Linnets back on track
King's Lynn 2, Banbury 0: Jack Defty's brace put King's Lynn's Southern League, Premier Division promotion push back on track today with a confidence-boosting win against Banbury.
King's Lynn 2, Banbury 0
Jack Defty's brace put King's Lynn's Southern League, Premier Division promotion push back on track today with a confidence-boosting win against Banbury.
Defty struck in either half to halt Lynn's recent slide after defeats to champions-elect Salisbury and mid-table Merthyr.
Linnets' boss Tommy Taylor made two changes from last week's below-par defeat to the Welsh outfit.
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Keeper John Higgs returned for his first start since dislocating a shoulder against the Puritans on January 2 after Arron Benstead failed to shake off a lower back problem.
Skipper Sam McMahon was back of the heart of midfield at the expense of Stephen Harvey, but influential defender Grant Cooper was passed fit after a late fitness test on his troublesome hamstring.
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Wayne Blossom's early shot from the edge of box flew straight at Higgs. McMahon's cute pass freed Defty, but the big frontman's close range strike on the turn smacked Banbury captain Kieran Sullivan.
Alan Foster's point blank stop denied Defty on 19 minutes after the frontman had superbly cushioned McMahon's quickly taken free kick.
Defty exacted swift revenge from Adam Smith's corner - hooking an unstoppable overhead kick past Foster from inside the crowded six yard box.
Blossom was inches away from replying seconds later when Andrew Baird's angled cross flashed across Lynn's goalmouth.
Matt O'Halloran's first time hit whistled a yard wide after Matt Nolan's cute chest pass had teed up the blond wideman. Blossom's rising half volley failed to trouble Higgs on 25 minutes after Dean West's miscue, before strike partner Baird held off Mark Camm but his weak strike was gathered by Higgs.
McMahon's quality from set pieces was evident again in the closing stages of the half. West drilled his free kick over on 42 minutes then O'Halloran mis kicked from point blank range after Defty had re-directed the skipper's centre back across goal.
Nolan bamboozled two defenders straight after the restart to cut inside the box but his left foot volley flashed a yard over. The ever alert Blossom hooked wide after Cooper failed to clear then O'Halloran's weighted lob picked out Defty whose powerful header flew over Foster's bar.
Defty turned provider for the roving wide man on the hour mark after a patient bout of home passing - O'Halloran's fizzing right footer just off target.
Nolan's deft touch from West's flighted crossfield ball teed up Defty who drilled wide. The former Cambridge United man then conjured the pass of the match to set O'Halloran racing clear before slipping in the overlapping Smith whose driven cross was diverted behind.
Cooper was eventually forced off with his hamstring problem on 69 minutes to be replaced by Danny Hammond.
Kinch's flying goal-line header foiled West from Cedric Anselin's left wing corner as Lynn continued to camp inside the visitors half.
Nolan checked back inside Sullivan but fired straight at Foster before Banbury's stubborn resistance was finally broken.
Defty rose unmarked on 76 minutes to plant a bullet header past Foster from Anselin's left wing corner.
Matty Gooderick's overhead kick flew well over as the visitors looked for an instant riposte. George Redknapp's left foot strike had Higgs back pedalling in the final minute but it was Lynn who went closest again - the energetic Smith firing narrowly wide.
t King's Lynn: Higgs, West, Smith, McMahon, Cooper (Hammond 69), Camm, Defty (Charles 81), Anselin, Nolan (Hyde 85), Carey, O'Halloran. Subs (not used): Peters, Harvey.
t Banbury: Foster, Pond, Kinch, Sullivan, Saulsbury, Fuller, Stanbridge (Bridges 74), Lamb, Blossom (Redknap 63), Baird (Gooderick 45), Lazarus. Subs (not used): Tricker.
t Referee: P McCaul (Hunts)
t Attendance: 841