post.

For once the number seven denied by the woodwork wasn't Daley - and City could argue they were due that good fortune considering the catalogue of near-misses they have suffered already.

Ndumbu-Nsungu used his strength to fashion a half-chance as Marriott flapped the ball away from the six-yard box. David Wetherall tried to latch on to the loose ball but Lee Beevers was there first to bale out his keeper.

Johnson was all energy once again in midfield and one robust challenge proved too much for N'Guessan, who was booked for taking a quick reprisal - and subbed a minute later.

But City grabbed the lead with 11 minutes left after a great counter-attack. Daley's clearance out of trouble was chested down by Thorne and Ndumbu-Nsungu was off and running. Colbeck kept pace with him stride for stride and, when the pass was laid perfectly into his path, the winger coolly drew Marriott and slid the ball home from 12 yards.

Not bad from a player whose only previous senior goal was a disputed effort at Bristol City in March when he helped the ball over the goalline. This time there was no doubt whatsoever where the credit should go.

Thorne had put in a good shift and was replaced by Barry Conlon while the limping Daley made way for Kyle Nix, whose first touch was cut short by Dodds with a foul that earned a booking.

Lincoln made a double switch of their own with five minutes left, bringing on City old boys Steve Torpey and Scott Kerr. With the hosts throwing everyone forward, Torpey had a snap-shot blocked by Wetherall.

City still had to survive four minutes of added time and Phelan's foul on Jamie Hand, which earned the young midfielder a booking, offered Lincoln a shooting chance from the free-kick. Thankfully they did not have a Jason Puncheon in their ranks.

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