King's Lynn Town 2 St Ives Town 0: Normal service resumes as Culverhouse returns to The Walks
PUBLISHED: 22:59 10 November 2018 | UPDATED: 13:00 11 November 2018
Matthew Usher Photography
King's Lynn Town ensured new boss Ian Culverhouse made a winning return to The Walks.
Culverhouse was in the home dugout for the first time since the final game of last season – the play-off final loss to Slough Town.
And it is clear that some things don’t change as Lynn turned on the style in the second half to make it seven Southern League Central Premier games unbeaten – and give Culverhouse two league wins out of two since his dramatic return to the role he filled so well last season.
Lynn were indebted to second-half goals from Craig Parker and Chris Henderson, but the scoreline could have been so much wider.
Lynn went into the game without the suspended Rory McAuley, although fellow centre-back Ryan Fryatt played, despite a cut eye sustained a week earlier.
It was three at the back for Lynn, who were on the back foot in the early stages, but midway through the first half began to take control with a grip the visitors rarely loosened.
Ryan Hawkins slung in a lovely cross from the right – the first of many – which earned Lynn a corner, the ball eventually falling for Adam Marriott, whose glancing header was just wide.
Lynn were guilty of losing possession far too often in the early stages, and cracking their opponents’ back line was proving difficult, although Marriott’s chase of Ryan Jarvis’ ball into the left channel was ended only when Robert Parker got a fortunate touch in the area.
As Lynn began to take a more control, Jarvis was prominent.
Michael Gash saw a header from a Michael Clunan corner blocked by a defender, while Jarvis’ shot was a surprise only for a passing motorist as it sailed high, but realistic scoring opportunities were few and fat between. It was a game of patience for Lynn, faced with a St Ives team determined to give the hosts little time to settle.
Jarvis saw a 25-yarder blocked after good work down the right by Marriott and Hawkins then was halted in his tracks by the ref’s whistle as he met Clunan’s free-kick with his head.
Hawkins, causing havoc down the right flank, made his way between two defenders who generously parted to give him space, but his shot hit the side netting.
Frazer Blake-Tracy’s cross from the left was tipped over the bar as half-time approached before Fryatt had the ball in the net only for the ref’s whistle to halt the celebrations for an infringement that few other people noticed.
Culverhouse’s teams of last season were not averse to producing ‘games of two halves’ – and the inevitable happened after the break as Lynn went from strength to strength.
St Ives had no answer to Lynn’s wing play, but the instigator of the opener on 54 minutes was goalkeeper Alex Street. New assistant manager Paul Bastock would have been delighted at the keeper’s quick thinking as he grabbed the ball in is own area and, with a throw-in style clearance, delivered it to Henderson. He ran into an orange shirt, but the fall fell nicely for Clunan who, overlapped by Blake-Tracy, put the ball into the left-back’s path. The delivery was top draw – and Parker was doing what he does best, rushing into the area to meet it to give Lynn the lead.
Street then had to make his first real save, blocking George Bailey’s drive, but Lynn went straight down the other end where Marriott teed up Henderson who headed over when he really should have scored.
But on 62 minutes Henderson made amends, when sub Jordan Richards put a cross on his head – and this time he found the back of the net.
The rain was teeming down by now, but Lynn were turning on the style: Hawkins teed up Henderson, whose sweeping effort was straight at keeper Martin Conway.
Clunan stung the keeper’s fingers with a fizzer from just outside the area while Gash was inches away from yet another Hawkins cross.
It was cracking stuff. The fans liked what they saw – it was just like old times.
Lynn: Street, Jones (Richards 46), Fryatt, Blake-Tracy, Jarvis, Parker, Clunan, Henderson (Limb 80), Gash, Marriott, Hawkins (Frohawk 89). Sub not used: Bastock.