Michael Appleton felt Lincoln’s 1-0 win over Ipswich was just reward for his side’s outstanding first-half performance.
The Imps climbed to the top of the League One table thanks to Jorge Grant’s penalty 13 minutes from time after Brennan Johnson had been fouled by Aristote Nsiala.
Town’s day got worse in added time when Jon Nolan was shown a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Harry Anderson.
Then, after the final whistle, Ipswich boss Paul Lambert was also shown a red card after angrily confronting the officials.
The goal came amid a scrappy second half that looked set to end goalless but Appleton was delighted with the football his side played in the first half.
He said: “I thought we were outstanding in the first half. “The second half was a bit bitty, but after the football we played and the chances we created, I was disappointed we weren’t two or three up at half-time.
“In the second half it was a different type of game, a bit scrappy, but we’ve kept another clean sheet and Alex [Palmer] had one save of note to make. To do that against a side as good as Ipswich, we’re pleased. We now move on to Tuesday [against Crewe].”
The result was also Lincoln’s third clean sheet in a row.
“That’s the fifth shutout we’ve had in the eight league games, which is pleasing,” Appleton added.
“It’s not easy to do that, it’s tough, and there’s a lot of work that goes into getting those types of stats, but we’ve got to keep doing it.
“People will be there to knock us if we don’t do it so we have to keep doing the right things and stay humble.”
Both managers were left frustrated by some of the officials’ decision-making.
And Lambert did not hold back in his assessment of referee Kevin Johnson’s performance after the game.
Lambert fumed: “We didn’t lose to Lincoln today, we lost to the man in the middle.
“I haven’t seen anything like that in all my time in the game, it was incredible.
“I’m flabbergasted that’s the standard required for professional football because it’s not acceptable. I’ll be reporting him for sure.
“In terms of my players, I was really happy with our performance – we were brilliant.”
Lambert insisted he didn’t have any regrets over confronting the officials.
“No, because what I said was true,” he said.
“We get criticised for a lot of things, so should they. I’ll be phoning Mike Jones [head of referees] because that was unacceptable. It was the usual from them at the end. An absolute sign of arrogance.”
On the penalty decision, Lambert said: “I’ve just seen it again. Toto’s used his strength, used his arm, against a young kid. It’s just body strength. If that’s a penalty then you’d be given fouls all over the pitch.”
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe