Opening day delight dashed by Carling Cup comedown

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Well that was a kick in the... teeth!

Having matched Barnsley blow for heavyweight blow in a pulsating Carling Cup tie at Sincil Bank on Tuesday night, one momentary lapse was all it took for us to be facing the prospect of another early exit from a cup competition.

It’s fair to say that Lincoln's cup record in recent years has been less than spectacular, with a mixture of gallant failure (see last season's Carling Cup and Johnstone's Paint Trophy exploits), and poor performance (last year's FA Cup) contributing to the malaise.

However, Tuesday was definitely a case of the former, and we can take heart from such a stirring show against high-class opposition from two divisions above.

Ironically, it was probably a better all-round team showing than the one that kicked off our campaign last Saturday against a vibrant Barnet side.

The visitors had the better of the first half, but we improved after the break and pinched a 1-0 win to set the season off, if not quite in style, then with substance.

For now the style can wait patiently in the wings. It was far more important to win by any fair means, and in so doing addressing one of the poorest home records in the division last season.

11 home draws and just five wins is not the stuff of champions, rendering the notion of making your home fortress something of a joke. But hey, new season, new chapter, and we’re off and running.

While we’re on the subject of jokes, did anyone catch the BBC Football League highlights on Saturday night?

Now were my eyes deceiving me, and was I a little too giddy on red wine and Pringles, but did the programme cut out to a shot of a young lady about to strike an attractive pose during the League Two goals round-up?

I confess I didn’t get a great view of the incident (my better half was in the room, ready and waiting to pounce on any change of facial tic!), but it definitely wasn’t Adrian Chiles, unless he’s had expensive surgery and is partial to a little cross-dressing at weekends. 

I can forgive anybody a few technical difficulties, but I was less willing to overlook the invite to email/text/carrier pigeon views on the first manager to get the sack.

Call me a little sensitive, but with the piece hitching its wagon to Norwich’s opening day mauling, I found it a little crass to say the least.

What other profession openly asks you to effectively vote on an individual‘s position every Saturday evening?

Why not go the whole hog and employ Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole and Louis Walsh to front the show, with the manager who receives the least amount of votes every Saturday night getting voted off!

There’s people’s livelihood’s at stake here, and I expect a bit more from a corporation who we pay our licence fee to in good faith, expecting the level of debate to be worthy of the fee.

OK, rant over, and it’s Accrington Stanley away this weekend.

I would love to be a fly on the wall when Sven first puts his head around the visitors' dressing room at Stanley.

At the risk of sounding patronising, fair play to them for surviving on gates of around 1,000 with a ground that’s seen better days, but it’s probably not the first fixture you look out for in June.

As ever, it’s about doing the job and getting the result. And if we can do that and follow it up similarly three days later away at Bradford, then we’ll begin to realise this early season promise and make sure it’s not just that!

Incidentally, think of me while you’re watching the England game, as I embark on a scouting mission to see Bradford at Nottingham Forest in the Carling Cup.  

Usually I go alone, but this time I'm going with our kit-man Matt.

Kit-man is only the beginning of his talents. As an ex-player, he’s not normally shy in giving his opinion on a whole range of subjects and things you’ve done that he’s invariably done better/quicker.

Sample quote: "Everest, you say, MOUNT Everest you’ve seen? Not bad but I’ve climbed KILIMANJARO!"

Now I’m in a good mood buoyed by our two performances so far, but every man has his limits.

If you hear any reports in your morning bulletins of a man eased out of the passenger side of a moving car on the A52, you’ll know he pushed me too far, and I’ll be in even more confined surroundings than Accrington's ground for the game at the weekend.

See you next week... hopefully!

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Iffy's Inside Write: Life at the sharp end of football