Lincoln City continued their superb form in all competitions with a huge FA Cup upset as they beat Ipswich Town 1-0 in their third round replay at Sincil Bank.
It was a late goal from Nathan Arnold which was the difference between the two teams and has now put Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy under significant pressure.
A cagey first-half affair
Danny Cowley made several changes to the weakened team he fielded in the 3-1 win over Gateshead in the FA Trophy at the weekend. The likes of Nathan Arnold, Luke Waterfall, Theo Robinson and Matt Rhead all returned to the starting line-up.
The crowd at Sincil Bank created an electric atmosphere and it was the home side who had the first chance in the game. Arnold's strike from 25 yards out flew just wide of the post.
Ipswich came into this game as huge favourites considering they are a Championship outfit and subsequently three divisions above Lincoln. Their first opportunity came as Tom Lawrence dribbled into space before firing hit shot at goal which was comfortably saved by Paul Farman.
Lincoln had a great chance to open the scoring as Theo Robinson delivered a superb cross for Alex Woodyard but he could only head wide despite being unmarked by the Ipswich defence.
The home side arguably edged what was a very tight first half at Sincil Bank. However, they could have gone 1-0 up just before the break as Luke Waterfall's stabbed shot was kept out superbly by Ipswich keeper Gerken. However, referee Ben Toner failed to give a corner and the two teams went into the break all square.
Arnold sends Sincil Bank into delirium
It was a relatively slow start to the second half in which Ipswich had the first big opportunity. Emmanuel was able to turn in the box and fire a low shot towards goal. However, Farman was able to block and Waterfall cleared it away from the danger area.
It was a dismal display by Ipswich and McCarthy decided he would try and change the game by making a double substitution in the 75th minute of the game. Freddie Sears and Andre Dozzell came on in place of Leon Best and Grant Ward.
Cowley also decided to make a change soon after. Adam Marriott came on for Theo Robinson who had been largely ineffective. However, he still received a standing ovation from the crowd as he arguably earned Lincoln this replay with his two goals in the previous meeting.
The winning goal came in the most extraordinary circumstances. Bradley Wood cleared out Lawrence as he made a dangerous run into the box and gave away a free-kick. This was cleared with ease by the Lincoln defence and fell nicely for Marriott to counter. He timed a through ball to perfection for Arnold who was running through and he went around Gerken before calmly putting the ball into the back of the net.
This goal sent Lincoln City fans wild as their team reached the Fourth Round of The FA Cup for the first time since 1976. They have now set up a game against Brighton & Hove Albion in just over a weeks time.
Is McCarthy now on the brink?
Ipswich fans made their feelings towards manager McCarthy clear throughout the game. It is clear to see that they would be pleased to see him leave the club with their main concerns over the negative style of football on show.
The fact they were dominated in both games by a non-league outfit will give the Ipswich concerns on whether McCarthy is the right man to lead the club forward. Aswell as now being knocked out of the FA Cup in the Third Round yet again, Ipswich are also languishing in mid-table in the league and are 10 points clear of relegation. This could soon change if they continue to put in performances like they did on Tuesday night.
As for Lincoln, they continue their superb form in all competitions this season. They are top of the league in the National League and also remain in both the FA Cup and the FA Trophy. They will now look forward to hosting Brighton in the next round but face two important league matches against Dover and Barrow beforehand.