The Whites kicked off their league campaign with a strong performance away at Carlton Town, with a goal from Jack McMenemy and two from Robbie Smith earning them a 3-1 victory at the Bill Stokeld Stadium.
A spell of pressure from Carlton in the latter stages threatened a 2-1 lead after a clever goal from Smith and a powerful finish from McMenemy, but the 10 men of United stood strong against the aerial assault and Robbie Smith secured the points after poking past the Carlton keeper with seconds remaining.
The home side started the game with intent, but captain Charlie Ward and right-back Simon Biggs stood up well to the early pressure from the Millers.
The opening minutes saw a tight contest but some deft footwork from Callum Chapman saw the Whites produce their first chance of the game in the 12th minute. Following some neat footwork the left winger’s back-heeled pass set left-back Kallum Smith free on the edge of the box, but the Lincoln stalwart could only fire wide.
Two minutes later right-back Simon Biggs was again involved at the back. A mistimed clearance set Carlton striker Tyler Blake through on goal, but Biggs made up good ground and his recovery tackle earned him a yellow card but cost Carlton a dangerous opportunity.
The opening goal went United’s way in the 28th minute courtesy of a smart finish from Robbie Smith. Some quick passing following a throw-in saw the midfielder put through on goal, and he made no mistake as he drove the ball low into the keeper’s left-hand corner.
The Whites saw the rest of the half out with no real problems. Matthew Cotton shot over following more good link up between Chapman and Smith whilst strong defending from centre back Callum Foster and the dynamic Sidnei Costa snuffed out some promising attacks from the home team.
Lincoln came out unchanged after the break and didn’t take long to create their first opportunity. Chapman slid in striker Jake Parks down the left flank who beat the defender and got to the byline, but Carlton defender Tyler Johal was able to scramble the cross off his goal line and out for a corner.
Despite Lincoln’s early pressure Carlton levelled the score six minutes after the restart. A long ball into the box was headed down to striker Tyler Blake who tapped in from six yards out.
Five minutes later and the home side nearly went ahead. A Carlton striker pounced on a rebound following a save from Michael Antkowiak, but couldn’t keep his follow up on target and the score remained level.
And with 73 minutes on the clock, Jake McMenemy restored Lincoln’s lead. After a driving run through midfield by Cotton, he slipped the striker in through on goal and McMenemy gave the keeper no chance, thumping the ball in off the crossbar.
Robbie Smith then almost extended the lead after a neat one two down the left, but a superb last-ditch tackle from a Carlton defender prevented the winger from doubling his tally.
The final few minutes were far from plain sailing for United. Midfielder Sidnei Costa was sent off following a late tackle in his own half, and with the numerical advantage the opposition piled on the pressure.
Carlton caused The Whites problems from set pieces, but Antkowiak and his defence kept the aerial assault at bay before Robbie Smith wrapped up the three points, slotting past the onrushing Carlton keeper on the counter attack for his second of the match.
Carlton Town 1, Lincoln United 3.
By James Pegg