07 November 2020

Michael Appleton hails quality of depth at Lincoln

07 November 2020

Michael Appleton hailed his side’s quality after injury-hit Lincoln strolled into the second round of the FA Cup with a 6-2 win over Forest Green.

The Imps led 2-0 at the break thanks to two Jorge Grant goals – a long-range stunner and a penalty after Anthony Scully had been pulled back in the box.

Brennan Johnson added a third with a superb solo effort before Scully scored twice late on while substitute James Jones added the sixth.

Former Lincoln midfielder Elliott Whitehouse and Jake Young netted consolation goals for Forest Green, who were looking to spring a surprise following a strong start to the season in League Two.

But that never look likely as Appleton’s side – despite injuries to key players – turned on the style.

“It could have been an upset, but I’m thankful that we turned up and played quite well,” said Appleton.

“We’ve got quality and we’ve got quality in depth. It’s about belief as well. I thought there were times against Portsmouth on Tuesday where we lacked belief.

“You’ve got to show belief and personality on the pitch. The players certainly showed plenty of personality today.”

Grant, deputising as captain for the injured Liam Bridcutt, set the ball rolling with one of the goals of the round.

“Everyone knows what I think of Jorge,” said Appleton. “He’s capable of playing in numerous positions for us. His energy and work-rate, compared to when I first came in, is unrecognisable.

“And he’s got that quality. The best thing about it [his first goal], is that he’s not tried to burst the ball. There was a controlled manner to the way he struck it, which was pleasing.”

Forest Green boss Mark Cooper, who rested some of his key players, accused his of being “soft”.

“I thought we started really well and we had two brilliant chances to score, two one-on-ones, before Lincoln got out of the traps,” said Cooper.

“Then with the first chance they got, they scored from 25 yards, then we gave a crazy penalty away and that was it.

“We started the second half really well and the first time they got in our half they scored again. We were really soft today.

“I took the spine of the team out because we had three players that had to rest, but it left us really soft.

“You can’t give the opposition that much to go on when they’re a top League One team.

“We had some brilliant chances, but didn’t take them and they did. From nothing they scored six goals, soft goals.

“It’s not what we wanted. The boys who came into the team haven’t done what they needed to do.”

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