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League Two

Lincoln City: The Imps' EFL return

24 May 2017

Of the five new clubs joining the EFL in 2017/18, Lincoln City were the first to confirm their inclusion with promotion from The National League.

It was on Saturday 22nd April when their place was secured; a 2-1 home win over Macclesfield Town sealing the title, and a spot in Sky Bet League Two. It capped a remarkable season for the Imps...

The club – in brief

Name: Lincoln City
Also known as: The Imps
Founded: 1884
Stadium: Sincil Bank (10,120)
Highest EFL finish: Fifth in the second tier (1901/02)
Need to know: Sincil Bank's Stacey West Stand is named in memory of Bill Stacey and Jim West – the two Lincoln supporters who lost their lives in the Bradford City fire disaster

League success

Danny Cowley arrived at Lincoln prior to the 2016/17 season, leaving his post at Braintree Town and bringing his assistant – and brother – Nicky along with him to Sincil Bank.

Seven wins from the first nine league fixtures wasn't a bad start for the siblings, and the Imps put several impressive runs together to stay ahead of the pack, including a 12-match unbeaten streak between 1st October and mid-December.

Read more: Click here to read about Forest Green Rovers – the EFL's newest club

With the chasing pack piling on the pressure by the end of March, seven straight wins ensured they got their hands on the title with two games to spare, bringing an end to the club's six-year exile from the EFL.

2016/17 – in brief

Played (all competitions): 61 games
League position: First – 99 points
Goal difference: +43 – a league-high (83 scored, 40 conceded)
Most appearances: Nathan Arnold (45 league, 52 in all competitions)
Top goalscorer: Matt Rhead – 15 (all competitions)

Cup success

When Lincoln's FA Cup campaign got under way with a goalless draw at home to Guiseley in October's fourth and final qualifying round, few would have foreseen the journey set to unfold across the next five months.

Dispatching the Lions in the replay, Lincoln then beat National League North side Altrincham in Round One. That earned them a home tie with Sky Bet League One side Oldham Athletic, in which they triumphed once more.

Next up, Ipswich Town. A draw at Portman Road was followed by a replay at home. Those in attendance at Sincil Bank will never forget Nathan Arnold's breakaway winner in the last minute.

Brighton & Hove Albion, since promoted to the Premier League, were the Imps' next victims, and top-flight Burnley were defeated at Turf Moor courtesy of a late goal from centre-back Sean Raggett. In beating the Clarets, they became the first club outside of the league to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals since Queens Park Rangers in 1914.

The remarkable run was finally halted by Arsenal, who were 5-0 winners at the Emirates courtesy of a second-half blitz.

FA Cup run

4th Qualifying Round – Guiseley (H) 0-0
4th Qualifying Round Replay – Guiseley (A) 2-1
Round One – Altrincham (H) 2-1
Round Two – Oldham Athletic (H) 3-2
Round Three – Ipswich Town (A) 2-2
Round Three Replay – Ipswich Town (H) 1-0
Round Four – Brighton & Hove Albion (H) 3-1
Round Five – Burnley (A) 1-0
Round Six – Arsenal (A) 0-5


It was on the final day of the 2010/11 season when Lincoln were most recently relegated out of the EFL, and it was a fate the club had suffered before – more so than any other team, in fact.

Their four previous relegations in 1908, 1911, 1920 and 1987 had seen the club bounce back at the first time of asking, but this time they were made to wait, spending six seasons outside the league.

However, the majority of their history has been spent in the EFL, and they have won League Two before, triumphing in 1975/76. The Division 3 (North), which existed up until a league restructure in 1958, was also won three times by the Imps.

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