King's Lynn 2, Stafford Rangers2
Paddy Davitt Cruel - but no complaints from Linnets' boss Keith Webb. Lynn's second half shock troops had pulverised the visitors after Jimmy Phillips' curled Rangers into an early lead.
King's Lynn 2, Stafford 2
Cruel - but no complaints from Linnets' boss Keith Webb.
Lynn's second half shock troops had pulverised the visitors after Jimmy Phillips' curled Rangers into an early lead.
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Simon Weaver scrambled home Jack Defty's towering header to herald the onslaught. Michael Frew headed his fourth in four games to breach a stubborn Black Country outfit that had kicked not one but two efforts off their goal line during the suffocating siege.
Lynn appeared to be inching towards a league and cup double after dumping Steve Bull's men out of the FA Trophy the previous week. Rangers' wily substitute David McNiven had other ideas - bursting into enemy territory before cutting across Ben Chapman and tumbling inside the Linnets' penalty box.
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The referee looked to his near side assistant. Near side assistant thrust flag across chest. Referee pointed to the spot. McNiven did the rest to rifle past Scott Howie.
"That lad has been around a bit," said Webb. "He's a good player, a clever player. You could see what was going to happen as soon as he started running. The fear was in my mind with Chappers chasing him. He was just clever enough to cut in front. I've got no complaints. It's frustrating but that is football."
Webb preferred to dwell on the positives after another full value encounter.
"We needed the third to kill them off but it was an entertaining game of football," he said. "Early doors, we knew it would be tight because they had changed the way they played from the previous week. They scored a decent goal and goals change games. You could see the tails were up, which you expect, and we started to chase it. But in the second half I thought there was only one side in it.
"We've taken the game to them and played some great football and the supporters will have gone home knowing they got their money's worth. We've told the players, 'that's the level we want,' although it's impossible to maintain it for 90 minutes. No team could keep up that tempo.
"If they can do it for as long as possible in games I will have no qualms with them. It's important we don't get too frustrated or let our heads drop. There aren't any easy games in this league but if they give us that again you can't ask for more."
Webb's half-time hunch paid instant dividends after new arrival Defty towered above Stafford skipper Wayne Daniel to tee up Weaver.
"We needed to do something," said Webb. "It was a case of how long should I wait, whether I gave it 10 minutes or changed things there and then. I thought I'd give it a go and it worked straight away. Jack's presence on the pitch makes a huge difference.
"Joe (Francis) looked lively as well when he went on. I've had a chat again with him about the final ball hitting the first defender. But for that, he wouldn't be at this level. It was my only criticism. When he is like that and going at people he is hard to play against. You saw what happened when he did pick someone out."
Bradley Thomas' troublesome Achilles injury almost slipped under the radar during a thrilling second half salvo. Webb confirmed the Crawley defender limped off at half-time with a re-occurrence of the problem that has so far blighted his Linnets' loan spell. The imposing centre half will now undergo intensive treatment ahead of a Blue Square North long haul to Workington.
Webb is keen to pencil Thomas into longer term battle plans - but the Lynn boss issued a fresh reality check over his current recruitment drive.
"At this minute in time he is here until Christmas," said Webb. "We are looking with a view to keeping him for the rest of the season. That is out of my hands. I'd like to. I want to because he is a real athlete. It's well documented we are looking for new players. Those worth having will cost the earth and people can't expect us to pull them out of the hat.
"Speak to anyone in the Conference National and the minimum you are talking is £750 a week, plus those lads are full time. Why do they want to leave that behind - unless you pay silly money? The onus is on me to go and get players but it's not a case of bringing in just anyone. It's about doing it without putting the club at risk.
"What I do know is you have seen a team out there against Stafford who, playing like that, would be a match for any team in our league."