Play-off chasing Lincoln saw their 16-game unbeaten run ended by Charlie Hughes’ last-gasp winner as Wigan claimed a 2-1 victory at the LNER Stadium.

The Imps looked well-placed to extend their impressive run even further having battled back from a goal behind.

Jonny Smith fired Latics into a welcome 20th-minute lead with his first goal since New Year’s Day. The midfielder’s sweet strike took a slight deflection as it flew into the bottom corner.

But Daniel Mandroiu levelled for the Imps five minutes before the break with a fine finish.

It was the Irish midfielder’s first goal for nearly two months but it could not have come at a better time as the hosts found a way back into the contest.

Smith had an early effort saved, while at the other end Hughes rifled a right-foot shot just wide.

Thelo Aasgaard turned provider for Smith to open the scoring, before Mandroiu had a powerful shot saved.

Ben House went close before Mandriou levelled and leading scorer Joe Taylor had a header saved on the stroke of half-time.

Jason Kerr headed wide for Latics and Tom Pearce blasted over, but Hughes’ stunning last-gasp volley saw the visitors take the points.

Lincoln head coach Michael Skubala expects there to be many more “twists and turns” in the League One play-off race after his side let slip a 1-0 lead late on to draw 1-1 at lowly Reading.

Lincoln, now unbeaten in 16 matches, went ahead much against the run of play in the 72nd minute, when substitute Freddie Draper nodded in a cross from Sean Roughan.

But Reading deservedly levelled seven minutes from the end, with defender Tyler Bindon heading in a corner from Lewis Wing from close range.

“All in all, it was a fair point,” Skubala said. “But I keep saying it, there are many more twists and turns to come.

“Reading have been great at home so, to come here and get a point, I’m pleased with that.

“I think it is probably a fair scoreline, when you look at it over the 90 minutes, though maybe a little bit disappointing for us after being 1-0 up.

“We wanted to see it out and we’ve been good recently with set-pieces [at defending them]. So that’s a bit disappointing as well.

“We have high standards, we want to win games and we came here to win.

“We started the game fast and had a couple of chances but then it settled for Reading. We were getting pulled about a little bit in the press.

“But in the second half, when we tidied things up, we looked the better team. And when we went 1-0 up, it felt calm.

“Okay, a set-piece has done us. But we go again, we keep fighting. I always say to the lads: ‘If you can’t win it, don’t lose it’.”

Reading remain six points clear of the relegation zone.

“That was one of our best performances of the season,” Reading manager Ruben Selles said.

“We dominated the action, we dominated the possession.

“Maybe we made a few mistakes in the build-ups but we were aggressive and always tried to play our game.

“We found ourselves behind, in just one action, but we showed character.

“We need to continue working and be more ruthless with the finishing in the final third because I think that we should have been in front before they scored.

“It is only a matter of time before we learn how to do that, to be ruthless, so that we can move on to the next level.

“We created situations and I think that we now have a pure identity. We just need to continue evolving that.

“I think we did enough to win and I thought we controlled every part of the game today. Overall, it was a good performance.”

Play-off chasing Lincoln extended their unbeaten League One run to 16 matches but had to settle for a hard-earned 1-1 draw at lowly Reading.

Tyler Bindon salvaged a point for the Royals with seven minutes remaining after Freddie Draper had given the visitors, now two points off the play-off places, the lead.

Reading had the better of an entertaining first half but Lincoln goalkeeper Lukas Jensen was rarely troubled.

Home striker Sam Smith created the game’s first opening, with a clever cross from the byline, but Ben Elliott skewed his shot wide at the near post.

In an even opening, Lincoln replied when Teddy Bishop scooped narrowly over the crossbar from a Lasse Sorensen centre.

Reading could have gone ahead approaching the interval only for desperate Lincoln defending to block close-range efforts from Femi Azeez and Paul Mukairu.

Azeez could have given Reading a second-half lead but curled over after a fine solo run.

Lincoln sat back for much of the second half but were rewarded in the 72nd minute when, on a rare break, substitute Draper nodded home.

