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Match Reports

Report: Lincoln City U18s 2-3 Iron U18s

16 December 2020

Jack Moore-Billam scored deep into second-half stoppage time as the Iron Under-18s completed a dramatic turnaround to win 3-2 away at Lincoln City to go top of the Youth Alliance League.

Patrick Virgo got the other two goals which had drawn the side level after being 2-0 down after half an hour as the academy side made it three wins on the bounce to complete their calendar year of fixtures.

United came into the game with just 12 players, with some of the Under-15s and Under-16s who usually supplement the side at school, while Joey Dawson was withdrawn from the squad on the morning of the game, meaning Moore-Billam was drafted into the starting eleven.

Professional Phase Development Coach Steve Thornber said: "After being 2-0 down in the first half, I thought they were going to beat us by more but we changed our tactics at half-time and dropped deeper. We let them have the ball in their own half and they couldn't break through.

"They didn't have many chances and we hit them on the counter-attack. It was pleasing, especially in adversity, missing Joey through illness and Cam (Wilson) through suspension. We only had one substitute and fair play to the lads, they stuck in, battled well and it's a fantastic result."

The hosts took the lead on nine minutes following a couple of early chances which went wide of the target. The ball was picked up inside the area before being angled into the corner of the net.

Lincoln could've added to their tally soon after, with Jake Balme making a couple of good stops to deny the hosts, while Virgo at the other end tried to force an opening. The closest the Iron came in the opening exchanges, after the goal, was an effort which flashed across the face of goal and wide.

1-0 became 2-0 on 29 minutes as the Imps' early dominance paid off with another effort nestling in the corner of the net as Lincoln looked to cement their lead and take one step towards the top of the league.

However, despite their dominance, the Iron would halve the deficit in the first minute of stoppage time at the end of the first half. The goal would be the work of Virgo, who dispossessed a Lincoln player before striding forward on the right side, just outside the area, before lifting the ball over the advancing goalkeeper with the ball nestling into the net to make it 2-1.

Lincoln came out to restore their two-goal lead at the start of the second half, but found bodies in the way as the Iron put everyone behind the ball to stop the attacks. Meanwhile, at the other end, United looked to counter-attack with bodies rushing forward when the side did win the ball back. Virgo and Moore-Billam were a constant threat with a couple of chances going wide in the early exchanges.

The equaliser did come in the 69th minute as Scunthorpe broke forward. Virgo found himself in the clear and, with the 'keeper out of position, he took the effort early catching him off-guard. The ball curled around him and nestled into the centre of the net to bring the tie all-square.

Oliver Kemp was withdrawn through injury on 74 minutes with Charley Strouther on in his place.

Shortly after, the hosts won a free-kick on the left side of the area, with Dan Gallimore receiving a yellow card. From the resultant kick, the ball was played towards the back post and headed into the net, but the goal was chalked off for offside.

Scunthorpe were always a danger on the counter-attack, with Gallimore's opposite number also receiving a yellow card from the referee on 81 minutes as he pulled back an Iron player as they broke forward down the left.

United were absorbing late pressure from the hosts who wanted that winner, but they were always a threat on the counter-attack. The side twice came forward down the right channel but couldn't work those moves into chances. In defence, the side were running the clock down and following treatment to Kemp on the pitch and brief treatment to Moore-Billam in the latter stages, four minutes of stoppage time was played.

Into the final minute of that added-on time, Lincoln had their final attempt into the box which was well dealt with by the visiting team. That prompted a quick break with Oliver Lobley crossing towards Strouther. He couldn't control, but did see the ball to Moore-Billam who controlled on the edge of the box, worked the ball past two players and angled in a shot across goal and into the corner of the net to take all three points.

The side are next scheduled to be in action on January 9th, 2021 with a trip to face Doncaster Rovers.

IRON: Balme, Baker, Gallimore, Kemp (Strouther, 74), Lewis, Lobley, Moore-Billam, Virgo, Young, Moore, Cribb.

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