Lincoln 0, City 0

Goalless draws are like buses. You go ages without seeing one – in City’s case 12 months – and then two come along in the same week.

But today’s game at Sincil Bank was chalk and cheese compared with the pea-shelling exercise against Chester.

Stuart McCall and Peter Jackson will each feel they should have won it. Both sides had good chances only to be denied by superb second-half saves.

City had needed only 53 seconds to take the lead in the Boxing Day clash last year. There was no repeat of that this time but the visitors played their part in a frenetic opening.

After Chester the week before, it made a nice change to be up against a side who were prepared to cross the halfway line and the early exchanges promised a lively encounter.

City had two shouts for penalties as Omar Daley went down under Danny Hone’s challenge and then Nicky Law tumbled with Janos Kovacs but referee Neil Swarbrick was not interested in either.

McCall had kept the same side, resisting the temptation to bring back Peter Thorne for Barry Conlon. The Irishman’s strike partner Michael Boulding was sniffing around eagerly to add to his recent goal rush but made a vital intervention at his own end to clear off the line from Hone’s header.

Lincoln were lifted after a flurry of corners and created a great chance after 19 minutes. Lee Frecklington threaded a pass through City’s left to release Dany N’Guessan as Rhys Evans raced from his goal.

The Frenchman had only City’s keeper to beat from just outside the point of the penalty area but fluffed his shot, which dribbled harmlessly wide of the unguarded net.

N’Guessan, a former Rangers team-mate of Dean Furman, tested Evans a minute later before City hit back with Steve Jones scampering away for a corner. But the home goal was untroubled despite the best efforts of Matt Clarke to keep the ball alive.

City were soaking up the pressure, with Graeme Lee strong in the air, and a thumping clearance from Clarke got Jones away again. Frecklington was trailing in his wake as the winger picked out Daley with his back to goal but the ball was slid off the Jamaican’s foot as he tried to turn and reel off a shot.

Jones was again posing a threat for City, although there was little end product for his efforts up and down the right flank. Paul Arnison ambitiously let fly from 30 yards but the ball sailed over the bar.

Play was held up as Lee took another bang on the head and the City skipper was forced off to the dressing room to be patched up with ten minutes left in the half. Lee has certainly shed a fair bit of claret for the cause this season!

City were down to ten men and Paul McLaren was pressed into central-defensive duties to nod away a dangerous centre from N’Guessan. Again Lincoln were caught on the counter from their own corner but Frank Sinclair showed his experience to ward off fellow ‘Reggae Boy’ Daley in the home box.

Lincoln were winning corners for fun and Hone got to their eighth just ahead of Evans but Conlon was at the back post to clear away. It set Daley on another quick touchline-hugging break before Law was bundled over 20 yards out.

The youngster took the free-kick himself and rattled the advertising board inches wide – the closest City had come to scoring.

After a nine-minute absence for treatment, Lee emerged to rejoin the play as half-time approached – and it looked like his return would coincide with City breaking the stalemate as Boulding wrestled his way inside marker Kovacs but sent a cross-shot narrowly across goal.

It finished an entertaining 45 minutes, although McCall would have wanted to see his side put more pressure on Rob Burch, the former Spurs keeper who had chosen Lincoln over the Bantams in the summer.

City’s travelling fans were again out in force – 1,699 in total – and they greeted the second half with a booming chorus of Stuart McCall’s Bradford army.

Both sets of supporters could have been celebrating within five minutes.

Adrian Patulea combined with N’Guessan, who put a goal on a plate for Frecklington with a low cross six yards out, but somehow the Lincoln central midfielder managed to scoop his shot wide.

Instantly City were knocking at the door with Jones picking out Boulding, whose close-range header was tipped on to the post by Burch. Then Jones pounced on a poor clearance to cut inside again but scuffed it wide.

The action was hotting up as the temperature dropped and Luke O’Brien had to be careful with Brown’s cross as Lincoln’s corner count hit double figures. Evans did well to deal with Hone’s header in a ruck of bodies.

City were also grateful to their keeper for a superb reflex save in the 56th minute to deny the unfortunate Frecklington. N’Guessan was again the provider and, when Clarke missed his cross, it had goal written all over it.

Frecklington turned the ball goalwards but Evans spread his body and managed to turn the ball away.

Lincoln left back Lee Beevers, already booked, was on thin ice when he went into the back of Jones and was lucky to escape with just a ticking-off. Clarke was first to Law’s free-kick but could not keep his header down.

Frecklington tried again with a low drive after Arnison had tripped Sam Mullarkey but Evans had everything behind it at his near post.

The Thorne chorus struck up with 20 minutes to go but it was Jackson who brought on a new striker first as Lenell John-Lewis replaced Patulea.

Thorne came on four minutes later for Conlon but not before Daley had seen a 25-yard thump athletically tipped over the bar by the flying Burch.

Frecklington was destined never to score as another chance fell his way after 80 minutes. With Evans out of his goal, John-Lewis nodded the ball down for a ferocious volley from around the penalty spot that flew over.

City were fuming when Hone was given a yellow card rather than red one as he dragged down Daley, who had picked up a hashed clearance from Burch. The free-kick was in Lee territory but the defender smashed it against the Lincoln wall.

Furman, back from injury, came on with seven minutes left for his first action since November 1. His first job was to defend a free-kick from the D, awarded by the assistant after play had moved upfield.

So it was a third draw in four for City but it will be a good point providing they get back to winning ways at home on Sunday when Morecambe come visiting.

Attendance: 6,156