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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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08 April 2018 Venue Wembley Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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Match Previews

Lincoln City Preview

7 April 2018

Marcus Braddock looks ahead to the Checkatrade Final against Lincoln City

We all know that this has been a crazy season, an almost unbelievable season and part of it is about to come to fruition. Wembley beckons for the fourth time in our history and for the second time in this competition and it's my privilege to preview the game.

Our opponents have had a good first season back in the Football League and have better form in this competition than we do having won all of their games. They currently sit in 6th place in League Two, tied with Notts County on points but the Imps have a game in hand and are on a run of six unbeaten games.

The Management

Lincoln City have been going great guns for a couple of seasons since brothers Nicky and Danny Cowley took over the managerial reins. They'd taken Braintree Town to their highest ever finish in the National League and the play-offs, only to be beaten by Grimsby Town, managed by Paul Hurst and Chris Doig. Before that they managed Concord Rangers to three promotions from the Essex Senior Football League to the National League South.

With such an impressive CV a bigger club was always going to come in for them and Lincoln signed them up after just one season in charge of Braintree. Now, having seen Lincoln promoted, they've had an incredible first season back in the Football League, reaching the CheckaTrade Trophy final and going for a second successive promotion. Part of their success is down to some of the basics like fitness, speaking in the Guardian recently, Danny Cowley said, “We’re physically set up to go until the end. The boys work really, really hard on their fitness – they don’t always enjoy it – but that allows us to physically go until the end. Our will is so strong – they never give up. I’m proud of our physical condition, our mentality and our fight.”

Top Scorer

Matt Green 13 in League Two and 3 in this competition.

Matt Rhead 7 in League Two and 1 in this competition.

Ollie Palmer 6 in League Two and 3 in this competition.

Harry Anderson 6 in League Two and 1 in this competition.

Assists

Neil Eardley 6

Matt Rhead 5

Harry Anderson 4

Clean Sheets

Fourteen, six at home and eight away.

Discipline

70 yellow cards, 4 red cards.

Referee - Gavin Ward from Surrey. Games this season: 39. Yellow cards: 109. Red cards: 4. 

Assistants: Duncan Street & Wayne Grunnill
4th Official: Mark Heywood.

Squad News

Lincoln will be without midfielders Tom Pett and Jordan William and defender Scott Wharton who are all cup tied.

Paul Hurst will be without Abu Ogogo and Junior Brown who are both injured. Alex Rodman and Toto Nsiala will be decided upon closer to the game.

Summary

This is our fourth appearance at Wembley or our third at the new incarnation of the national stadium. It always seems a bit unreal when we go there, or at least it does to me. Maybe it's the cultural baggage that comes with it, 1966, Football's coming home and that white horse from when the world was monochrome.

We could do with winning this time, already there is a certain amount of dread associated with the place in my mind and that needs to be blown away. We face a team who are cresting a bigger wave than our own with their first visit to Wembley and great form in the league for the last two seasons. I don't really mind that though, it could take some of the pressure off the Towns shoulders.

When I look at the managerial team at Lincoln I see similarities between theirs and ours. Both have climbed into the league from a lowly starting point and both talk of the need for discipline and fitness that lasts the game so we should have a decent spectacle to watch for the full 90 minutes and maybe beyond. It's really disappointing to read that Abu Ogogo will be missing for the rest of the season, he deserves better luck after being a colossus for us. Losing someone like him whilst Lincoln have their key players available levels things a little even with the great replacements we have.

The main threats as I see them are the two strikers Matt Green and Matt Rhead, two experienced strikers who combine height, pace and physicality to give defences a difficult time. Obviously there is far more to Lincoln than the strikers, they have a defence that has kept eight clean sheets away from home in League two so our forward players are going to have to work very hard to get anything. I can see this one going all the way, maybe beyond the 90 minutes as two hard working teams clash. It's going to be exciting and nail biting but I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world tomorrow at 3 pm.

COYB!!!

