Paul Lambert felt vindicated for picking a much-changed Ipswich team as they ended their desperate FA Cup run by winning their first-round replay 1–0 at Lincoln.
The Tractor Boys had not won in the competition for nearly 10 years – a run of 15 games – but Alan Judge scored a dramatic last-gasp winner to set up an away tie against Coventry in the second round.
“I changed the whole team, but as I have said before I don’t have a strong XI, I believe in everybody. I pick a team full of lads who can get around the pitch and that’s what they did,” said Lambert.
“Football’s changed, it’s not just one or 18 guys, it’s everybody.
“I thought we were great in the second half and I am really happy. I thought we were the better team after the break.
“The pleasing things were, we had Brett McGavin playing, Tommy Hughes coming on, as well as a few lads coming back from injury and internationals.
“There are so many positives, plus another 90 minutes for Will Keane and Toto (Nsiala) as well. I am really, really happy. I thought we deserved it as a team, but Lincoln had one or two moments.
“I thought the whole team grew in the second half. Lincoln were better than us in the first half without us really looking like we were going to concede, and we stepped up after the break.”
Ipswich goalkeeper Tomas Holy made saves from John Akinde, Jake Hesketh and substitute Tyler Walker as City enjoyed the better of the play, while the Czech stopper saved his best for last, brilliantly denying Hesketh again in stoppage time.
Ipswich went down the other end and Judge enjoyed the freedom of the Imps box to crash home the winner and send the visiting fans home happy.
For Lincoln manager Michael Appleton, who saw lively winger Bruno Andrade stretchered off with a hamstring injury after 35 minutes, it was another case of being left frustrated after a negative result but he was heartened by the display.
“The performance was good. We had some good passages of play and we created some good chances,” Appleton said.
“I was delighted with the energy we showed at times. I would have been more disappointed if we had lost three points rather than losing in the cup.
“John (Akinde) had a couple of big moments, Jake (Hesketh) was denied at the end and then a lack of concentration cost us. The stoppage with Bruno came at a good time for them and stopped our flow. I feel for him as he was playing well and looked like he was enjoying himself.
“We can feel sorry for ourselves, but the reality is we have got to crack on. We have got a bigger picture in making sure we start picking up points and if our performances remain like this then we’ll soon start doing that.
“These things happen, especially in the run we’re having. We have just got to crack on and the results will come.”