With City’s fate decided at Stevenage, last week’s fixture against Colchester was an opportunity to rest a few weary legs and ease injured players back into the fold. Skipper Jordan Moore-Taylor was one of those players to return, and he completed nearly an hour of the 1-0 win, while Troy Archibald-Henville, Craig Woodman and Dan Seaborne also saw pitch time. Those rested included top scorer Jayden Stockley and rising star Jordan Storey, who will both hope to return for the first leg of the playoffs. Another starter was Ryan Harley, who made his return from injury from the bench at Stevenage, and he will hope to keep his place although Jake Taylor will have something to say about that. In terms of the line-up against Lincoln, Paul Tisdale seems to favour a defender at the anchor of the midfield to counter the threat from Matt Rhead – Archibald-Henville did that role with aplomb at the Park and was set to do so in the return at Sincil Bank before pulling out injured during the warm-up.
Having already been to Wembley (and won) this season, Lincoln fancy another visit, and promotion would cap a sensational return to the league after their time in the non-league wilderness. The Cowley brothers have seized upon the momentum that promotion brings to take the Imps to the brink of successive promotions. Their form has been a little patchy in recent games, with two each of wins, draws and losses in their final six games, their final regular season fixture a 1-1 draw with Yeovil that confirmed their place no matter what Mansfield did. Their goals have been spread around – Matt Green is top scorer with 16 in all competitions while supersub Ollie Palmer has 11 having started just 15 games across all formats. The aforementioned Rhead, despite a return of just nine goals, is a huge threat due to his presence which enables others to get into scoring positions, while Michael Bostwick in midfield has plenty of experience and can unlock any defence.
Both fixtures during the regular season finished with home wins. City’s victory back in August came courtesy of an early Reuben Reid strike, while it was an altogether different match at Sincil Bank on Good Friday. City led at half time through Stockley, but Lincoln came back in the second half through Rowe and Green. Jake Taylor equalised before substitute Palmer sealed a 3-2 win late on. Lincoln have the league head to head lead with 26 wins to City’s 19 (15 draws).
Head to head detail going back to 1994 can be found at http://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?p=9228
The match officials are:
Referee: Ben Toner
Assistant Referees: Sam Lewis and Duncan Street
Fourth Official: Darren Handley
Ben Toner has refereed five Exeter games, the most recent bring the late scoring win at Crewe in February. ll Ben’s Exeter games can be found at http://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?s=ben+toner