With few real opportunities on goal for either side it came as no surprise, as the match wore on, that the tie would be decided on penalties and after misses for youngster Louie Marsh and Benie Traore, John Egan fired his over the bar to send the Imps into the second round, 3-2 on spot-kicks.
As is perhaps understandable there was a noticable lack of intensity about United compared to their all-action performance in losing narrowly to champions Man City at the weekend and the sheer number of changes was always likely to lead to a disjointed display.
Assistant coach Stuart McCall admitted the snorefest was felt on the sidelines as much as in the stands as he expressed his displeasure at United’s showing.
“Hugely disappointed in terms of the performance and result,” said McCall. “The performance has given us a poor result, there’s no getting away from it, fair credit to Lincoln they made it difficult to play against but we didn’t move the ball quick enough, never got into areas we wanted to.
“If we are honest, we were bored, ourselves, watching it.We needed more impetus, we tried to change it up a bit in the second half, changed the shape but we certainly didn’t do enough to win the game. It seemed quite flat but we have got to move on to a huge game on Saturday now.”
McCall added: “There’s no excuses from our part, the side we put out there, we should have performed better, at least with a greater degree of tempo to our game. But I’ll take nothing away from Lincoln, I thought they defended their goal really well, they were a hard shape to break down but we maybe got in behind them a couple of times but other than that we were pretty dull.
“Make no bones about it, we were desperate to get through tonight, we picked a side which we believed would do that. From the very first second in the dressing room it was all about getting up to tempo, getting into fifth gear as soon as we could. It was just boring really, we had no cutting thrust to us, never got into any areas we wanted to, crosses into the box, never had many shots on goal. It’s not what we want to be at Bramall Lane.”
The match saw a debut for Cameron Archer and his arrival, along with getting minutes under the belts of some other players were all United were left to cling to in terms of positives.
“The positives are that Cam (Archer) gets an hour under his belt, Oli (McBurnie) gets 45 minutes which he needed, Bogle’s the same with an hour, Trusty makes his debut. We saw some things we needed to see from the younger players.”