Lincoln City FC




Of City's 1060 draws so far in the Football League, 292 have ended goalless.

It took 38 games until the first stalemate came along, and it was in City's solitary visit to Middlesbrough Ironopolis on January 13th 1894. It was also goalkeeper William Gresham's only 0-0 in his City career, with the clean sheet being the first of three successive shut-outs for the Liverpool-born player.

Over five years would elapse before the next goalless game; Blackpool the opponents on this occasion at Sincil Bank on March 11th 1899. The draw was the first between City and their seaside opponents and the first of three 0-0 home outcomes in five meetings between the two sides whilst the 157 match run is the second longest such run in the Club's history.

The next two blanks came in successive League matches the following season (City's last ever match at Burton Swifts and a home game against New Brighton Tower), although sandwiched between them was a 1-0 home defeat to Barnsley in the FA Cup.

Goalless games came at regular intervals over the following five seasons, including both matches against Chesterfield in 1904/05, until a 119-game run, which started and finished against Grimsby Town saw a spell of almost four and a half years without a blank. The 0-0 against the Mariners which ended the run saw five players make their City debuts in what was the opening home game of the 1909/10 season. Three days earlier six players had made their debuts in a 5-0 defeat at Leeds City!

The two games against Preston North End in 1912/13 both finished goalless; Tommy Fern, who was between the sticks for 15 such games, was in goal for both whilst the next lengthy spell without a shut-out didn't come until the late 1920s / early 1930s with a 53 match run starting at Nelson on November 9th 1929 ending at home to Gateshead on January 17th 1931. It was another 56 matches before the next 0-0 game, this being against Wrexham on April 30th 1932.

A 70-game goal scoring run lasting just short of a year and a half came along in the mid 1930s whilst the post-WW2 period got off to a goalless start with Hull City's first ever game at Boothferry Park on August 31st 1946 being both against the Imps and ending 0-0. Billy Bean and Geoff Marlow being the only players not to make their City Football League debut in that match.

That goalless draw was the only one of the 1946/47 season and it was 56 games before the next one came along; this being at home to Mansfield Town on November 8th 1947 whilst an 88-game goal scoring run, spanning almost two years and including the whole of the 1951/52 Division Three North championship winning season, took place between November 11th 1950 (away at Oldham Athletic) and October 17th 1952 (away at Plymouth Argyle).

That run had nothing on the one that arrived during the latter half of the 1950s though as, after the first home game of the 1953/54 campaign against Bury ended goalless, it was almost five and a half years before the next blank arrived - a staggering run of 237 matches!

Leyton Orient were the opponents on February 21st 1959 when the record came to an end, with a crowd of 10,106 witnessing Brian Wright's debut at Sincil Bank fail to produce a goal at one end or the other. The run was not only a Club record but a Football League one with the nearest to it being Everton (206, starting in 1889), Bolton Wanderers (203 from 1889) and West Ham United (188 from 1928).

Aston Villa, the only side we've met in the Football League and haven't lost at least once to, were the next side to battle out a 0-0 draw with the Imps and had it not been for a shutout between City and Luton Town on April 23rd 1966 then a 100-match run would have been achieved for only the fourth time in the Club's history.

There was at least one 0-0 draw in each of the following 16 seasons whilst towards the end of the 1979/80 season we saw the only occasion when we drew three successive games 0-0. Eric McManus was the man between the sticks for the games against Hereford United (April 5th), Rochdale (April 7th) and Northampton Town (April 19th). The latter match was the fifth clean sheet in a row for McManus on what was his final appearance for us. The game was also the last for City for Aidan McKenzie and Brendan Guest.

With the 1982/83 campaign failing to produce a blank it formed part of an 81-match streak of goal scoring games stretching from February 13th 1982 (at Newport County) until November 2nd 1983 (home to Bolton Wanderers) but there were goalless draws galore in 1984/85 with nine blank games coming from the 46 matches. This included the opening two games of the season (home to Hull City and away at Rotherham United) and the last two games of the season (at home to Walsall and the Bradford City fire game).

Both games against Chesterfield (in 1904/05), Preston North End (1912/13), Plymouth Argyle (1952/53), Port Vale & Wrexham (1969/70), Northampton Town (1979/80), Walsall (1984/85), Hereford United (1986/87) and York City (1989/90) ended goal-free whilst, of the 107 teams we have shared a 0-0 draw with, the most have come against Darlington (10). Hot on their heels are Doncaster Rovers (nine), Northampton Town (eight) and Wrexham (eight).

As already mentioned, the most 0-0 games in one season came in 1984/85. There were eight in 2003/04 and six on a further 11 occasions, the most recent being in 1991/92.


Imps In Action DVD


Ian Greaves
Ian Greaves













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