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Match Reports

Shrewsbury Town 0 Lincoln City 1

8 April 2018

Lincoln crowned Champions in 1-0 win

Shrewsbury Town: Dean Henderson, Ben Godfrey, Mat Sadler (c), Omar Beckles, Shaun Whalley (Arthur Gnahoua, 86), Carlton Morris, Nathan Thomas (Stefan Payne, 75), James Bolton, Bryn Morris (Alex Rodman, 67), Jon Nolan, Aristote Nsiala

Subs not used: Craig MacGillivray (GK), Max Lowe, Lennell John-Lewis, Abobaker Eisa

Lincoln City: Ryan Allsop, Sam Habergham, Elliot Whitehouse, Luke Waterfall (c), Matt Rhead (Ollie Palmer, 63), Matt Green (Sean Long, 95), Michael Bostwick, Lee Frecklington, Neal Eardley, Danny Rowe (Harry Anderson, 64), Alex Woodyard

Subs not used: Paul Farman (GK), Ellis Chapman, Cameron Stewart, Declan O’Hare

Referee: Gavin Ward

Assistant Referees: Duncan Street & Wayne Grunnill

4th Official: Mark Heywood

Match Attendance: 41,261

Shrewsbury Town’s hopes of ending their Wembley hoodoo and landing a major trophy were dashed this afternoon, when Elliot Whitehouse’s goal won the Checkatrade Trophy for Lincoln City. It extended Town’s losing sequence to four at the National Stadium and attention will now fully focus on gaining promotion to the Championship.

Paul Hurst made one change to his starting XI with a welcome return for Toto Nsiala following his recent facial injury at Spotland. Omar Beckles reverts to left back to leave Nsiala alongside skipper Mat Sadler at the heart of the back four, with Max Lowe dropping down to the substitute’s bench.

Steady rain in North London in the build up to the match might have dampened the supporters clothing, but certainly not their spirits. There was a great atmosphere as Town got the game started attacking the end where the Lincoln supporters were gathered.

There was a strange occurrence in the opening 60 seconds of the match when Nathan Thomas smashed the ball over his own crossbar from outside the box, but the early corner was dealt with comfortably enough.

Shrewsbury won a corner of their own in the fifth minute following an incisive burst from Omar Beckles, and although the corner was cleared, the danger wasn’t over. The ball fell to Bryn Morris who hit a stunning rising drive from all of 25 yards which clipped the top of the bar with Ryan Allsop rooted to the spot.

There was a real concern for Dean Henderson in the ninth minute when he came for a deep free-kick only to be pole-axed by burly striker, Matt Rhead. The shade of the card ought to have been a deeper one than Gavin Ward administered and Rhead could count himself a very lucky boy. The Wembley TV monitors showed clearly the striker’s intent, and frankly, it didn’t exactly cover him in glory. Thankfully, Deano recovered and the game continued with Rhead clearly now walking a tightrope.

In the 16th minute of the game Lincoln struck the first blow when Henderson – possibly still shaken by that heavy collision with Rhead - erred from a corner. The keeper could only parry a near post volley out into the waiting path of Whitehouse who knocked the rebound high into the goal from close range to bring the game to life.

Town responded well to the shock of conceding first and Shaun Whalley tried to pick out the far corner of Allsop’s net midway through the first half, but couldn’t quite hit the target.

At the other end, in this pulsating clash, a run of almost 70 yards from Danny Rowe carried him all the way to the byline, but Henderson punched clear the delivery from the right hand flank off the head of Matt Green. Then, villain of the piece Rhead latched onto a headed clearance and got his shot away, but Henderson saved easily.

Town forced a couple of back-to-back corners just past the half hour and from the second of them they came so close to a leveller. Whalley whipped in the ball and Beckles rose to head it towards the goal, but Allsop made a fantastic save throwing up a reactionary arm to keep the Imps in front.

Once again, the pendulum swung the other way and Green looked to have got in behind. But Henderson had read the danger and blocked bravely at the City man’s feet.

Nsiala received a talking to after barging into the back of the goalscorer and it became obvious that he’d discarded his protective face mask. Then Beckles conceded a cheap free kick having helped himself to a considerable handful of a Lincoln jersey, but Henderson was equal to Rowe’s set piece.

Carlton Morris lashed one way over the top as the half drew to a close, but it was the Lincoln side that went off down the tunnel the happier of the two teams.

