Town out of the cup after Arnold's late winner at Sincil Bank
Tom Lawrence and Josh Emmanuel both went close for Blues but the Imps were the better team over 90 minutes and the winger, who was arguably the best player on the park over both games, burst through on goal on the counter attack following Adam Marriott’s clever pass and rounded Dean Gerken to give his team a home tie against Brighton in the next round.
Paul Digby came in for first start since the Capital Cup defeat by Stevenage in August, with Adam Webster out with an ankle injury in one of five changes from the team that beat Blackburn at the weekend.
Josh Emmanuel sent in a cross from the right that evaded Leon Best in the game’s first opening, Luke Chambers then in the right place to clear from Arnold’s delivery in a tentative start.
Arnold fired over from distance, then Tom Lawrence forced Paul Farman into the first save of the night, low to his right.
Gerken had to be alert to punch clear from Matt Rhead from Arnold’s cross, Chambers again in the right area to cancel out Theo Robinson as he burst into the box.
Rhead headed wide, Cole Skuse cleared the danger from Rhead in the box, then Farman had to be quick off his line as Skuse chased down a backpass.
Robinson was blocked out by Chambers after Rhead headed on inside the Town box, Jonathan Douglas responding for Blues with a 30 yard effort well wide.
Alex Woodyard had a gilt edged chance to put Lincoln in front when he got on the end of Robinson’s cross, then Rhead just failed to get on the end of a delivery from Terry Hawkridge as the Imps edged the first-half.
Emmanuel and Grant Ward linked up down the right but the cross beat Best at the far post, before Gerken came to the rescue for Town on the stroke of half-time with a save from Luke Waterfall after Rhead had headed on again from a throw.
Jonas Knudsen sent in a long throw that was plucked out of the air by Farman as Best challenged in the opening stages of the second-half, the Imps’ keeper then doing well to keep out Emmanuel’s shot from the edge of the box.
Gerken held firm to take Arnold’s free-kick as the tie remained in the balance, Christophe Berra blocking Arnold’s shot after the Imps won possession in midfield.
Gerken was off his line to deny Robinson getting in, Douglas then picking up the first booking of the game for foul.
Gerken saved to his left from Alan Power’s 20 yarder, before Town made a first change on 74 minutes with Freddie Sears on for Best and Andre Dozzell for Ward.
Arnold sent a 25 yarder effort over the bar, Rhead had a right foot volley blocked, Robinson making way for Marriott in Lincoln’s first change.
Knudsen ripped a left foot blast just wide, Sears forcing a corner before the tie was settled in the last minute. Lawrence’s free-kick was headed clear and Marriott sent Arnold clear on goal and he rounded Gerken to put the Imps into the fourth round.
Town: Gerken, Emmanuel, Knudsen, Chambers, Digby, Berra, Skuse, Douglas, Ward (Dozzell 74), Lawrence, Best (Sears 74). Subs not used: Bialkowski, Webber, Bru, McDonnell, Morris. Booked: Douglas.
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