Imps progress to final
By Alex Dunn
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Lincoln secured a place in the League Two play-off final after a 1-1 draw at Macclesfield.Lincoln secured a place in the League Two play-off final after a 1-1 draw at Macclesfield booked a trip to the Millennium Stadium.
Gareth McAuley scored the goal that gave Lincoln a 2-1 aggregate victory, although his first half strike was cancelled out on the day by an excellent effort from Macclesfield's Paul Harsley.
Macclesfield looked leg weary in the first period and their manager Brian Horton will be disappointed that the fighting spirit that propelled them to a play-off berth was entirely subdued.
In contrast, Lincoln were relentless in their pressing game and could have taken a lead within the opening few minutes were it not for Harsley, who was on hand to clear Jamie McCombe's header off the line.
McAuley had scored the goal in the first-leg at Sincil Bank that separated the teams going into the game and on 15 minutes, he replicated the feat by rising highest at the far post to nod home from a Lincoln corner.
It would take the home side half-an-hour before they mustered a decent effort in response, when on-loan Kevin Townson cut inside neatly before stabbing the ball too close to Imps goalkeeper Andy Marriott.
Lincoln midfielder Richard Butcher showed neat feet before his drive from range was deflected wide, whilst on the stroke of half-time Macclesfield's towering striker John Parkin threatened with a free-kick bent through a broken wall but the ball drifted wide.
Macclesfield were improved after the break and could have conjured a leveller early in the half, but Matthew Tipton failed to connect with Parkin's drilled ball across goal.
Tipton then fired into the side netting after turning neatly onto Mark Bailey's cute through ball before at the other end, Simon Yeo could have put the tie beyond doubt but shot over after rounding Alan Fettis in the Macclesfield goal.
With the game looking beyond Macclesfield, on 75 minutes, Harsley spun just inside the Lincoln box to register with the most sumptuous of curling efforts beyond Marriott.
The final fifteen minutes were camped in Lincoln's half - with Parkin going close - before Marriott booked Lincoln's place in the final with a brilliant tip-over from substitute Danny Whittaker's stunning half volley from distance.