Lincoln City ready to make noise of their own at Wembley

Lincoln City ready to make noise of their own at Wembley after beating nerves and rowdy crowd at Sunderland to seal spot in League One play-off final

  • Lincoln survived a panicky 45 minutes to beat Sunderland and reach Wembley 
  • Sunderland raced into a two-goal lead in front of a vocal crowd of 10,000 fans
  • Despite Michael Appleton fearing the worst, his side fought back to go through

Wembley should hold no fear for Lincoln City after beating the noise and nerves of a feverish afternoon inside the Stadium of Light.

Whatever anxieties a trip to the national stadium may cause, it will not compare to the panic of the opening 45 minutes here, in which Lincoln’s season threatened to close amid tears and terror.

They looked like little boys in need of a shoulder to cry on as 10,000 home fans defied their number to inspire their own team and intimidate the opposition.

Lincoln City should hold no fear at Wembley after beating noise and nerves at Sunderland

Trailing 2-0 at half-time to goals from Ross Stewart and Charlie Wyke – the tie was now level on aggregate – Lincoln boss Michael Appleton feared the worst.

‘We were unrecognisable in that first half,’ he said. ‘The way Sunderland’s fans got behind them was the cause.

‘There was no point in me trying to get any information on in the first half, they wouldn’t have heard me, the noise was that loud.

Michael Appleton admitted he feared the worst at half-time with his team trailing by two goals

‘It could have gone horribly wrong, because the place was rocking.’

Thankfully, for Appleton, the second half went wonderfully right. Tom Hopper headed them 3-2 in front on aggregate and even a missed Jorge Grant penalty could not derail their deserved passage to next weekend’s play-off final against Blackpool.

‘At half-time I asked the players to show some personality and reminded them what got us here in the first place,’ said Appleton.

‘We needed to get on the ball and do it our way. We were outstanding in the second half.’

But Lincoln battled back before a loud Sunderland crowd to seal their spot in the play-off final

The Imps will now bid for a third promotion in five seasons and a return to the second tier 60 years on from their last involvement.

Sunderland boss Lee Johnson, meanwhile, said the occasion was proof of the ‘beast’ that his club should be.

He was right, but Lincoln overcame that beast. In terms of preparation for Wembley, it was the perfect test of character.

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