Anderson sees red as spirited Cobblers hold league leaders Lincoln

All square! Aaron Pierre celebrates his equaliser with Ash Taylor. Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds
All square! Aaron Pierre celebrates his equaliser with Ash Taylor. Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds

Cobblers picked up another useful point on the road when they held 10-man league leaders Lincoln City to a 1-1 draw at Sincil Bank on Saturday afternoon.

The game was riddled with controversy as home fans felt hard done by following several decisions that went against their side throughout the afternoon, but the point was no more than Town deserved for another battling away performance.

Jack Bridge tangles with former Cobbler Neal Eardley during the first-half of Saturday's game at Sincil Bank

Jack Bridge tangles with former Cobbler Neal Eardley during the first-half of Saturday's game at Sincil Bank

Bar Bruno Andrade's 27th minute opener, which came out of the blue, a low-key first-half was drifting along largely without incident right up until the final few moments.

That's when things all changed as Harry Anderson was given his marching orders by referee Graham Salisbury before Aaron Pierre swiftly brought Town level in first-half stoppage-time.

The second-half was a bitty, fractious affair characterised by a lack of clear-cut chances, and despite Lincoln having three shouts for a penalty turned down, all in stoppage-time, the game ended level.

This will undoubtedly go down as a positive result for the Cobblers, particularly in the context of Tuesday's victory at Tranmere, and whilst it may have been better having played against 10 men for 50 minutes, the point inches them closer to safety.

Jodan Turnbull

Jodan Turnbull

Keith Curle made only one change to the team that triumphed at Prenton Park in midweek as John-Joe O'Toole replaced Joe Powell in central midfield, meaning Sam Hoskins again led the line.

And the diminutive forward came close to making it three goals in a week when space almost opened up for him in the home penalty box, but City's defence smothered away the danger just in the nick of time.

Town were forced into some last-ditch defending of their own when blocking Cian Bolger's close-range shot, but by and large they had done a decent job of nullifying their high-flying hosts and keeping a packed-out Sincil Bank quiet.

But Imps struck out of the blue 27 minutes in when the visiting defence was a little slow to react to John Akinde's knock-down and Andrade was on hand to rifle a first-time half-volley into the bottom left-hand corner.

That was the only incident worth discussing up until the final few minutes of the first-half when Lincoln, who had seemed fairly comfortable up, threw away their position of strength.

Firstly, Anderson was shown a straight red card after diving in recklessly on David Buchanan, and then Pierre levelled things up with the last kick of the half.

After Hoskins' 30-yard free-kick was tipped wide by home stopper Grant Smith, Cobblers worked the subsequent corner nicely as Jack Bridge drilled fizzed in low cross and Pierre gratefully gobbled up the chance just six yards out.

Suddenly, an opportunity was presenting itself for Town to cause a major upset at the home of the league leaders, although Akinde did then whizz a shot wide of the far post straight after the restart.

An offside flag ruled out Bridge's effort, Jordan Turnbull sliced over from range and Ash Taylor headed wide as the Cobblers looked to press home their man advantage.

But in trutth half chances were all the second-half really had to offer with both sides seemingly unsure what to do - go for the win or shut up shop and take the point.

There was some late drama in stoppage-time when three times Lincoln screamed for a penalty, with Imps boss Danny Cowley particularly incensed by the first incident when the ball appeared to strike O'Toole's arm.

But referee Salisbury stood strong and refused to buckle under the pressure from home fans and supporters as Town came away with a well-earned point.

Lincoln: Smith, Eardley, O'Connor (O'Hara 80), Shackell, Frecklington (Pett 33), Andrade, Toffolo, Rowe, Bolger, Anderson, Akinde (Angol 74)

Subs not used: Vickers, Brown, Roberts, Rhead

Cobblers: Cornell, Goode, Taylor, Pierre (c), Facey (D Powell 55), Buchanan, Turnbull, McWilliams (Elsnik 63), O'Toole, Bridge (Morias 80), Hoskins

Subs not used: Coddington, J Powell, Bowditch, A Williams

Referee: Michael Salisbury

Attendance: 9,352

Cobblers fans: 482