A disciplined performance saw Lincoln City take a huge advantage in the first leg of their play-off semi-final with Sunderland at Sincil Bank in midweek.
Despite Lee Johnson’s side having the majority of the ball, totalling 60% possession over the course of the game, they could not get past the Imps’ emergency goalkeeper Josef Bursik, who prevented a couple of efforts from hitting the back of the net.
And it was two second half goals from the home side that gave them the edge going into this afternoon’s second leg, with Tom Hopper opening the scoring after 51 minutes.
Then a calamity moment from Lee Burge saw him hit the ball straight at the onrushing loanee Brennan Johnson, who then tapped the ball into an empty goal to double the advantage for Michael Appleton’s outfit.
It will be a completely different proposition though up at the Stadium of Light, where 10,000 rowdy Wearsiders will pack into the stadium to shout home their team as they look to overturn the two-goal deficit.
What club do these 21 former Lincoln City players ply their trade at now?
Appleton played the strongest side possible on Wednesday but he’s been forced into two changes for the second leg – Adam Jackson had to be withdrawn in the first half and he’s replaced by Lewis Montsma in the line-up and goalkeeper Alex Palmer returns from injury, replacing Bursik.
Lincoln fans seem happy enough though with what Appleton has chosen to go with as they’ve been reacting on Twitter to the line-up.
Going attacking love that from 🍎
— Jack Cottam (@JackCotts7) May 22, 2021
Monstma gonna smash one 🚀 💥
— Ryan (@RWillows) May 22, 2021
Last big push ❤️🔴⚪️🔴⚪️ https://t.co/uVav8anZ0Y
— Kristian (@krisj12345) May 22, 2021
Come on the boys😍😍😍 https://t.co/GSbpvUrP69
— Luke Tuxworth (@tuxworth_luke) May 22, 2021
We can’t sit back , all out attack , they can’t cope with pace !!
— GB1973 (@gordon_burnley) May 22, 2021
Good luck lads, we can do this
— Gail Hebden (@HebdenGail) May 22, 2021