King’s Lynn Town 2 Hitchin Town 0 – Linnets battle to victory as Grant Holt and Simon Lappin make late cameos
- Credit: Archant
The debuts of Norwich City favourites Grant Holt and Simon Lappin provided an enjoyable edge to a hard fought victory as King’s Lynn got back to winning ways in the Southern Premier Division.
Goals from forwards Craig Parker and Michael Gash in the second half were enough for the win against a visiting side reduced to 10 men just before half-time.
It saw Ian Culverhouse’s team bounce back from their 3-1 loss at Weymouth at the weekend to stay fourth in the table – in front of the biggest home crowd of the season of just over 1,000.
The hosts were struggling to make their 3-5-2 formation work early on, although Tom Ward saw an early header bravely blocked and Cameron Norman forced a low save in the ninth minute.
It was Lynn keeper Alex Street who then came to the fore, saving at the feet of Jonny McNamara as the winger was played clean into his box in the 15th minute, and held an awkward shot from Lucas Kirkpatrick less than a minute later.
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The best chance of the half came for the hosts in the 26th minute when Frazer Blake-Tracy did well to win back possession on the left, allowing Ryan Hawkins to cross but Gash could only turn the ball into the keeper’s arms on the stretch from six yards.
The game took on a fresh complexion just before the break though when the visitors were reduced to 10 men.
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Ryan Jarvis had clumsily brought down McNamara to the right of the Lynn box but Street comfortably held Ben Walster’s free-kick at his near post. The keeper then rushed out to kick clear but was challenged clumsily by Hitchin defender Lewis Rolfe, sparking a bout of pushing and shoving.
Rolfe was sent off for the challenge and Linnets defender Ryan Fryatt was also shown a yellow card for his reaction in the aftermath, as the half finished 0-0.
The home side took control of the game 10 minutes into the second half though, with Parker breaking the deadlock. There was a hint of handball as he controlled a headed flick-on from strike partner Gash but the forward calmly slotted across the keeper and into an empty net.
It was nearly 2-0 five minutes later, Gash rounding the keeper and teeing up skipper Michael Clunan in the box, whose shot from 12 yards was saved well by the feet of keeper Michael Johnson on his line.
The moment the big crowd had been waiting for came in the 72nd minute, Holt replacing Ryan Hawkins to huge cheers from the home crowd and soon started making his presence felt.
Lynn’s lead was doubled two minutes later but the former Norwich hero wasn’t involved, Parker returning the favour by teeing up Gash with a nice low cross from the right, who calmly fired into an unguarded net from 10 yards.
Lappin replaced Parker in the 81st minute and curled a late free-kick just over the bar, with Holt making a nuisance of himself and nearly getting on the end of a Norman cross from the right in the 85th minute but having little chance to make a real impact.
The Linnets are in home action in the league again on Saturday, when they host lowly Kings Langley in a 3pm kick-off.
King’s Lynn (3-5-2): Street; Gaughran, Fryatt, Ward; Norman, Jarvis, Clunan (C), Hawkins (Holt 72), Blake-Tracy; Parker (Lappin 81); Gash (Siddons 86). Unused sub: McQuaid
Booked: Fryatt (angry reaction, 45+1), Gaughran (foul on Vincent, 50)
Goals: Parker (56), Gash (75)
Hitchin (4-2-3-1): Johnson; Cotter, Rolfe, Dowie, Walster; Bickerstaff (C), Smith; Kirkpatrick, Bailey (Charles 70), McNamara (Green 63), Vincent (Donnelly 70). Unused subs: Tshikala, Bennett
Booked: Walster (foul on Gash, 61), Donnelly (foul on Holt, 81)
Sent off: Rolfe (foul on Street, 45+1)
Referee: Mr C Reeson