National League
Lincoln CityLincoln City2MacclesfieldMacclesfield Town1

Lincoln City 2-1 Macclesfield Town

By Andrew AloiaBBC Sport
Lincoln City player celebrate promotion
Lincoln City players celebrate promotion to League Two as National League champions

Lincoln City sealed their return to the English Football League after a six-year absence, thanks to Terry Hawkridge's brace against Macclesfield.

Moments after Lincoln's Matt Rhead headed against the post, Mitch Hancox's dipping shot put the Silkmen ahead.

But Hawkridge responded, pouncing on a loose ball after Scott Flinders failed to hold Lee Angol's initial shot.

Paul Farman made two crucial second-half saves before Hawkridge's second assured the National League title.

The winger's low curled finish into the far corner delivered Lincoln their first league crown since winning the same competition in 1988.

Terry Hawkridge scores for Lincoln City
Hawkridge had scored just once in the league this season before netting his promotion-sealing double against Macclesfield

And it came with huge relief, after Imps goalkeeper Farman kept Chris Holroyd's acrobatic effort out before foiling Hancox from close range. Oliver Norburn may even have spoiled the party in stoppage time had he not guided a superb headed chance wide.

Promotion caps off a truly remarkable season for the Imps, juggling National League title ambitions with an FA Cup run which saw them become the first non-league side to reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup in 103 years.

While they were dumped out of the Cup by Premier League side Arsenal, and their exit from the FA Trophy followed seven days later in March, that disappointment failed to affect their promotion hopes.

Twelve games in six weeks have since followed the end of their FA Cup adventure, culminating with victory in front of a packed Sincil Bank crowd of 10,031 - of which just 97 were Macclesfield supporters - to confirm their status as an EFL club for 2017-18.

How they got there

Lincoln City supporters invade the pitch after
Lincoln City supporters invaded the pitch after the Imps won promotion as champions

For five of their six seasons outside the Football League, Lincoln found themselves parked in mid-table mediocrity.

Last term they finished 13th - their previous best effort since dropping into the fifth tier in 2011 - under Chris Moyses, who split his managerial workload with running his own business.

Come May 2016, Danny Cowley arrived with brother and assistant Nicky, taking up his first full-time managerial job having led part-time Braintree to the play-offs while combining his work at the Iron with his career as a PE teacher.

Two wins at the beginning of the season were followed by two losses, leaving Lincoln 14th in the table.

That, however, was a momentary dip as five successive victories later and they were top, where they have remained for much of the campaign.

To the very end they fought to restore themselves to the fourth tier, completing their third comeback win in eight days to seal promotion.


Lincoln City

  • 1Farman
  • 25Raggett
  • 2Wood
  • 11Hawkridge
  • 3Habergham
  • 5Waterfall
  • 4WhitehouseSubstituted forKnottat 64'minutesBooked at 87mins
  • 28ArnoldSubstituted forGinnellyat 64'minutes
  • 30Woodyard
  • 31Angol
  • 9RheadSubstituted forLongat 83'minutes


  • 10Marriott
  • 12Long
  • 26Anderson
  • 34Knott
  • 36Ginnelly


  • 22Flinders
  • 2Halls
  • 16HancoxSubstituted forDudleyat 71'minutes
  • 7Browne
  • 4Byrne
  • 3FitzpatrickBooked at 81mins
  • 5Pilkington
  • 14James
  • 15NorburnSubstituted forWhiteheadat 84'minutes
  • 30SummerfieldBooked at 39minsSubstituted forWhitakerat 79'minutes
  • 9HolroydBooked at 46mins


  • 6McCombe
  • 8Whitehead
  • 13Ross
  • 23Whitaker
  • 29Dudley
Tom Nield

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Lincoln City 2, Macclesfield Town 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Lincoln City 2, Macclesfield Town 1.

  3. Booking

    Billy Knott (Lincoln City) is shown the yellow card.

  4. Booking

    Billy Knott (Lincoln City) is shown the yellow card.

  5. Substitution

    Substitution, Macclesfield Town. Danny Whitehead replaces Ollie Norburn.

  6. Substitution

    Substitution, Lincoln City. Sean Long replaces Matt Rhead.

  7. Booking

    David Fitzpatrick (Macclesfield Town) is shown the yellow card.

  8. Substitution

    Substitution, Macclesfield Town. Danny Whitaker replaces Luke Summerfield.

  9. Goal!

    Goal! Lincoln City 2, Macclesfield Town 1. Terry Hawkridge (Lincoln City).

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Macclesfield Town. Anthony Dudley replaces Mitch Hancox.

  11. Substitution

    Substitution, Lincoln City. Josh Ginnelly replaces Nathan Arnold.

  12. Substitution

    Substitution, Lincoln City. Billy Knott replaces Elliot Whitehouse.

  13. Booking

    Chris Holroyd (Macclesfield Town) is shown the yellow card.

  14. Second Half

    Second Half begins Lincoln City 1, Macclesfield Town 1.

  15. Half Time

    First Half ends, Lincoln City 1, Macclesfield Town 1.

  16. Booking

    Luke Summerfield (Macclesfield Town) is shown the yellow card.

  17. Goal!

    Goal! Lincoln City 1, Macclesfield Town 1. Terry Hawkridge (Lincoln City).

  18. Goal!

    Goal! Lincoln City 0, Macclesfield Town 1. Mitch Hancox (Macclesfield Town).

  19. Kick Off

    First Half begins.

  20. Post update

    Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

As It Stood

1Lincoln City44307782394397
3Forest Green4525101086543285
4Dag & Red452651478522683
11Sutton United451512186163-257
13Maidstone United44169195974-1557
15Boreham Wood451413184748-155
16Solihull Moors45159216174-1354
23North Ferriby United45123303280-4839
View full National League table

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