Lincoln City claimed their fourth win of the season at Sincil Bank this afternoon, in an even game changed by a minute of quality from Tyler Walker.
The two sides began the day in seventh and eighth, with little to choose between them in terms of quality. Both made changes to their last league outing, one for each side.
Callum Connolly came in for his first start for Lincoln after signing on loan from Everton following the two side’s cup clash earlier in the week. For Fleetwood, Ashley Hunter dropped to the bench, with 23-year-old Harrison Biggins coming back into the side.
In a tentative start, both sides played some neat, passing football with little to show for it. Fleetwood had the best of the possession, Lewie Coyle and Wes Burns looking particularly effective down the right-hand side.
In the centre, the burly Paddy Madden offered a physical presence, but couldn’t get the better of the experienced Jason Shackell. Josh Morris had an early half-chance blocked before it made it into the 18-yard area.
The first real chance of the game fell to Fleetwood, but Harrison Biggins fired well over from just outside the area.
Lincoln began to feel their way into the game with Harry Toffolo a constant threat from the left. His whipped cross found Harry Anderson who could only head up and over the bar.
The game exploded into life on 34 minutes. A good move by Lincoln saw the ball worked out to Harry Toffolo and his cross was converted by Tyler Walker. His diving header lit up a damp Sincil Bank, and before the crowd had settled back in their seats it was 2-0.
Walker was the scorer again, a ball through the middle by Callum Connolly saw him beat the offside trap and slide the ball between the legs of Matt Gilks.
The home side took control of the game after that and Fleetwood’s frustration began to show. Paul Coutts’ cynical shove on Jack Payne resulted in a Jorge Grant free-kick which just evaded the header of debutant Callum Connolly.
Joey Barton made changes at half time, bringing off centre half Peter Clarke and bringing on Ched Evans, reverting to three at the back.
The change certainly brought a better spell for Joey Barton’s side without chances. They looked to control the game but picked up the first booking of the game when Danny Andrew scythed down Harry Anderson.
Jorge Grant’s cross on 54 minutes skipped across the front of Gilks goal, only for Harry Anderson to blaze over. Seconds later, Walker closed down the for Rangers keeper and blocked a clearance, with Gilks relieved to see it go out for a goal kick.
Fleetwood brought on Ashley Hunter and he injected some life into the forward line. His cross just before the hour mark was headed over by Paddy Madden.
It was Hunter fouled moments later on the edge of the area to win a dangerous free-kick, but Danny Andrew’s set-piece was palmed away by Josh Vickers for a corner.
Hunter again got in the thick of the action with a great chance from 20-yards, shifting the ball on to his right foot before curling an effort just over the bar. However, as the minutes ebbed away, so did the visitor’s chances of getting back into the game.
John Akinde was one of three changes made by the home side and he almost created a third for Lincoln. He held the ball up and found Jorge Grant whose ball to Payne was blocked. He got a second chance and found Connolly, who fired over.
It was Lincoln who looked most likely to add to the scoreline, a Harry Toffolo cross almost found its way into the net via John Akinde. The Imps began to slow the game down and by the time the assistant referee held up the board, neither side had come close to changing the scoreline.
The win stopped a run of three straight defeats for Lincoln and sends them up into second on to 12 points from six matches. Fleetwood fall to ninth, two points behind their opponents and four behind leaders Ipswich.