But Reading deservedly levelled when Lewis Wing swung in a corner and defender Bindon nodded in from inside the six-yard box.

Lincoln head coach Michael Skubala praised substitute Jovon Makama after his last-minute winner in their 1-0 Sky Bet League One victory over Leyton Orient propelled the Imps into the play-off places for the first time this season.

City were not at their best as Orient more than matched them, but they claimed the three points after Makama came on to score a dramatic late goal as they stretched their unbeaten run to 14 matches.

“Jovon is still learning and he has the profile and ability to do well and we know he has that finish in him,” said Skubala.

“I see him in training in every day and I known the quality he has.

“I am really pleased he came on he got the goal to help us get the three points.”

Skubala admitted the free-scoring Imps had had a battle on their hands, producing just two shots on target as they struggled to get the better of a lively-looking Orient side, backed by nearly 1,000 fans.

“It was a tough game for us and we had to scrap it out,” he said.

“We were struggling with the physicality, we were struggling with the wind and with the scrappiness. They played some nice football and it was one of those games when we had to grind it out.

“We weren’t great, but we know we have to have these types of games if we are to do well and scrap it out and fight for points.

“Our back line was phenomenal and it was a tough shift for them. The game is built on clean sheets and all round it was a resilient performance.”

After only mustering one shot on goal in the previous 90 minutes, Makama settled the contest when he blocked an attempted clearance, collected the ball and confidently curled a low shot into the bottom corner.

Orient head coach Richie Wellens felt the “best team lost” after seeing his side dominate possession and chances, only to fall to the late sucker punch.

He also as good as wrote off their play-off hopes, saying: “It was a big mistake at the end and the best team lost. I felt we nullified them and they weren’t really a threat.

“Up until the 90th minute they’d had one shot on our goal and it was a sickener to lose. I thought we were brilliant in the last 15 minutes and looked like the only team going to win it, but when you’re on the crest of a wave like they are, things go for you.

“I thought tactically we were better than them, but we’re lacking in the final third. We should have won it – we have lost two games against these now in the final minute. I feel for the players and supporters.

“The play-offs are all but gone now, but you never know. It’s going to be tough and we’re going to have win all our last six games.”

Lincoln boss Michael Skubala hailed his free-scoring side after they hammered Bristol Rovers 5-0.

The impressive Imps took their recent tally to 16 goals in three games with another fine display at Sincil Bank.

Luton loanee Joe Taylor will get the plaudits for a first professional hat-trick, sandwiched between captain Paudie O’Connor’s opener and Reeco Hackett’s late fifth.

Anthony Evans missed a penalty for the visitors, who had a man advantage for the last 15 minutes after Ethan Erhahon was sent off.

“We started well again,” said Skubala, whose side are two points off the play-off spots after a 13th game unbeaten.

“We talk about starting bright, starting fast, and we did that.

“I just said to the boys this is what we do. If you’re going to come and play us you have to be on it.

“Scoring five goals was fantastic. You saw us scoring goals, but we needed our keeper today. Big man Lukas was fantastic. Those are the things that don’t get mentioned when you score loads of goals.

“You saw his and Paudie’s quality today. As much as we talk about goals, we’re getting clean sheets as well. I thought those two were fantastic today.

“I don’t know how many Joe’s scored. I just like people scoring goals. Joe at the minute, his positioning in behind is fantastic.

“He’s improving all the time. That’s why he came here. He’s a real threat to anybody.”

Rovers boss Matt Taylor understandably cut a frustrated figure after his side were put to the sword.

He questioned his players’ desire with a number of them out of contract in the summer.

He said: “We started the game so poorly. There were some diabolical moments, defending for the goals.

“The script was set in terms of what to expect from them. It looked like some couldn’t match it and some looked like they didn’t have the mindset to match it.

“The first goal was embarrassing. Their goals are diabolical defending. They’re my responsibility.

“All I ask is they take more personal pride in their performance. That first half an hour was too poor a showing for me to accept.

