By Nathan Jackson
May 25 2007
In the latest "defining a season", we review the recently completed 2006/7 season in which City made the playoffs again. It was a mixed year for the Imps, topping the table in October before relegation form consigned us to the playoffs yet again. We thumped teams one week before then losing the next, it was a truly frustrating season.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS WAS NEVER INTENDED TO BE CLINICALLY SPECIFIC, JUST A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF SOME OF THE MAJOR INCIDENTS OF THE SEASON.
The season started with the new management team being appointed after Keith Alexander resigned. John Schofield and John Deehan certainly talked a good game and brought in some bright talent. Mark Stallard, Adie Moses, Ryan Semple, Jamie Forrester and Ryan Amoo all joined the Imps from various levels of football and the season started.
City got off to an excellent start, going unbeaten until mid-September. We were fortunate to get some wins, namely the extremely late showing at Torquay, but overall we were easily one of the best sides in the division, blowing teams away with our new style of football. The first defeat came at home to MK Dons on September 16th, it ended City's reign as the only team in the Football League not to have lost a game. 11 days later and City's record breaking run came to an end at 7 straight League away wins were ending by ex-Imp, Francis Green, scoring with one of Boston United's few shots on target against us.
Mid-October saw a trip to Barnet, City had been exceptionally lucky in the previous season. Barnet were 2-0 up after an hour in the 2005/6 season and looked to be heading for a comfortable victory despite the dominance of the Imps, 30 minutes later and City were taking hom the 3 points after scoring 3 late goals. This season's game was considerably less close, City running out 5-0 winners at Underhill, the joint biggest away win in the Division this season.
A week later and City ran riot again, smashing 7 past a hapless Rochdale side that were swept aside by the rampaging Imps. Then, one week later, something happened that hadn't happened for 8 years, the Imps went top of the League. A 1-0 victory at Swindon Town meant that the Imps were top of the pile for the first time since the 1997/8 season, a good omen for the Imps as that is the last season City won promotion.
City's stay lasted just a week and we never regained top spot. We did still have a great chance of automatic promotion when we visited Peterborough United however. A first half controlled by City eventually saw Ryan Amoo score his first goal in an Imps shirt. Ex-Imps Yeo and Gain combined to score with Peterborough's first shot on target before Amoo scored the winner with full time looming. Peterborough would have moved level on points with the Imps with a win, just a few weeks later they were 18 points behind City.
City continued on their merry way, not playing brilliantly but still getting the results that mattered and we moved within 2 points of the lead after beating Walsall in front of the Sky cameras in mid-February. The feel-good factor was well and truly going at Sincil Bank and automatic promotion seemed a formality.....that would be the final time City won an away game in the 2006/7 season.
The first major questions started to be asked in the week following that Walsall win as City were destroyed at home by an excellent Hereford side, then only drawing with lowly Accrington a few days later. The pack were catching up and it was now a 5 horse race for automatic promotion.
City however were well and truly falling off the pace, frustrating performances saw many Imps fans lose the faith of automatic promotion and even another win against Barnet in March couldn't change that mood. A week later and hopes of automatic promotion were near enough ended when Swindon gained revenge and won 3-2 at Sincil Bank, again in front of the Sky cameras.City failed to win again until the final game of the season when yet again, the Imps only needed to avoid defeat and hope that goal difference wouldn't be recovered by other sides to finish in the playoffs. It turns out that if City had lost by any scoreline then they would have finished 8th, it would have been the first time since the second week of the season since City had been outside of the Top 7. Thankfully though, City won and faced Bristol Rovers in the playoffs.
Bristol Rovers hadn't even troubled the top 7 until a very late run saw them make the end of season lottery. They didn't even enter the Top 7 at all until the penultimate weekend and City were confident of beating them. Jeff Hughes drew level in the first half after an early Disley opener and Bristol Rovers looked there for the taking. They scored again in the second half but even at 2-1 down going into the second leg, City were favourites to progress.
A 5-3 home defeat later and City's season ended on the back of a 7-4 aggregate defeat to a side that had never been above the Imps during the season.