Francis fires home brace for Lynn win

Martin Davis Lynn went into their important Southern League Premier Division match against Brackley Town, knowing that just 10 points from their final four fixtures would ensure them the league crown.

Martin Davis

BGB Southern Premier League: King's Lynn 2, Brackley Town 1

Lynn went into their important Southern League Premier Division match against Brackley Town, knowing that just 10 points from their final four fixtures would ensure them the league crown.

Brackley, currently in eighth place, just outside the play-off zone, have had a good first season in the Premier Division and would provide the Linnets with a good test.

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On the team news front, Scott Howie returned to goal following his one-match ban but Mark Camm was ruled out due to the head injury received late in the game against Team Bath last week. Gavin Hoyte's hamstring injury still rules him out however.

Joe Francis came back into contention after missing two games and made the starting line-up.

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Mark Warren had come through 90 minutes with the reserves on Wednesday but was deemed to still need more preparation for his return to first-team duties.

On a sad note, the club were dismayed to learn of the death on Thursday of a Linnets' legend in centre-forward Ray Dixon.

Signed from Rotherham United in August 1957, he was one of the top three post-war Lynn centre- forwards and a minute's silence was held prior to the kick-off.

Lynn kicked off and won an early free-kick which saw Francis lift the ball into the box and when it was headed out, Andrew Fisk had a shot which was charged down.

For Lynn, Turner was well found by Nolan who put in a good cross from the right but a defender did well to react first to clear. Dean West won the ball in a good tackle passing to Turner who got to the by-line pulling the ball back to Nolan who, laying back, caused his shot to go high over. Brackley's captain David Savage fouled Jack Defty on the edge of the box, Francis took the kick which was deflected for a corner from which Jack Defty headed out of play.

A ball to Brackley's Jerome Anderson was well cut out by Chapman to clear what looked like a promising move by the visitors.

For Lynn, Turner again reached the by-line but this time his low cross was cut out by the defence.

When Brackley got into the Lynn penalty area the ball broke to Chris Harper whose hard low shot was well saved by Howie who turned the ball for a corner which saw Hadland flick onto centre forward Spencer who blasted widely high from five yards. From a long punt downfield Nolan forced a corner but this time Francis put in two poor deliveries. A flowing four-man Lynn move was then stopped at the expense of another corner from which Jack Defty won the first ball but no one close enough to take advantage. Then Defty and Nolan combined well but were just blocked out by the defenders.

Lynn almost took the lead when Defty found Francis, who was brought down on the edge of the area the kick taken by Francis himself saw his 20-yard curler hit the angle of the bar and post with Savage clearing his lines. A long ball on the Brackley left wing gave Anderson a heading chance but he put his effort wide.

Lynn did take the lead on 27 minutes when a Brackley defender conceded a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area and which appeared to look well inside the box however, FRANCIS took the kick and settled any doubts when he netted with a low shot to the keeper's left.

It was his 20th Southern League goal this season, the first time this had been achieved by a Lynn winger. Play was then held up for an injury to Brackley's centre forward Spencer but he was able to resume after lengthy treatment.

Lynn scored a second goal just four minutes later from a deep cross from Matt Nolan, who had been fed a fine ball by Turner on the Lynn right, which saw FRANCIS at the far post score with a looping header over keeper Knight.

Lynn had a good combination on their right wing again with West, Turner and Sedgemore all involved which saw Turner's low cross put out for a corner from which Jack Defty, with an overhead kick, shot narrowly wide.

Turner again found Defty who had tried a further overhead kick which almost reached Nolan but Hadland was alert to make a good interception. A rare Brackley attack saw a shot from Oldfield but Howie was untroubled in the Lynn goal. Another fine Lynn move just before the interval saw Francis passing to Defty who, with a neat turn, found Nolan who put a shot on the turn inches wide. When Defty found Turner yet another hard cross saw appeals for hand-ball waved away by referee Beevor.

Brackley broke down their right with Abbaffi forcing Fisk to concede a corner taken by Oldfield, the ball went to Sedgemore who miscued to Brackley's Spencer who cut the ball back for Oldfield to blast high over the bar.

Half-time: Lynn 2, Brackley 0

Rain was falling as the second half began then good play on the Lynn left wing saw Defty, Francis and Nolan saw the ball eventually break to Sedgemore who put a vicious volley inches wide. Jack Defty picking up a loose ball in midfield then tried his luck with a shot from 30 yards, the effort bringing keeper Knight to his knees to save. Nolan, receiving from Turner, in turn found Jack Defty who laid the ball back to Andrew Fisk but the midfielder put it wide. Chapman took a quick throw to Francis who passed to Fisk who crossed from the left with Jack Defty again going inches over.

Brackley's full back Murphy was then cautioned for a foul on Nolan. Lynn at this time made a substitution, bringing on Michael Frew for Turner. From the free kick Crane curled a 30-yard shot wide.

Minutes later Fisk gave away a free kick some 25 yards out which was taken by Brackley sub Tom Winters who fired in a hard shot from which Howie got both hands to the ball but failed to keep it out to reduce Brackley's arrears.

When Jack Defty went down in the box chasing a through ball from Fisk referee Beevor deemed a Brackley defender's challenge to be fair as the big man went down.

When Chapman made an over-the-top tackle on a Brackley defender he was justly cautioned.

On 77 minutes Lynn brought on Melton for Francis. A good run then from Winters saw him put in a deep cross which was well claimed by keeper Howie when under pressure from centre forward Spencer.

Brackley were now coming into the game as they sought a late leveller. Spencer had a header saved by Howie from Harper's cross and then Baines had to make a good tackle to deny Anderson.

A long run on the right by Harper gave Fisher a shooting chance which was deflected for a corner. Lynn came back with a spell of pressure of their own which the visitors survived with difficulty.

On 88 minues Michael Frew when played in was brought down by Murphy who received a red card for his pains. From the free-kick taken by Sedgemore he lifted the ball just out of reach of Jack Defty.

Brackley had one further throw of the dice when a deep cross by Abbassi saw three forwards in the box but no-one connected.

Lynn had survived the battering to maintain their promotion push against at valiant Brackley side.

Final Score: Lynn 2, Brackley 1

t Lynn: Howie, West, Chapman, Baines, Crane, Fisk, Sedgmore, Jack Defty, Nolan, Francis. Subs: Bloomfield, Frew, Melton, Charlie Defty, Murray.

t Brackley: Knight, Abbaffi, Murphy, Hadland, Brown, Oldfield, Harper, Savage, Spencer, Fisher, Anderson. Subs: Winters, Willshere, Patterson, Green, Longford.

t Referee: Mr R Beevor (Norwich).

t Att: 1.265

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