“There’s a bigger picture which we all know about. Is that affecting some players on the pitch at the moment? You’re only damaging yourself if you play like that. You only damage yourself and damage your own futures.

“Clarity’s all I need going forward and that’s taught me a little bit more about some of the personality.

“It’s irrelevant about the chances we created. We’ve said so many times about being good about creating, but five goals against. It’s irrelevant.

“You can’t look like a good footballing side at times if you can’t do the basic fundamentals of defending a football game.”

Jack Moylan and Joe Taylor both scored twice as rampant Lincoln stretched their unbeaten Sky Bet League One run to 12 matches as they thrashed Cambridge 6-0 at the LNER Stadium.

Irishman Moylan netted two brilliant goals in Saturday’s 5-1 mauling of Barnsley and scored twice in the opening half hour, before Taylor grabbed his own brace, while substitutes TJ Eyoma and Dylan Duffy also got in on the act.

Moylan fired City into the lead after just three minutes. Sean Roughan’s cross into the box fell to Lasse Sorensen initially, but the ball eventually found its way to Moylan who smashed a shot high into the roof of the net.

Jack Stevens made a flying save to deny Sorensen after he latched on to a terrific Danny Mandroiu pass, who then himself stabbed the corner wide.

Moylan doubled the lead after 25 minutes, confidently slotting a low shot past Stevens after a delightful Ethan Erhahon pass.

Stevens superbly denied Sorensen again in first-half stoppage-time, but it took the Imps just three minutes of the second half to go 3-0 up.

Mandroiu’s sublime ball across Cambridge’s area found an unmarked Taylor, who had the easy job of steering the ball into the net.

James Brophy brought a good save out of Lukas Jensen, before lobbing another effort just over, while Ryan Bennett headed narrowly wide from a corner as Cambridge enjoyed their best spell of the match.

Lincoln, though, added a fourth after 75 minutes when Moylan’s brilliant through ball set up Taylor, who dinked a shot over Stevens and into the net.

Eyoma then fired home after Teddy Bishop’s shot was initially blocked before Duffy rammed a shot through Stevens’ legs to complete the rout.

Lincoln extended their unbeaten run to 11 games with an emphatic 5-1 away victory over Barnsley.

Joe Taylor opened the scoring before a Jack Moylan brace, Daniel Mandriou and Jovon Makama added second-half goals.

Adam Phillips pulled one back for the hosts, but they could not push for a comeback.

Lincoln took the lead after 15 minutes when Lasse Sorensen knocked it across for Taylor to finish beyond Liam Roberts.

They doubled their lead in the 55th minute through substitute Moylan, who weaved past the Barnsley defence before slotting past Roberts.

Michael Skubala’s side added a third three minutes later when Josh Earl gave the ball away in his own half. Mandriou picked up the ball and drove into the box before finding the back of the net.

Moylan got his second of the game in the 72nd minute when he let fly from 25 yards out and found the bottom left corner.

Barnsley pulled one back with 13 minutes to play when Phillips fired home from inside the box.

The Imps responded quickly and added a fifth through Makama two minutes later.

Furious Stevenage boss Steve Evans claimed Lincoln should have had a man sent off during their dour goalless draw.

Evans, who was himself booked for remonstrating against a decision in the first half, was adamant Ethan Erhahon should have received a second yellow card for a foul on Louis Thompson with 20 minutes to go.

He said: “For me there’s a massive, massive, pivotal moment in the game.

“I don’t want players sent off, but the referee will justify why he doesn’t give a second yellow for a free-kick when Louis bursts towards the box.

“It’s just a bad decision from a referee who I thought got around the pitch, was strong about his opinions but gave me a yellow card for lifting my arms.

“Michael’s (Lincoln boss Michael Skubala) running around waving his arms when Jamie Reid collides with the goalie and he just gets a smile.

“Bobby Madley talks well. I’ll give him compliments for being a strong referee, but you have to be able to come to Sincil Bank and give a second yellow.”

After seeing his side miss the chance to go five points clear of seventh-placed Oxford in the play-off race, Evans added: “It was two teams that knew it was important not to lose and there was a lot of cancelling out.

