The first of County’s August friendlies took the form of a late Tuesday afternoon contest and victory against Lincoln behind closed doors at the Hatters’ Carrington training facility.
Will Collar scored in successive games to give the Hatters a first-half lead, before Alex Reid added a second following the break, to maintain County’s 100 per cent pre-season record of wins without a goal conceded.
County took to the field in bright sunshine, giving starts to season-long Manchester United loanee Will Fish, and to Ben Barclay – whose arrival from Accrington had been announced the previous day, following three appearances for the Hatters as a trialist.
The League One visitors made the earliest of the running – earning three corners in as many minutes – before the Hatters settled to fashion their first chance, courtesy of a low shot from Scott Quigley that took a deflection past the left upright.
With 19 minutes on the clock, a John Rooney fee-kick from 20 yards out fizzed beyond the same post. And Paddy Madden also fired wide of it five minutes later, after connecting with a cross by Rooney from the right.
But ahead of the half-hour, County’s efforts were rewarded through Collar, who successfully converted at the second attempt past Lincoln’s trialist goalkeeper from six yards.
The Hatters were to have one further first-half opportunity, when Quigley beat the offside trap and drilled past the right post – shortly after Ben Hinchliffe had saved well from James Jones to preserve County’s advantage.
HALF-TIME: County 1 (Collar, 26), Lincoln 0.
The ‘Imps’, as they had been at the start of the game, were quick after the resumption to force a corner – but Hinchliffe was equal to the in-swinging delivery from the left, which he punched away from the the near post.
At the other end, Rooney saw an effort deflected over the crossbar, before Madden fired wide of the left post, as the Hatters sought to get their noses further in front.
Just asat Curzon Ashton three days earlier, the Hatters replaced their entire outfield on the hour. And within four minutes, the County lead was doubled as Reid headed a cross from the right by Macauley Southam-Hales into the bottom-near corner from close range.
The visiting ‘keeper parried behind well-struck shots from the left by Millenic Alli and Southam-Hales, who also fired narrowly over from distance, as County remained in the ascendancy to round off an accomplished squad workout.
FULL-TIME: County 2 (Collar, 26; Reid, 64), Lincoln 0.
Team for first hour (3-4-1-2): Hinchliffe; Fish, Hogan (Capt.), Barclay; Minihan, Collar, Croasdale, Rydel; Rooney; Quigley, Madden.
Team for final half-hour (4-4-2): Hinchliffe; Southam-Hales, Palmer (Capt.), Stott, Pye; Walker, Newby, Keane, Whitfield; Reid, Alli.
Reporter: Gareth Evans.
Photographer: Mike Petch.