YOUTH TEAM REPORT | Town 2-2 Lincoln City

Our U18s shared four goals with Lincoln City in their latest EFL Youth Alliance league match on Saturday.

Town went in a goal down at the break at Cheapside after striker Bailey Adamson gave the Imps the advantage.

But the Young Mariners were on the front foot for the majority of the contest and they eventually got their rewards as Harry Milner equalised from the penalty spot and Louis Boyd looked to have won it with a header five minutes from time.

Lincoln had the final say though, as a solo goal from Harry Dale levelled the scores again and ensured both sides earned a point.


After losing 2-0 at home to Harrogate last week, Town made a very fast start and signalled their intentions right from the kick-off, when Harry Milner shot from the halfway line but sent his attempt wide.

Two minutes in, the home side were awarded an indirect free kick on the edge of the penalty area, although Milner’s strike was blocked after the ball had been touched to him by Shakeel Brown.

Lincoln’s first attacking move saw Zane Okoro beat right-back Callum Storr, who was penalised for a shirt-pull after the referee initially tried to play the advantage.

The away side opened the scoring soon afterwards, from their first chance of the game. A long ball from Denny Oliver was run onto by striker Adamson and he sent a cool, low finish past Town goalkeeper Harry French from a narrow angle.

Town’s response saw Milner find Edwin Essel inside the Lincoln box but keeper Nicolae-Mario Vasiliou came off his line to block the striker’s low shot.

The home pressure continued when a Brown cross was put behind for a corner on the right and from it, Brown’s delivery was cleared back to him and he was brought down near the corner flag for a free kick. This time, his low ball was cleared at the near post.

Grimsby had put together some good spells of possession in the early stages of the contest but their final ball was often lacking and Vasiliou remained relatively untroubled in the away goal.

A Brown cross was chested wide by Finley Fletcher, then a late challenge by Darryl Powell on Milner earned the Lincoln defender a yellow card and gave Town another opportunity to create some danger. Brown’s free kick from midway inside the away half was headed away but the ball was worked back to Milner inside the box, although he opted not to shoot and the chance was gone.

Another opening came on 21 minutes with a move involving Essel and Will Hodgson, which led to a cross from Milner being pushed up into the air by the keeper. Fletcher’s rebound was deflected wide for a corner, which was headed back across goal by Henry Moore but nobody in black and white could turn the ball towards the net.

Moore was in action at the other end to head a cross from Charlie Carlisle away from danger, then midfielder Dale had two chances in quick succession to double the visitors’ advantage. First, he hit a free kick straight at French from the edge of the box, then he let fly from distance with a thunderbolt which beat the keeper but crashed off the bar.

Harry Thorpe started a nice attacking move for the Young Mariners on the half-hour when he found Essel with a ball forward. The striker cut inside before playing it back to Thorpe, who lifted his attempt over the bar from 25 yards.

A home corner from the right was dealt with at the far post, then Essel drove into the box from the left but his pull-back was cut out before it could reach Milner.

A shot by Lincoln’s Okoro was blocked after a free kick had been headed away by Storr, then Milner fizzed a cross over from the right at the other end but it was well-held by Vasiliou.

Milner looked for Essel with a low ball into the box as Town aimed to get themselves back on level terms before the interval but Vasiliou came off his line to beat the striker to it and ensure the away side retained their narrow advantage at half-time.


Tom Nesbitt replaced goalscorer Adamson for Lincoln before the restart but the Young Mariners created the first chance of the second half. Fletcher and Essel linked up down the right and a cross broke for Boyd at the far post but he sent his first-time shot over the bar.

A cross from Storr was hooked away for a corner on 49 minutes and Brown played the ball low from the flag to Hodgson, although the midfielder’s mis-hit cross sailed out for a goal kick.

Okoro fired wide at the other end after a run from Russell Berko, then a great ball from Oliver found Okoro but he was unable to capitalise as the move led to an offside decision.

Oliver sliced wide from 20 yards, before a run by Berko through the middle was adjudged to have been unfairly stopped by Boyd. That gave Dale another free kick in a shooting position but his strike from 30 yards was pushed clear by French in the Town goal.

Another home corner was headed clear, then Brown sent a half-volley over the bar and Henry Brown came on for Fletcher in the hosts’ first change.

Grimsby were pushing for an equaliser and it eventually came on 69 minutes. Milner went down under a challenge inside the box and the referee initially gave a corner but pointed to the spot after consulting with one of his assistants. Milner stepped up and found the bottom-left corner of the net from 12 yards.

Billy Bradley and Cameron Walsh replaced Storr and Hodgson on 71 minutes and soon afterwards, Lincoln keeper Vasiliou was called into action to tip a Milner shot away for a corner. It was cleared but the pressure continued with another flag-kick, although the referee blew for a foul against Moore as he headed the ball from it over the bar.

Milner saw another attempt saved by the feet of the keeper, before Charlie Clements replaced Essel in the Town attack and Lincoln made a double-substitution with 10 minutes to go.

A penalty appeal came from the visitors when Berko went down as French raced off his line, although the referee ruled the attacker had dived and brandished the yellow card.

Vasiliou got to a Clements shot at the other end and Boyd was unable to turn the rebound back towards goal as Town pressed for a winner.

And the turnaround was completed on 85 minutes when a Shakeel Brown cross from the right was met by BOYD and his close-range header hit the back of the net.

At that point, Town looked to be on their way to three points but Lincoln fought back and were level again within two minutes. Dale set off on a run through the middle and after working an opening for a shot, he beat French from 18 yards to make it 2-2.

In an exciting finish to the game, the Young Mariners pushed forward in a bid to snatch victory and Clements was inches away from connecting with a right-wing cross, before Bradley won the ball ahead of the keeper but could not apply a finish.

Dale was booked after a flashpoint followed a foul on Bradley to the right of the penalty area but the resulting free kick was headed over the bar by Moore, who was penalised for a push in the process.

That proved to be the last chance for Grimsby to win the game and they were instead forced to settle for a frustrating draw.
Town will aim to get back to winning ways when they host Doncaster Rovers in their next Youth Alliance league clash on Saturday.

Town: Harry French, Callum Storr (Billy Bradley, 71), Louis Boyd, Harry Thorpe, Alex Markham, Henry Moore, Shakeel Brown, Will Hodgson (Cameron Walsh, 71), Edwin Essel (Charlie Clements, 77), Finley Fletcher (Henry Brown, 60), Harry Milner

Lincoln: Nicolae-Mario Vasiliou, Charlie Carlisle, Noah Simmons, Harry Dale, Darryl Powell (Resharne McLean, 80), MJ Kamson-Kamara, Louis Nesbitt (Christopher Grant, 80), Denny Oliver, Bailey Adamson (Tom Nesbitt, 46), Zane Okoro, Russell Berko


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