Jordan Flores saw the decisive penalty saved as Lincoln City went through to the Papa John's Trophy semi-final at the expense of Hull City at the KCOM Stadium. Harry Anderson opened the scoring before Greg Docherty levelled for the Tigers, taking the game to penalties.
Story of the match
The match kicked off in the middle of an incessant downpour, with the goalmouths in particular at the KCOM looking heavy. Good play from Keane Lewis-Potter fashioned the first chance of the game for Josh Magennis, but his shot was blocked and cleared to safety. However, it was Lincoln who took the lead with their first real attack. Anthony Scully ran in behind and crossed for Anderson to finish from six yards on seven minutes.
Minutes later, a superb cross from Callum Elder was whipped into the box, but it was just beyond the attacking line for the home side. Docherty fired over as Hull looked for an instant response. Despite having most of the ball, the Tigers could not find a way through the stubborn Lincoln defense in the opening 20 minutes.
Dan Crowley was looking the most likely source of a Hull City leveler and he fired just wide on 21 minutes as the pitch continued to take a pummeling from the rain. Lewis-Potter brought a great save out of Alex Palmer in the Lincoln goal after a clever flick on from Magennis as Hull continued to knock on the door. Anderson fouled Lewis-Potter on 25 minutes, but from the resulting free kick the ball just didn't fall for Magennis.
Straight after, Brennan Johnson was clean through but his touch allowed Matt Ingram to come out and gather easily. Good play again from Lewis-Potter saw the ball go to Magennis but his touch let him down and Lincoln intercepted once more. Lewis-Potter almost got on the end of an Elder free kick but fired high into the North Stand off balance at the back post.
Lincoln were happy to sit deep and defend, with their early goal meaning that they could afford to do so. Magennis again wasted a chance when put through by Lewis-Potter with the pitch causing all sorts of problems for both sides going forward. The half time whistle went with the home side having it all to do in the second half.
Neither side made changes at half time, and despite creating the early chances Lincoln stood firm at the back. Lewis-Potter had a header from a corner that he just couldn't keep down om 55 minutes and it was starting to feel like it would be Lincoln's night. Hull were starting to find a bit of joy down the right hand side with Josh Emmanuel overlapping and putting in crosses, but the away side were just whacking everything clear before any Hull player had a chance to have an effort on goal.
Hull equalized on the hour mark. After putting in crosses to no avail, Greg Docherty took matters into his own hands and went on a solo mazy run that saw him finish well to finally break through the Lincoln defense. Crowley's shot was blocked moments later as the game started to liven up with only 25 minutes remaining. Great play from Billy Chadwick to pressure Lincoln and then Crowley saw Lewis-Potter curl just wide on 68 minutes after Lincoln had a couple of successive corners. Timothy Eyoma had an effort from the edge of the box that went just over.
With just over ten minutes to go Flores replaced Crowley, and both side were still endeavoring to get the winner. A great run from Docherty almost found Lewis-Potter but he couldn't get on the end of the cross. Lincoln went close up the other end but with only added time left, it seemed like penalties would decide this quarter-final - and so it was.
After a poor start to penalties from both sides, it was 3-3 after both sides had taken five spot kicks. Jordan Flores missed the decisive spot kick to send Lincoln through to the semi-finals and the sides meet once again next week - but in the League, in what promises to be a cracking game.
Takeaways from the match
Hull dominate play but poor penalties cost them
Hull had the better of the play throughout the game, but couldn't find a second goal in what was an entertaining game at the KCOM. Both sides meet again next Tuesday in the League and all eyes will be on that one with both sides occupying the top two spots in Sky Bet League One.
Lincoln score early and defend deep
After their early goal, Lincoln were happy to sit deep and invite the Hull pressure. On another day, Lewis-Potter could have scored near the end to send the Imps out, but they were stubborn and organized and eventually went through on penalties.
Greg Docherty was outstanding for the home side, with his solo goal the pick of the action. He beat several Lincoln players before rifling home with his left foot, but also was box to box and got back to break up several Lincoln counter attacks. After a spell out of the team before Christmas, he seems to have found a new lease of life and is very much a key figure in the Tigers' midfield.