League One boss makes 'lucky' Lincoln City claim after play-off first leg victory over Sunderland

Burton Albion boss Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink says that Lincoln City’s second goal against Sunderland was somewhat ‘lucky’ to be given – but praised the endeavour of scorer Brennan Johnson.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 8:00 am

The former Chelsea striker was speaking as part of Sky Sports’ coverage of the League One play-off semi final, which saw the Imps seal a 2-0 win in the first leg.

Tom Hopper opened the scoring in the second half before Johnson doubled the lead after charging down a Lee Burge kick.

And Hasselbaink suggested that the goal could potentially have been ruled out for handball – but also felt that Sunderland were the architects of their own downfall.

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League One boss makes 'lucky' Lincoln City claim after play-off first leg victory over Sunderland

"Flanagan, for me, needs to pass it harder and he needs to block the striker,” he said.

"He [Johnson] is a little bit lucky, if you see the ball hits his arm. If the referee sees it, I think he will give a free-kick.

"But it’s going and finding your own luck and having that desire to want to close the goalkeeper down.

"It’s a really good result for Lincoln.”

MK Dons boss Russell Martin, who was also on the Sky Sports panel, disagreed.

"I think the letter of the law probably says no,” said Martin, when quizzed if the goal should have been disallowed.

"I don’t think his hand is in an unnatural position. It’s a big call because it obviously leads to a goal, but I think for me I don’t think he’s aware of where the ball is.

"There was too much that went wrong. I don’t think we can blame the goalkeeper at all.”

Commenting on Sunderland’s performance in general, Martin felt missed chances came back to bite the Wearsiders.

"They finished the first half really strongly and then came out in the second half, they looked really threatening, really dominant and they actually sustained pressure in the Lincoln final third for quite a while.

“They had a couple of chances in there as well – but when you don’t score, it becomes tough.

“I think Lincoln reacted brilliantly to Sunderland being on top and they went and scored, and after that Sunderland didn’t really look too threatening and they didn’t spend long enough periods of time in the Lincoln half.

"It was a really tight game, there wasn’t much in it to be honest, and I think Lincoln will be really happy going away winning 2-0.”

Former striker Hasselbaink was equally as critical over the Black Cats’ finishing.

"They started [the second half] really well and you think ‘here they are coming’.

"But when you get opportunities you need to take them, especially in these kind of games. They are tight and sometimes you expect from your better players that when you get these opportunities they will put it in the net. When you don’t, you get punished.

"To be fair, Lincoln were solid and kept on believing and kept on playing from their base.

"They got a lucky first goal but they believed in it and if you believe you get always a chance.”

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