Lincoln City match winner Morgan Rogers rewards Michael Appleton’s faith
There was intrigue and surprise when Lincoln City released their roster an hour before the home clash with Crewe Alexandra.
Callum Morton entered the starting lineup after returning from injury while Cohen Bramall came back to the left-back side with Tayo Edun moving to midfield. Tom Hopper, late for rest, fell to the side.
Meanwhile, some fans were disappointed to see Anthony Scully – the man most likely to end the season as a top scorer after Jorge Grant’s injury – fall to the bench while Morgan Rogers stayed on the sidelines.
This initial disappointment was perhaps understandable given that Scully has shown more consistency than Rogers recently in the first three.
The Manchester City striker’s talent on loan is evident, but he has been frustrated in the last few games and it wouldn’t have come as a surprise if he had been given a break for this game.
But Appleton, so adept at guiding young players, stayed with Rogers.
And that faith paid off when the 18-year-old opened the scoring with an elegant side-footed finish in the 21st minute. The Imps never looked back as they bounced back from successive losses in style.
Rogers is developing a knack for scoring crucial goals, having scored the last winner at Portsmouth, as well as equalizers against Accrington and Swindon.
This last strike was part of a good overall performance by the youngster.
The manager of Imps’ rationale for staying with Rogers was straightforward.
“He’s a match winner,” Appleton said after the game.
“Brennan [Johnson] is the same. Brennan and Morgan are going to frustrate some people, some coaches, fans, you guys [the media] – and he will do it to me but I have to accept it because he will win a match for me.
“You just have to find the right balance. Some of the other staff will say ‘he didn’t do that’ and I’ll say ‘yes you are right but wait until the ball is returned’. He will be the one who tries to win the game for us.
“It’s a bit like yin and yang, you just have to take it a bit on the chin. Sometimes you will get caught and we will be punished.
“But, most of the time, if you trust them, they’ll win the game for you.”