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Report: Lincoln City 0 Rovers 1

A first half Joe Nuttall header was enough for Rovers to earn a 1-0 win at Sincil Bank

22 July 2018

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Joe Nuttall's header just a moment before half time was all it took for Rovers to register a 1-0 victory against League Two side Lincoln City at Sincil Bank.

Nuttall connected cleanly with a lovely Craig Conway cross to nod Rovers in front against the Imps, and it turned out for be a pretty comfortable afternoon for Tony Mowbray's side.

Every squad player got game time in the sunshine aside from David Raya, who was the only unused substitute on the day.

It could well have been more for Rovers, with substitute Bradley Dack seeing the impressive Josh Vickers in his way on two occasions in the second half.

But one goal was all it took and it meant Rovers got back on track in pre-season after defeat at home to Liverpool on Thursday night at Ewood Park.

Mowbray rotated his side for the clash against the Imps and was bolstered by Danny Graham's return to the side, with the striker unavailable for the last couple of pre-season friendlies.

Graham started at Sincil Bank having missed the trip to Port Vale and the home clash against Liverpool last week due to a slight injury.

Only Darragh Lenihan and Elliott Bennett kept their places from the starting XI which began the game against Liverpool on Thursday evening.

Scott Wharton also started against a side who he spent the second half of last season with, reaching the League Two play-offs.

The hosts included the experienced central midfielder Lee Frecklington in their team, whilst summer signing John Akinde also started.

In a lively start from the hosts, it was Rovers who went closest in the opening stages with Peter Whittingham crashing a 25-yard strike off the upright after Conway won a free kick nine minutes into the game.

Midway through the half, which contained limited chances for either side, Akinde nodded a left-wing cross wide of Jayson Leutwiler's right-hand post in a rare foray forward from the home side.

Nuttall was starting up top with Graham, and he nearly broke the deadlock with 28 minutes gone, but after great work down the right from Elliott Bennett, the young striker could only loop a header onto the roof of Vickers' net.

More fine wing play from the lively Bennett finished with an inch perfect cross for Graham, but the forward could only head down and over from a few yards out when he really should have opened the scoring.

Just when it looked like both teams would head into the break level, some good work down the left side involving Whittingham and Conway led to the Scot dinking a cross up into the danger area and there was Nuttall to beat Vickers with a pinpoint header, which was enough for Rovers to take the advantage into half time.

A double change saw the impressive Bennett and Lenihan replaced, with the duo being replaced by Lewis Travis and Ryan Nyambe.

Just two minutes into the half and Jacob Davenport almost made it 2-0, but after getting on the end of a Nuttall pass, our newest signing's curling effort took a deflection and whistled past the post.

Bradley Dack was one of seven changes on the hour, and he tested Vickers with a venomous strike from range, but the Lincoln stopper was on hand to produce an excellent stop; tipping the drive around the post and out.

Dack and Vickers continued their personal duel with 15 minutes remaining, but once again it was the Imps custodian who came out on top, tipping over another attempt from our playmaker just a moment after a great block denied substitute Joe Rothwell from adding to our tally.

Rovers certainly improved after the flurry of substitutions, with notable experienced being added on the pitch, and Nuttall's goal was enough to secure victory.

A reminder that Rovers continue their pre-season preparations on Thursday evening when Everton visit Ewood Park for our final home friendly ahead of the big Championship kick-off. Ticket for the game remain on sale and you can purchase yours by clicking here.

Lincoln City: Vickers, Eardley, Waterfall, Wilson, Toffolo, Pett (Anderson, 46), Frecklington (B. Trialist, 79), Chapman, Andrade (A. Trialist, 46), Akinde (Rhead, 61), Green (C. Trialist, 79).

Unused substitutes: Smith.

Rovers: Leutwiler, Downing, Lenihan (Nyambe, 46), Wharton (Mulgrew, 61), Bennett (Travis, 46), Bell (Williams, 61), Davenport (Smallwood, 61), Whittingham (Evans, 61), Conway (Rothwell, 61), Nuttall (Dack, 61), Graham (Samuel, 61).

Unused substitute: Raya.

Goal: Nuttall, 44

Referee: John Brooks

Attendance: 3,275 (355 away)

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