“I don’t remember our goalkeeper making a save and I know theirs didn’t. There was a lot of industry. They put in a shift.”

Lincoln stretched their impressive unbeaten run to 10 matches and have kept four clean sheets in a row.

Skubala said: “It wasn’t a nice game of football. That’s a Steve Evans team, you know what you’re going to get.

“I thought we dealt with it really well. In the end we were happy not to lose.

“It shows how far this group has come. We’re really disappointed we didn’t win the game. I told the lads not to worry because they’ve come a long way.

“When you play a Steve Evans side and a Stevenage team and you’re disappointed not to win, you’re doing a good thing.

“There was a lot of aerial. Our back line stood up well, their back line stood up well.

“I think in the end it was more in the air than on the floor.

“I thought it was a good test. When we went to their place I thought we got bullied a little bit and that didn’t happen today.

“If we’re disappointed not to win that, it shows how well we’re doing at the moment.”

Lincoln boss Michael Skubala described his side’s 3-0 League One defeat of Shrewsbury as the best performance of his 20-game Imps tenure as they stretched their unbeaten run to nine.

The hosts were dominant from the off, taking a sixth-minute lead through Teddy Bishop before Reeco Hackett doubled the advantage.

Lasse Sorensen then produced a spectacular strike to seal the deal, although the Danish full-back was honest enough to admit afterwards that he may have been a tad fortunate to find the top corner form the right wing.

“I thought we were phenomenal,” gushed Skubala. “For the first 20 minutes, I thought we were electric, the lads were unbelievable.

“I said we needed to start fast, but I’ve never seen them start that fast.

“For the rest of the game I thought we were really good to a man. That was probably the best performance since I’ve been here.

“They couldn’t live with our intensity, our counter-pressing, the second balls and the way we got on their backline. We could have had another penalty and a few more goals.

“I think we had something like 22, 23 shots and it was simply a very good performance.”

City took the lead after six minutes from Hackett’s corner. Joe Taylor’s shot was blocked and Hackett’s follow-up was kept out, only for Bishop to fire his effort into the bottom corner.

Hackett made it two after 57 minutes, smashing a left-footed shot into the top corner following a back-heeled pass from Taylor.

A third came 10 minutes later via Sorensen. The hosts had won a penalty after Ben House was brought down by keeper Harry Burgoyne following a woeful Carl Winchester back-pass. Bishop struck a post from the spot, with the ball rebounding out to Sorensen on the right wing. The Dane instinctively delivered it back into the danger area, with the ball arcing into the top left-hand corner of the net.

Shrewsbury boss Paul Hurst was bitterly disappointed with his under-performing players and gave a brutal assessment of his team.

“We were second best from start to finish,” admitted Hurst. “I feel sorry for the fans that travelled who gave their support, but I was amazed when I saw them clapping at the end.

“That type of performance was unacceptable. There are ways to lose games of football, irrespective of scoreline, and that’s not how to do it. I have told the lads loud and clear it is unacceptable.

“It was a tough night and I am almost embarrassed. That is nowhere near what I want from this team.”

Hurst had to make a few changes from the team that won 3-2 at Reading at the weekend but he said: “We had to change three of the back five but that doesn’t stop you running around, from winning tackles.”

Lasse Sorensen scored a goal of the season contender as in-form Lincoln stretched their unbeaten League One run to nine matches with a 3-0 defeat of Shrewsbury.

The Danish full-back found the top corner from the right touchline to add to earlier efforts from Teddy Bishop and Reeco Hackett as the Imps emphatically tamed the Shrews at Sincil Bank.

Chey Dunkley poked an early effort wide for Shrewsbury before City went down the other end and took the lead.

Hackett’s corner was headed back across goal by Paudie O’Connor to Joe Taylor, whose shot was blocked, with the rebound falling to Hackett whose effort was then kept out, only for Bishop to find the net.

Bishop curled a 20-yard free-kick just over and then Hackett missed a golden chance to double City’s lead nine minutes into the second half, drilling wide when put through by Ethan Erhahon.

