Gardner blow as 10-man Athletic are held by table-toppers

Date published: 28 November 2018

It proved to be a night of mixed emotions for Athletic last night at Boundary Park.

The hosts went toe-to-toe with League Two leaders Lincoln before being forced to settle for a generally encouraging 1-1 draw, but Frankie Bunn’s side also saw Ishmael Miller sent off and influential midfielder Dan Gardner stretchered off with what looked like a serious injury.

Gardner (28) has appeared in 25 games for Athletic so far this season, scoring twice, but has been a major player as Bunn continues to rebuild the side since their relegation at the end of last season.

Early indications are that the former Chesterfield man suffered a serious injury during the first half against the Imps.

Gardner was treated on the field for several minutes.

He collpased shortly after playing the ball, before being carried off on a stretcher, with gas and air being used as a painkiller.

Speaking after the game, manager Bunn admitted it doesn’t look good and he could be without Gardner for some time.

Bunn said: “When somebodies on gas and air it doesn’t look good, so he’s in an awful lot of pain.

“I’ve seen other players, I’ve seen my own son in that state, my thoughts are really with him.”

There’s been no official word on what injury Gardner suffered, but it is understood the club could be without the midfield talisman for the busy Christmas and New Year period.

Lincoln were desperately close to an early goal when John Akinde latched on to Neal Eardley's fine pass and slammed his shot against the crossbar.

Then, during eight minutes of first-half stoppage time, Miller was shown a straight red card for a late challenge on visiting goalkeeper Josh Vickers.

The hosts still struck after 49 minutes as French substitute Mohamed Maouche took possession 25 yards out and fizzed a superb goal into the top corner.

But their lead lasted only five minutes, with Lincoln's Michael O'Connor drilling in from 16 yards despite Athletic players claiming a handball in the build-up.

Bunn’s men – who travel to non-league Maidstone United next up in the FA Cup on Saturday - were excellent with 10 men and could have snatched victory through Callum Lang and Sam Surridge.

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