Half Time: Lincoln City 1 Shrewsbury Town 0

Nsiala picked up a yellow early in the second half after trying Mr. Ward’s patience one too many times, and then the Town fans rallied their side who forced three corners in quick succession. Allsop did well to save a shot from Thomas with his feet in Shrewsbury’s best spell of the match, and there was certainly a bit more fluidity to their play in the opening 15 minutes of the second 45.

But, having soaked up the pressure, City missed a glorious opening when Rhead fired over a golden chance to double their lead. It was to be his last contribution and he went off to great applause with those sporting red and white favours, less so those in blue and amber who were in no mood to forgive Rhead’s ‘challenge’ on Henderson at 0-0.

Alex Rodman came on for Bryn Morris just after Beckles had fired high and wide when found in a bit of space at the back stick, and still Town trailed to that early Imps goal.

Hurst threw on Stefan Payne for the last 15 but the clock was whizzing round at a rate that looked like three minutes for every 60 seconds that passed - time was certainly not on Salop’s side.

Whitehouse acrobatically fired over the bar before Whalley shot weakly at Allsop who’d had a relatively quiet afternoon, save for that remarkable first half stop from Beckles’ header.

A penetrating Rodman run drew the foul on the edge of the box with Lee Frecklington booked. The big Wembley scoreboard showed 83:14 as Whalley swung his right boot but the City wall did its job. Within seconds Jon Nolan committed himself to a foul on Ollie Palmer and that was another name in the referee’s notebook.

The last 5 minutes passed in a heartbeat, and despite another 5 minutes of injury time, Town just couldn’t find a way through, and the final whistle brought heartache for the 12,000 supporters that had journeyed down to the Capital.

Full Time: Lincoln City 1 Shrewsbury Town 0

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Ticket News

Caldwell On Ticketmaster Decision

11 March 2018

CEO Brian Caldwell explains the decision to have Ticketmaster take care of Wembley tickets

Town have announced ticket details for the CheckaTrade Final that will go on sale on Monday.

The clubs ticketing partner Ticketmaster will be handling all sales due to the short time scale that the club have to sell tickets.

It’s a decision that has brought criticism from some supporters and CEO Brian Caldwell has been explaining the decision.

“We had a difficult decision to make and let’s be honest we’ve taken a bit of flack about the decision to sell the tickets through Ticketmaster.” said Brian.

“We only have just over 3 weeks to sell the tickets, they go off sale on Wednesday 4th as they have to go back to Wembley after then.

“A lot of fans have looked at it and gone “why are you selling through Ticketmaster?” They have the expertise and we have 20,000 tickets to sell in 3 weeks.

“People are looking at Lincoln and comparing us to them, but they have had an extra 5 weeks to sell than us.

“I understand the frustration from some fans. We want to sell the tickets ourselves but with such a tight timescale you’ve got to put your hands up and look at what the best solution is.”

A number of supporters have highlighted that they do not like to book online or over the phone and Brian has looked at solutions for this.

From 10am on Tuesday 13th March supporters will be able to come to the Montgomery Waters ticket office and the staff will help them process their order through Ticketmaster.  Ticketmaster will then post the tickets out to the supporter; the same fees apply as a normal online purchase.

“For anyone who doesn’t have Internet access or who is uncomfortable phoning up Ticketmaster they will be able to come down to the stadium and we will help them", said Brian.

“While we won’t be able to hand them their tickets, as all the tickets are with Ticketmaster, we will be able to process their booking through the ticket office and the staff will help them with that.

“Ticketmaster will then pick up that booking and the tickets will be sent to the address that the supporter chooses.”

It’s been a tough decision for the club to take, but it’s one that has been done after taking advice from a number of clubs who have previously got to the CheckaTrade final at Wembley.

“I was at a recent EFL meeting and a number of clubs who have been to the CheckaTrade final spoke to me”, said Brian.

“They said if you get to Wembley we will give you one bit of advice, don’t handle the tickets for the final yourself.

“I was speaking to the guys from Walsall today and they were in the final a few years ago and they reiterated that advice that the others had given me.”

 

 

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