Hackett made amends just four minutes later, though, smashing a left-footed shot into the top corner following a delightful back-heeled pass from Taylor.

Hackett and Taylor were thwarted by Shrews goalkeeper Harry Burgoyne within a few seconds and then Sorensen drove into the side-netting as City went for the jugular.

A third inevitably came after 67 minutes with an incredible effort from Sorensen.

The hosts had won a penalty after Ben House was brought down by Burgoyne.

Bishop struck a post from the spot, with the ball rebounding out to Sorensen on the right wing. The Dane instinctively let fly, with the ball arcing into the top left-hand corner of the net.

Taylor Perry finally had the Shrews’ first shot on target after 70 minutes but Lukas Jensen produced a routine save.

Joe Taylor clipped in the winner as Lincoln saw off Exeter 1-0 at the LNER Stadium.

Luton-loanee Taylor netted his first for the club, calmly finishing the ball over Viljami Sinisalo midway through the second half.

Jack Aitchison hit the bar for Exeter with the Grecians only clear-cut opportunity.

The first chance fell to the home side when Dylan Duffy pulled a free-kick just wide of the target. Duffy would soon slice a volley wide as the Imps took control.

The visitors scrambled the first chance of the second period as Yanic Wildschut tested Lukas Jensen at his near post.

Dion Rankine burst down the wing and picked out Aitchison inside the Lincoln area. The Scot’s side-footed effort was tipped onto the bar by the ever-alert Jensen.

The hosts carved a near-identical chance of their own when Ben House unmarked on the penalty spot was denied twice by Sinisalo, as the game came to life.

Substitute Ted Bishop soon slipped in Taylor to find the winner in some style.

Nathan Jones praised his Charlton players after they fought back to claim a 1-1 draw at home to Lincoln.

The Addicks are only one place above the relegation zone with Port Vale and Cheltenham, the two clubs immediately below them, both with matches in hand.

It needed a smart finish by Freddie Ladapo from the edge of the penalty area in the 73rd minute, just moments after he was brought on, to cancel out Reeco Hackett’s goal in the first half.

Charlton have not won a match since November 28 – an unwanted run of 14 league matches and 16 in total.

Next up are the top three of Bolton, Derby and Portsmouth.

It was a first point for Jones since he was appointed boss on February 4.

“It’s a young group but everything I asked for they responded,” said the Welshman. “It’s only a start and a point but I saw a lot I was pleased with.

“At the moment everything is going in against us – it’s a great strike (by Hackett) but if they keep that level of energy and aggression then we will be very hard to play against and we will win games.

“This won’t just change overnight. We will turn into the team we want to be. I’ve been in football 33 years and the one thing about this group is they are honest.

“Freddie hadn’t scored in five games that he started but we pulled him and said we would try something different.

“He’s a nine and Alfie May is the 10. He has had to take a lot of battering for not a lot of reward – sometimes when you come on it changes the dynamic and there is a bit more space. He was excellent.”

Lincoln were hunting a third straight victory but had to settle instead for extending their unbeaten run to six matches.

“When you look across the two halves, we were better in the first and then in the second they came out and threw everything at us,” said Imps head coach Michael Skubala.

“In the end it was a really good away point, with the way we stood up to their attacks and the noise in the stadium.

“We knew they were going to put it on us and we had to deal with that. I felt we did well in the last 20 minutes to hold out for a point.

“We hit the post (through Danny Mandroiu) before it became 1-1 but I think a point’s fair across the two halves. The backline stood up to it and Lukas Jensen was immense too.

“We’re unbeaten in six, still picking up points and we had to be careful with Ben House and Freddie Draper tonight for instance, and play a few players slightly out of position but hopefully we’ll start to get bodies back.

“Conor McGrandles will be back available on Saturday as he couldn’t play against his parent club tonight.”

Derby boss Paul Warne was left counting his lucky stars after his side’s 0-0 draw at Lincoln.

The promotion-chasing Rams dropped points for only the third time since the end of October at Sincil Bank.

