MX23RW : Wednesday, August 4 10:46:09| >> :600:1384098:1384098:
May 19, 2021 at 6pm UK at LNER Stadium (Lincoln, Lincolnshire)
LincolnLincoln City
Hopper (51'), Johnson (77')
Bridcutt (72'), Grant (86')
FT(HT: 0-0)

O'Nien (61')

Michael Appleton proud of Lincoln City side

The Imps take a 2-0 advantage into the second leg of their play-off clash with Sunderland.

Lincoln boss Michael Appleton was proud of his players after they seized the initiative in their Sky Bet League One first leg play-off clash with Sunderland, running out deserved 2-0 winners at a raucous LNER Stadium.

Following a goalless first half, Tom Hopper struck after 51 minutes to give the Imps the lead, before Brennan Johnson took advantage of a goalkeeping blunder by Lee Burge to double the advantage.

And while Appleton knows the job is only half finished, he admitted would rather be heading to Wearside on Saturday firmly in the driving seat.

"It is a dangerous position to be in, but I'd much rather be in it than not," he said. "For a young group to stay as resolute as they were in that second half was great. They put us under a lot of pressure, like you would expect, and I thought the way we dealt with that and controlled it was good.

"We went in front and naturally sat back a bit, letting them dictate play. But having said that, getting the second goal gives us a little bit more breathing space."

Appleton also hailed the display of goalkeeping debutant Josef Bursik, who was brought in on an emergency loan following a head injury to regular stopper Alex Palmer. And the 20-year-old earned his corn with two fabulous second-half saves to keep the Black Cats out.

"He made a couple of vital saves, was a safe pair of hands, came for crosses when he needed to and was very, very assured," said Appleton, who also paid tribute to the first supporters seen at the ground for over 430 days.

"It was brilliant to have the fans back. When the goals went in, that adrenaline rush, and the loud noise they create, despite there only being 3,000 here."

Johnson struck a post for City before the break, before Bursik produced a super save from Jordan Jones, with Bailey Wright also heading against the crossbar.

Lincoln then took the lead through Hopper, who drilled home Jorge Grant's cross.

Bursik then brilliantly denied Aiden McGeady, before City doubled their advantage when Johnson chased a backpass and, under pressure, Burge could only kick his clearance against the attacker and he had the easy job of walking it into the net.

Sunderland manager Lee Johnson believes his side can turn around the deficit, but says his team need to draw on all their reserves to book a place at Wembley.

"I am obviously disappointed to be 2-0 down going into the second leg," said Johnson. "But I truly believe we can still do it. We need to have a big, big night on Saturday.

"I thought the first 15 minutes they were better than us, before we eventually took control and I thought we were the better side. Obviously the keeper has had a worldie and we had some good deliveries across the box, but not the luck like they did.

"The 2-0 loss gives us no room for error whatsoever. We will have to take the game from the start and we know what we've got to do. We are still in this."

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Bristol City boss Lee Johnson on December 22, 2019
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States25292276
Great BritainGreat Britain14181547
Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events

· Team GB starlet Sky Brown - aged just 13 - takes part in the women's park event and has a realistic chance of picking up a medal too. Bombette Martin is Britain's other representative, while hosts Japan are among the favourites for gold (1am)

· Great Britain's women have more history in their sights heading into their semi-final against Netherlands - the team they beat in the 2016 gold medal match (2.30am)

· The men's 400m hurdles final on Tuesday will go down as one of the greatest Olympic races of all time, and the women will attempt to emulate that, with new world record holder Sydney McLaughlin of USA and Netherlands' Femke Bol the favourites for gold (3.30am)
· Nick Miller is Britain's representative in the men's hammer throw final (12.15pm)
· The men's 800m final could be a wide-open affair (1.05pm)
· A thrilling men's 200m final is in store as the likes of Andre de Grasse, Noah Lyles and 17-year-old sensation Erriyon Knighton bid to succeed Usain Bolt as Olympic champion (1.55pm)

· After a medal-laden day on the water on Tuesday, Great Britain will be looking for more success, starting with Luke Patience and Chris Grube in the men's 470-class medal race (6.33am)
· Team GB also have medal hopes in the women's event, with defending champion Hannah Mills looking to retain her crown alongside new teammate Eilidh McIntyre (7.33am)

· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Great Britain's Frazer Clarke faces Uzbekistan's Bakhodir Jalolov in the men's super heavyweight with a place in the gold medal bout up for grabs (7.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also guaranteed a medal, but will look to ensure that is either gold or silver as he takes on Cuba's Arlen Lopez in the light heavyweight final (7.35am)

· World records have been tumbling in the velodrome, and another could go in the men's team pursuit final as Italy - new world record holders themselves - face Denmark (10.06am)

· Three Brits have made into into the final of the men's jumping individual final, including fastest qualifier Ben Maher, who will bid to inherit compatriot Nick Skelton's Olympic crown (11am)

> Today's schedule in full
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