Striker Shane Tolley’s late winner sealed a precious win for Lynn over one of their promotion rivals.

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Stamford looked set to stretch Lynn’s winless run in the league to six games when Andrew Hall slotted home a fine 47th-minute goal.

But a brace from Tolley, including an 87th-minute clincher, secured Lynn’s comeback and a cracking start to 2013 after an intriguing New Year’s Day encounter at The Walks.

The Linnets were looking to start 2013 by reigniting their promotion challenge following a run of five league matches without a win.

That said, confidence was certainly high among Gary Setchell’s men following a Boxing Day draw at Brigg Town, despite playing much of the game with 10 men, and recent exploits in their epic FA Trophy run.

Defender Ross Watson, sitting out today’s match against his former club through suspension, was replaced by Jason Lee. He slotted in at centre-back while Ryan Fryatt switched to right-back.

Stamford, who won 3-1 against a much-changed Lynn in the League Cup in November and are temporarily being managed by ex-Linnet David Staff, are enjoying a fine season themselves and sit second in the table — eight points behind Coalville Town.

With both teams flying high, and harbouring serious ambitions of finishing in the play-offs, it was always likely to be a tense and tight affair.

And opening exchanges were just that with tackles being readily snapped into, especially by Linnets midfielder Dan Quigley. The referee hardly helped matters by doing his best to increase the stop-start feel to proceedings.

Both sides had half chances, at best, just after the 10-minute mark with respective goal machines Steve Spriggs and Ricky Miller going close. But Tolley should have done much better six minutes later when Spriggs’ cross presented him with a great chance — unfortunately for Lynn he could only head just past the post, rather than inside it, from about six yards out.

The Daniels’ Miller forced Danny Gay into a cracking save with a rasping left-footed drive after he got the better of Lee out wide. And it was clear to see he, and left-winger Hall, were the visitors’ dangermen.

At the other end, Tolley was finding himself in some cracking positions, but his finishing was just off range as he headed at Matt Finlay and pulled a half volley wide.

Around the half-hour mark, with little to separate both teams, Lynn had a huge penalty shout turned down. Fryatt’s centre definitely appeared to strike Adam Hewitt’s outstretched arm. But the man in the middle waved the appeals away.

It looked like it would prove to be a crucial call. The game had all the feeling of a 0-0 or 1-0 written all over it in the first 45 — especially when Quigley, and then Miller, pulled left-footed attempts wide.

And just on the stroke of half-time, Tolley went close again, this time heading against the bar, as both sides went into the break — after an even 45 — all square.

We didn’t have to wait long for a goal to come after the re-start though when Michael Jacklin’s fine cross from the touchline was met by Hall who sidefooted the ball home, first time on the run, expertly to put his team in front.

Danny Brooks nearly doubled the visitors’ advantage five minutes later but his deflected free-kick was tipped over excellently by Gay who did well to adjust his feet.

The Linnets needed to find a way back into the game and they almost did when a lovely move involving Jordan Yong and Russell Dunkley created an opening for George Thomson. The playmaker’s shot was as good as the build-up but it lacked direction and whizzed comfortably wide.

Miller almost put the game beyond Lynn when he raced onto a long ball and arrowed a drive towards the bottom corner. But not for the first time, the excellent Gay denied him with a finger-tip save. The hosts’ keeper soon stopped another goal-bound Brooks free-kick as he did his best to keep the Linnets in the game.

And his efforts were rewarded when Yong’s excellent run found Dunkley with the ball in the box. And his inch-perfect cross was headed home from yards out by Tolley to bring the scores level with about 15 minutes to go.

Gay won his personal duel with Brooks again, who struck another free-kick sweetly, as Staff’s charges pressed for a late winner. Sam Mulready also headed at Finlay as Lynn searched for their second.

And they found it when Tolley latched onto Lee’s fine through ball and finished cooly from close range to seal a hugely important three points — and his fourth goal in three games for the Linnets.

Lynn: Gay, Fryatt, Gulliver, Lee, Yong, Spriggs (Beaumont, 89), Bunting (Thurlbourne, 67), Quigley, Thomson, Tolley, Dunkley (Mulready, 80). Subs not used: Street, Buhlemann. Booked: Quigley. Goals: Tolley (76, 87).

Stamford: Finlay, Jacklin, Hewitt, Batchelor, Jones, Brooks, Hall, Ozmen (Cotton, 60), Smith, Miller, McGovern (Gibson, 88). Subs not used: Hamilton, Marshall, Staff. Booked: Smith, Brooks. Goal: Hall (47)

Referee: C. Francis

Attendance: 749

- A gallery of Matthew Usher’s pictures from today’s game will be added to this report soon.

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