Lincoln City
Sincil Bank

Ground No. 63
Visited - Saturday 14th May 2005
Result - Lincoln City 1-0 Macclesfield Town
Competition - Coca-Cola League 2 Play-Offs (Semi-Final)
Attendance - 7032

Going into the last day of the season, I was banking on Lincoln losing their final game against Yeovil, and Macclesfield getting at least a point against Rushden & Diamonds, because that way it would offer me the chance to see another ground in League 2. In the end Lincoln did lose, and Macclesfield got all 3 points, so finished above the Lincolnshire side, ensuring that the first leg would be at Sincil Bank. Having been to Moss Rose earlier in the season, I didn’t especially want to go again, so when the final scores came in, I was in a good mood, knowing that I'd have another opportunity to increase the number of grounds visited.

The fixture had been selected to be on Sky, so with a 5:15pm kick off, it gave me an extra few hours in bed, before catching the train up to Lincoln. Despite a longer than expected journey, I still managed to arrive in plenty of time, at about 1:30pm, and from the station made the short journey down to the ground.

After going around the outside taking pics, I managed to find a gate open, so went in and got some pictures of the inside as well. Once finished there, it was around to the ticket office, to collect my ticket, and then a quick visit to the club shop, before a walk back into town to find something to do for a few hours before kick-off. Eventually I ended up just walking around, before paying a visit to the cathedral, which was very impressive, sat on top of one of the steepest hills I’ve ever walked up (with the road leading to it ironically called ‘Steep Hill’!) After that, and a quick visit to a pub for a much-needed pint, I started to head off back to the ground at about 4:30pm.

Once there, and after walking half way around the ground, looking for the right turnstiles, I went in and found a decent seat. I was sitting in the Imps Stand, a small stand, only about 6 rows deep, with executive boxes at its rear, but nonetheless it offered a good view of the pitch, despite having a couple of pillars supporting the roof. To our right was the Lincolnshire Echo Stand, which was fairly tall, but only ran for about a quarter of the pitch, being centred on the halfway line. Beforehand I had read a lot of bad things about this stand in particular, and although it does somewhat let the rest of the ground down, I personally quite liked it. Opposite us was the Stacey-West Stand, named after the two Lincoln fans who had died in the Bradford fire, of which a tribute was paid to before kick-off. This was bigger than our end, and looked quite good, other than the faded seats, which looked a strange pink, as opposed to the bright red of the stand to our left, the Co-op Community Stand. This was the biggest, and by far the best part of the ground. Stretching for the entire length of the pitch, it stood tall, above the other 3 stands, and seemed to be where most of the singing came from during the game, the Macclesfield fans were also housed here in the end nearest to us. One strange thing was that of the four stands, none of them had the same colour seats, with the aforementioned pink/red efforts of the Stacey-West and Co-op stands, the Imps Stand was made up of green seating, and the Echo Stand was predominately black, although it would have looked tidier with all the same colours, the miss-match certainly helped add character to what seems a good place to watch football.

When the game got started, it didn’t take the home side long to stamp their authority on it, going ahead in the 11th minute, through Gareth McAuley. Macclesfield didn’t give up at this point though, but unfortunately never posed a genuine threat, allowing Lincoln far too much time on the ball to do as they pleased. After such a bright start, the first-half ended 1-0, but it could have been different when with about two minutes left to the break, Matt Tipton hit the underside of the bar, with a thumping shot for the visitors.

The second-half started much the same as the first had finished, and despite never exactly getting you on the edge of your seat, it was end-to-end action, with each team having ample opportunity to score, but in the end neither could, so it finished with Lincoln taking a 1-0 lead into the second leg.
Throughout the game, despite having relatively small numbers, the Macclesfield fans out sung the home support, which was a bit of a shame, having read before how loud Lincoln fans usually are, and although this was shown briefly on a few occasions, the atmosphere generally could have been a bit better, especially for such an important game.

After leaving the ground, I made my way back to the station, getting back in time for the train home, although I didn’t arrive back into Wolverhampton until gone midnight after missing a connection in Nottingham.

Overall it was quite a good day out, all the bad things that I had heard about Lincoln and Sincil Bank beforehand, proved to be unfounded, with the Echo Stand looking quite nice, and the area around the ground (which I'd been told resembled somewhere like downtown Beirut!) not being anywhere near as bad as I had feared. The City itself also seemed quite a nice place, so hopefully I’ll get the chance to go back one of the days, as it was certainly one of the more enjoyable trips this season, especially for a neutral game.

Welcome to Sincil Bank

Rear of the Stacey-West Stand

Rear of the Echo Stand

Rear of the Imps Stand

Rear of the Co-op Community Stand

Two religions side-by-side

He crosses...

The Co-op Community Stand

The Imps Stand

The Echo Stand

The Stacey-West Stand

The Echo Stand

The Stacey-West Stand

The Co-op Community Stand


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