Frew, what a relief as Linnets win at last
Paddy Davitt King's Lynn 1, Fleetwood 0: Linnets' chief Keith Webb perfectly summed up the overriding emotions swirling around The Walks after this historic Blue Square North win.
King's Lynn 1, Fleetwood 0
Linnets' chief Keith Webb perfectly summed up the overriding emotions swirling around The Walks after this historic Blue Square North win.
“I feel like I've been ten rounds with Amir Khan,” said Webb, after the club's maiden Conference victory.
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Given the shock events at Manchester's MEN Arena hours later Amir Khan probably felt like he had been ten rounds with Amir Khan.
Lynn's unbeaten record remains intact. Unlike the Bolton boxer. Michael Frew's flashing half volley sealed a deserved win. Three points. A tick in the W column.
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That it took eight attempts mattered little as the final whistle pricked the growing tension building from the moment Frew hammered Lynn ahead.
The anxiety was not sparked by Fleetwood endeavour. The Lancastrians might just take fourth from bottom now in their debut campaign on this evidence.
Lynn retain loftier ambitions. But a Conference record-equalling seven successive draws had started to chip away at post-Southern League title euphoria fuelled by the headline arrival of one-time Premiership striker Julian Joachim.
The ex-Coventry and Aston Villa man has struggled to adapt in less rarefied surroundings. Forced into a watching brief in recent weeks, he was restored to the line up alongside captain for the day Jack Defty - and the duo proved a constant menace in a rampant first half.
Joachim knew he should have buried a 35th minute one-on-one with Fleetwood stopper Danny Hurst after latching onto Defty's flick.
No matter. Not in the final analysis. But Lynn's frontline might just have enough firepower to turn draws into wins when you throw Danny Bloomfield's predatory instincts into the combustible attacking mix.
“It should have been all over and done with by half time,” said Webb. “What can you say as a manager to them? Other than be more ruthless. Hopefully the first three points will give the boys confidence to push on.
“Above all it should give them the belief. I said to them at full time, 'you've done it now, you've proved it, so carry it on.' You couldn't fault the boys again but you could sense the nervousness. Just one slip and anything can happen. It was in the crowd as well and it becomes a bit self perpetuating.”
Lynn appear to be learning. Against Droylsden they imploded late on with that elusive win in sight after losing head injury duo Defty and Simon Weaver.
Here the indestructible Ben Chapman retired with a damaged shoulder. Replacement Mark Camm was substituted late on suffering from a dead leg. With Greg Crane sat in the stand suspended Lynn's regular back line was shorn of two key components inside the opening 15 minutes.
Step forward Adam Smith. Re-deployed from central midfield to fill Chapman's left-back slot, the former Norwich youth product turned in the type of display that earned him a Peterborough move in his previous Lynn spell.
“Adam was absolutely magnificent - no question,” said Webb. “He has attributes Chappers hasn't got and vice versa. I thought Scott Mitchell was very encouraging, Julian showed what a handful he can be - although you can see he needs a goal with his couple of chances. And big Jack caused them a lot of problems.”
Too many for the officials. Weaver's point blank header four minutes into the game was ruled out after Hurst tangled with Defty at the near post.
“I still don't know why it was disallowed,” said Webb. “Jack is such a huge presence he gets penalised when it's people clambering all over him. I don't think it was a foul.
“I could say one or two things about the officials but I'm not going to. The most important thing is we got that goal and went about it in the right fashion. Apart from one lapse in concentration I don't think they were in the game.”
Mark Peers rattled Scott Howie's crossbar on 42 minutes - Lynn's closest shave. It should have been mere consolation, such was the ease Lynn sliced through the outpaced Fleetwood rearguard.
Hurst acrobatically clawed away Defty's goalbound half volley just after Frew rifled home from close range. Joachim prodded Joe Francis' cross wide then galloped through a deserted Fleetwood half only to miscue with Hurst advancing.
Frew contrived to chip into the keeper's arms after Joachim sprung a rapid counter before the striker's angled shot dribbled wide as Lynn indulged in target practice.
Kieran Walmsley's speculative long range sighter on the hour mark encapsulated Fleetwood's growing desperation. The alert Weaver kicked clear inside his own six-yard box. A momentary alarm. In truth Lynn and the redundant Howie free wheeled to the finish line.
King's Lynn: Howie, C Defty, Chapman (Camm 15, Sedgemore 72), Weaver, Peters, Mitchell, Frew, Smith, J Defty, Joachim (Bloomfield 62), Francis. Subs (not used): Turner, Murray. Goal: Frew (18)
Fleetwood: Hurst, Walmsley, Hills, Doughty, Kilbane, Pond (Bell 51), Peers (Potts 63), Milligan, Warlow (Denney 79), Beattie, Thompson. Subs (not used): Bayliss, Dunn. Bookings: Hills, Walmsley
Referee: M Bampton (Suffolk)