By Nathan Jackson
May 24 2010
2009/10 was a difficult season at Sincil Bank. Peter Jackson was sacked early on and replaced with Chris Sutton, a first time manager. An FA Cup run was the highlight in an otherwise forgetable season for the City. The squad underwent a major facelift during the season with a total of 40 players used.
Just like the season before, Peter Jackson had a bit of a clear out at the club. Lee Beevers, Adrian Patulea, Dany N'Guessan, Ayden Duffy, Lee Frecklington, Ben Wright, Frank Sinclair and Geoff Horsfield all left the Imps. Replacing them were Jamie Clarke, Sam Clucas, Joe Heath, Rene Howe, Chris Fagan and the returning Richard Butcher.
The signings were far from popular (other than Butcher) and the Imps were tipped for nothing higher than midtable by virtually any of their own fans. Despite this though, the Imps won two of their first three League games for the first time since 2007/8. A Tuesday night win at Bradford would turn out to be Peter Jackson's last win though as Jackson was sacked exactly two weeks and three games later.
Various names were linked to the managerial position in the weeks following, such as Gary Brabin, Martin Pembleton, Simon Davey (whom ironically had beaten City with Barnsley in the Carling Cup in August) and various others all linked with the position. It surprised many when Chris Sutton, a former England striker with no experience, was appointed.
Sutton's first two games resulted in victories, but that didn't stop him from doing a major overhaul of the squad. With his first month at the club he had signed Adam Watts, Anthony Pulis, Khano Smith, Eric Lichaj and Nathan Baker. This would become a trend throughout the season.
Despite the first two games ending in victory, Sutton would fail to win for 10 games in the League, although two wins in the FA Cup at Telford and Northwich secured a third round tie at Bolton Wanderers. By the time that game came around, the playing squad was a mere shadow of it's former self. Chris Herd, Delroy Facey, Michael Gordon, Matt Saunders, Michael Uwezu and Joe Anderson all joined before the turn of the year.
After 10 games without a win, the Imps record three wins in a row that would eventually prove the difference between survival and relegation. Those wins came over Chesterfield, Barnet and Bradford City. The game over Chesterfield saw City leading 2-0 before Chesterfield missed a late penalty that would have levelled the game. The victory at Barnet also came late on, John-Lewis scoring the winner in the 3rd minute of added on time.
City were generally inconsistent and although the home form was decent enough, the away form was atrocious. A February that saw 8 games returned just six points. One of the games in that month showed that a lot of work still needed to be done. City were 1-0 down at 22 seconds at Port Vale, 2-0 after 2 minutes, Vale missed a penalty on five minutes, it was 3-0 before the 15 minute mark, it was a minor miracle that City only conceded once more in the remaining 75 minutes.
Then came Davide. Davide Somma was a striker who was barely even on the fringes at Leeds Unietd before Chris Sutton loaned him in. Somma would go on to score on his debut against Crewe, one of 9 goals he would score in just 14 games for the Imps. His goals secured ten points for the Imps in the final two months of the season and he would be the club's top goalscorer by 4 goals.
City would end the season well at home, only losing twice at Sincil Bank in the 2010 section of the season.