Last minute Judge goal ends FA Cup misery
Alan Judge ended Town’s nine year run without a win in the FA Cup with a goal with virtually the last touch of the 90 minutes.
The Republic of Ireland international found the net from close range for his first goal for the Club to book Blues a second round visit to Coventry on December 1.
It needed a brilliant save from Tomas Holy to keep the scores level as the game looked set for extra-time, then Town surged up the other end and Judge took centre stage.
Judge and Andre Dozzell returned from international duty to line up for Blues, Brett McGavin handed his first appearance in the FA Cup. James Wilson skippered the side against his former club.
Toto Nsiala swept up twice in quick succession as Lincoln asked questions of the Town defence in the opening minutes, Bruno Andrade then getting in down the left but his cross drifted harmlessly over the bar.
Andrade was proving an outlet for the Imps and Janoi Donacien had to be alert to prevent the wideman escaping down the flank again, the Town full-back holding firm minutes later as the hosts looked for Andrade to cause problems again.
It was Town who had the first shot in anger though, Emyr Huws cutting inside but his left footer was wide of the near post. At the other end Jake Hesketh’s cross after a weaving run beat everyone.
On 15 minutes, neat play from the Imps carved out a clear chance for John Akinde but he volleyed the ball wide from 15 yards, Andrade then seeing a shot deflected wide after he had been gifted possession.
Lincoln continued to look the more likely to break the deadlock and Harry Toffolo rampaged forward to see his shot forced behind after Andrade set him up, Michael Appleton’s side having a free-kick come to nothing, then Hesketh’s radar was off down the right.
Lincoln suffered a blow when Andrade was carried off 10 minutes before the break, Jack Payne the replacement but the hosts maintained the attacking edge,
Holy had to be quick off his line to clear as Akinde chased down Nsiala’s back pass, Nsiala then putting in a superb tackle to quell the danger from Harry Anderson.
Town’s best moment of the first-half came just before the break, an incisive ball from Dozzell, a twist and turn from Will Keane before the striker forced Josh Vickers into a tip over save.
Akinde got the second-half up and running with a left footer that whistled past the far post, the striker clear on goal two minutes later after Payne’s clever pass but Holy was equal to the task.
The Town ‘keeper showed good hands soon after to pluck Toffolo’s fierce cross out of the air, Wilson defending well to clear with his head as Akinde looked to capitalise at the back post.
Huws tested Vickers from 25 yards, Anderson doing the same at the other end, Holy pushing the ball to safety, Town then making a first change with the injured McGavin making way for Idris El Mizouni.
Nsiala had a towering header cleared off the line from Judge’s cross, Donacien doing superbly to prise open a space on the right, his cross cleared by Jason Shackell as Town enjoyed a spell of possession deep in Lincoln’s half.
Akinde was replaced by Tyler Walker 10 minutes from time, Cian Bolger and Anderson both going close as a place in the second round hung in the balance, while at the other end a sweeping break saw Anthony Georgiou find Judge on the right, his cross cleared by the well placed Shackell.
It took a brilliant save from Holy to deny Anderson in added on time when a late winner looked certain and with virtually last kick, that winner arrived thanks to Judge.
Lincoln: Vickers, Toffolo, Shackell, Bolger, Andrade (Payne 35), Chapman, Grant, Eardley, Anderson, Hesketh, Akinde (Walker 81). Subs not used: Smith, Pett, Bostwick, Connolly, Melbourne.
Town: Holy, Donacien, Wilson, Nsiala, Kenlock, Huws, Dozzell (Hughes 90), McGavin (El Mizouni 66), Judge, Georgiou, Keane. Subs not used: Przybek, Rowe, Edwards, Woolfenden, Simpson. Booked: Donacien.