But it could have been worse if it was not for inspired goalkeeper Josh Vickers, who produced a string of fine saves to frustrate the win-shy hosts, whose winless league run stretched to eight games.

Warne said: “It could have been a lot worse, it could have been a bit better. That’s my view of it. We just didn’t do enough to take a chance.

“We have an attitude to take a risk. We want to win every game, we feel we have a responsibility to get promoted to try and win as many games as we can; away from home or at home, that’s the way we play.

“Luckily, our goalie got us out of trouble. Sometimes you need that.

“I still thought we would have scored, a guilt-edge chance. But we didn’t. We huffed and puffed. We just didn’t have enough to win a game.

“It’s always the way if, for whatever reason, your two, three or four forwards, whatever you play with, can’t create a chance then you want more and more options.

“If I was really greedy I’d have 10 centre forwards with six on the bench and I’d keep flipping them.

“We can’t always rely on Tom [Barkhuizen], Collo [James Collins] and Nat [Mendez-Laing] to create something all the time, it’s impossible.

“You can’t go through the whole season being the best player. Although in fairness most of the time they are.”

Despite an elusive win going begging, Lincoln boss Michael Skubala was pleased with his side’s performance.

He was particularly impressed by young strikers Freddie Draper (19) and Luton loanee Joe Taylor (21), the latter being denied a goal in the second half by a clearance off the line.

Skubala said: “I’m really pleased. I thought they worked really hard.

“We created some big chances. I thought the game had everything from the lads and we were brilliant, without getting the win.

“I thought we looked a real threat. We had a 19 and 20-year-old up front and we saw how exciting their partnership can be.

“Freddie and Joe have a lot to learn but the signs were good.

“I was impressed with everybody. I thought they were all really good.

“I was disappointed for them because they deserved to win with the chances they created.

“Joe will be fine, he’ll be fine. He’ll score goals for us. If he starts scoring goals for us then he’s got a bright future.

“He’s got to score. They’re still young, still new to League One and that can’t be underestimated.

“Derby are a big team on a great run so I’m really pleased.”

Ethan Erhahon’s late equaliser saw Lincoln salvage a point in a 1-1 draw with Wycombe.

Dale Taylor’s first-half goal had looked like being enough to win the game, only for Erhahon’s strike in the eighth minute of stoppage time to deny Wycombe victory.

The hosts were looking to mark Matt Bloomfield’s 50th game in charge with a win, while Lincoln were aiming to improve after four straight defeats.

Wycombe took the lead just before the half-hour as Sam Vokes headed Jack Grimmer’s cross to Taylor and his header just crossed the line before Adam Jackson could clear.

Taylor saw a low strike fall inches wide late in the first half, before Lincoln almost equalised when Dylan Duffy’s shot hit a post.

Imps debutant Joe Taylor had a goal disallowed before Wycombe saw a Vokes header go narrowly over the crossbar seconds later.

Substitutes Reeco Hackett and Jack Moylan forced good saves out of Max Stryjek before Erhahon’s lofted finish saw Lincoln snatch a point at the death.

Northampton made it two wins from their last three League One games with a 2-1 victory over Lincoln at Sincil Bank.

Goals either side of half-time from Jon Guthrie and Kieron Bowie were the difference as Jon Brady’s side inflicted a third straight defeat on Michael Skubala’s Imps.

The visitors opened the scoring after half an hour when Guthrie out jumped Imps goalkeeper Lukas Jensen to head into an empty net from a Marc Leonard cross.

Lincoln began the second half brightly as they went in search of an equaliser with Jack Burroughs denied by Max Thompson in the Cobblers’ goal.

At the other end, Northampton continued to pose a threat on the break and with 58 minutes gone Bowie’s left-footed shot from the edge of the area doubled the visitors’ lead.

Just two minutes later Timothy Eyoma’s close-range header from an Ethan Hamilton corner promised to set up a thrilling finish.

However, any hope Lincoln had of an unlikely comeback ended when Paudie O’Connor was shown a straight red card for a deliberate elbow as Town held on for all three points.

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