Lincoln 2-0 Sunderland: Brennan Johnson on target as Imps take charge in play-off first leg

Report and highlights from the Sky Bet League One play-off semi-final first leg between Lincoln and Sunderland at the LNER Stadium as goals from Tom Hopper and Brennan Johnson saw the Imps take control of the tie ahead of Saturday’s second leg

By Dan Long

Wednesday 19 May 2021 21:57, UK

Lincoln took full control of their Sky Bet League One play-off semi-final after a 2-0 win over Sunderland in the first leg at the LNER Stadium on Wednesday.

The Imps improved upon an encouraging first half – in which teenager Brennan Johnson struck the post – to take the lead when Tom Hopper struck from inside the six-yard box shortly after the break (51).

Debutant goalkeeper Joe Bursik – who signed on an emergency loan from Stoke on Tuesday – was called into action several times thereafter, while the Black Cats also struck the woodwork twice in quick succession.

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But the hosts added an important second when visiting stopper Lee Burge’s attempted clearance struck Johnson and fell kindly for him, allowing him to roll into the empty net (77).

On Saturday afternoon, the two teams go to battle in the decisive second leg at the Stadium of Light.


Lincoln City

How Lincoln seized control on home turf

Backed by a lively 3,000-strong crowd, a roar accompanied every early Lincoln attack and after five minutes, Anthony Scully fired a warning shot when he controlled a sweeping pass out to the right and hit a shot that was seemingly tipped over by Burge, though referee Craig Hicks disagreed and awarded a goal-kick.

Within a five-minute period, Sunderland lost Denver Hume to injury, while Lincoln were forced to withdraw Adam Jackson and bring Lewis Montsma into the action, who burst forward and called Burge into action again with a neat volley that took a deflection on its way into his arms.

Nottingham Forest loanee Johnson then turned his man, kept his composure and struck a low shot that had Burge beaten, though the woodwork came to Sunderland’s rescue as it cannoned off the base of the post.

With little service for 30-goal striker Charlie Wyke, the visitors rarely tested Bursik – in the first half, though Lynden Gooch had the stopper scrambling just before the break when his delightful curling effort nestled the wrong side of the left-hand post.

But they came out for the second half refreshed and were unfortunate not to take the lead, firstly when Jordan Jones’ ferocious effort was tipped onto the bar by Bursik and then when Bailey Wright connected with a corner and sent his free header onto the crossbar.

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