Notts County v Lincoln City... 3 days to go

Last updated : 01 February 2007 By Paul Smith

The most thrilling encounter, perhaps ever, between the sides came during Notts' glorious Championship winning season of 1997/1998. That year the Magpies stole all the records, both for the club and for the league, then Division Three, now of course League 2. Because the season prior, a Lee Thorpe goal at Meadow Lane did give Lincoln a win, but it was the season after that things took off.

Thorpe... Celebrates is goal, but not the kit
That match, at Lincoln's Sincil Bank was an incredible eight goal thriller, Notts of course victorious by 5-3. That was Notts' ninth straight win at the time, and they made a club record ten by the very next game, defeating another rival, Mansfield Town, 2-0.

Lincoln had previously beaten Notts that season, defeating Sam Allardyce's men 2-1 at Meadow Lane in August. Ex-Magpie Phil Stant got Lincoln's winner that day, but the return fixture was Notts' revenge, and it came in January.

At half-time of the match, nobody could foresee what was to come, as Notts sat with ease with a delightful 3-0 lead. Sean Farrell on four, Ian Baraclough on 25 and Gary Strodder on 36 with the goals.

Lincoln's second half response was quite something, with Paul Smith immediately grabbing a goal back, following an uncharacteristic Darren Ward error on 48. Just five minutes later it was truly game on, when Mark Horne pulled another back for the Imps.

Notts were clearly rattled, and allowed an equaliser on the hour mark, Steve Brown slamming home.

The excitement of the Lincoln players clearly got to them, as they allowed Notts' leading scorer that year, Gary Jones, to breathlessly restore Notts' advantage just a minute later.

That seemed to deflate the hosts, who allowed Farrell to help himself to a brace on 72 minutes.

Farrell...Brace in incredible clash

Since then, Lincoln's failure to get out of the basement division meant Notts had to wait to face them again until their relegation back there for the 2004/2005 season.

Despite a season of mid-table mediocrity, Notts achieved a healthy double over the Imps, winning an end of season affair 1-0 at Meadow Lane, with now Lincoln man Mark Stallard scoring from the spot. Lincoln went on to lose in the Playoff final, a trait they have continued in recent times. Earlier that campaign Notts went to Sincil Bank and picked up an impressive 2-1 win. Tony Scully hit a brace, his first after Paul Bolland hit a post. Glyn Hurst then set Scully up for a fine second before the Imps got a consolation through Fletcher, at the time his sixth in six.

Last season saw a win apiece. Firstly, on a rain soaked August day at Meadow Lane, Nat Brown gave the visitors a lead with a thunderbolt from the edge of the area. Notts didn't take too long to respond, as a quick counter-attack following a Lincoln penalty claim - though it became evident that Derek Asamoah had dived - saw Steve Scoffham latch onto a ball and fire home, via Paul Morgan. Notts then took, and held the lead through Julien Baudet's awesome free-kick. That had Notts' fans in raptures at the brilliant start made under Gudjon Thordarson, how that turned sour, particularly by the time we travelled to Lincoln in February.

Scully... Another Notts v Lincoln hero
Francis Green gave the Imps a deserved lead in first half stoppage time, but Mike Edwards restores parity against the run of play on 73, when Chris Palmer delivered a ball into the box, and the defender glanced home.

Lincoln were not to be beaten by their out of form visitors, and Jamie McCombe boomed a header in with ten minutes to go.

Earlier this year Notts faced Lincoln on the opening day, grabbing a 1-1 draw. On reflection it is a vital point considering the successful season John Schofield's men have had. Again, it was Lincoln who went ahead, Adie Moses with a debut goal scrambled in on ten minutes, but Notts fought back for a deserved point on 55. Ian Ross swung a delicious free-kick towards goal and Jeff Hughes got the final touch for an own goal.


Played: 53

Notts: 29

Lincoln: 11

Draw: 13

Lincoln goals: 57 (1.1 per game)

Notts goals: 86 (1.7 per game)

Lincoln have failed to net 18 times, whilst Notts haven't scored in ten games.