Lincoln City face biggest game in club history as they bid to avoid relegation
LINCOLN CITY will face the biggest game in their history this week after they were left teetering on the brink of relegation from the Football League.
Only a win against Aldershot on Saturday will guarantee the Imps escape dropping into non-league obscurity after another disastrous weekend in the fight for survival.
Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Oxford has left the Imps locked in a battle with Barnet as both clubs strive to avoid plummeting into the Blue Square Premier.
But Imps boss Steve Tilson remains confident he can pull off a victory which would save Lincoln from non-league football for a second time in 24 years.
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"We have to believe we can do it, otherwise there is no point turning up," he said.
"As long as we prepare correctly, the only thing we have to do is handle the occasion and go and get a result. We have to be positive.
"We need the ground to be as full as possible to give the players the best opportunity to keep us up.
"Undoubtedly, the pressure is there and the players have to deal with it. If they don't then we will end up playing non-league football next season.
"We can only say things to try to take the pressure off, but they are the ones who have to perform on the pitch."
Lincoln were safe from relegation at half-time of Saturday's defeat at Oxford having taken a lead through Cian Hughton's early header.
Luke Howell then crashed the bar with a terrific long-range drive, while Ali Fuseini hit the outside of the post with a cross in the opening stages of the second half.
But a mistake by goalkeeper Elliott Parish, who missed a corner, led to Asa Hall rifling in from close range, before Tom Craddock's fine finish put the Us in command.
To compound City's misery, Danny Hone was sent off for a second bookable offence after a foul on James Constable.
He will now sit out the crunch game against Aldershot.
The result left Lincoln without a win in 10 games and Tilson said it was tough to take.
"We went 1-0 up and we were very comfortable," he said.
"They never really hurt us in any shape or form.
"But when you are a little bit edgy and a little bit nervous, you need that second goal.
"Luke has hit the bar and if Ali's went in then it's a different game.
"We would have had some breathing space. It wasn't to be."