Linnets' boss calls display 'a disgrace'

Paddy Davitt King's Lynn1, Stocksbridge 3: King's Lynn boss Carl Heggs admitted the buck stops with him after a shambolic opening-day Unibond Premier Division defeat to newly-promoted Stocksbridge Park Steels.

Paddy Davitt

King's Lynn boss Carl Heggs admitted the buck stops with him after a shambolic opening-day Unibond Premier Division defeat to newly-promoted Stocksbridge Park Steels.

Heggs' remodelled squad emerged in front of a bumper 1,047 home crowd basking in bright sunshine buoyed by a wave of optimism fuelled by an encouraging pre-season and the infectious self-confidence of Lynn's straight-talking boss.

Fast forward 90 minutes and the only positive left was the sun in the sky. Sections of the home support had started to drift away long before the final whistle. The wave of optimism had crashed against the rocks of reality, and even Heggs' usually brash persona was unable to soften the blow of watching his side self-destruct.

Lynn frontman Gareth Sheldon opened his league account for the club with just four minutes gone - a trademark poacher's finish inside the six-yard box.

Brian Cusworth struck back late in the half before Andy Ring and Richard Stirrup latched onto hopeful punts forward after the break to burst clear and slot past Jason White having bamboozling Lynn's static central defensive duo.

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“I feel like I have let everybody down,” said Heggs. “Unfortunately I can't go on the pitch and change it. My team is as fit as they will ever be, as organised as they will be, has good players in it and we've had a decent pre-season. You saw none of that. What's shocking is not one player showed anything.

“They've made me look rubbish and I'm embarrassed to be the manager of King's Lynn. The thing with football is you always get an opportunity and ours comes around on Tuesday in the form and shape of Matlock. We have to make sure we have a reaction.”

Heggs labelled Lynn's surrender his lowest moment since moving into coaching.

“The worst ever,” he said. “In the two years or 18 months I was at Redditch we gave our all. We might have lost two or three nil to good sides because they pay more money, but that is the worst display I have ever seen since coming into coaching and I didn't expect it - I really didn't.

“We just fell away and crumbled to a side who, no disrespect to them, were absolutely shocking, but it just shows how bad we were. The players should have a long look at themselves.

“We were flat and that was unacceptable. There was no urgency, no one tried to get us going and we were so predictable. It was just a disgrace.”

Heggs was in no mood to spare any of his under-performing squad.

“Owen (Story) who has been electrifying in pre-season was awful,” he said. “The back four, shocking, absolutely all over the place - and that kills me. I pieced together a side that I thought can do the business over the course of this season. Well, on that performance we are going to struggle.

“We've got lads who have won the Conference North, the keeper has played 70-odd Football League games, but too many were all over the shop. Joe Magunda was at fault for the first goal. He tries to go through three players, lost the ball and vacated his area in the process, allowing their lad to run through into the box and cross for his mate to toe-poke home.

“Then how you get can beat by one ball over the top like we did for the second and third goals is just unbelievable. To be fair, the lads are devastated but they have to stomach that and come back.”

Heggs must now lift his dejected troops for the trip to Matlock tomorrow - the Derbyshire side also aiming to recover from a 2-0 opening day defeat at Guiseley.

“I want to see what they've got now,” said Heggs. “Yeah, we may have lost the first but we can hit back and go on a run. I can't tell you how deflated I am but it's my job to pick them back up and make sure I get a response and take it from there.”

t Lynn: White, Magunda, Murray (Martin 82), Johnson (Smith 58), McAughtrie, Boyce, Story, Lloyd, Sheldon, Birley, Beswick (Green 58). Subs (not used): Webb, Whatsize. Goal: Sheldon (4)

t Stocksbridge: Scott, Green, Schofield, Dawson, Lovell, Hawes, Ring (Stirrup 75), Telling, Cusworth (Riley 48), Ward, Vardy. Subs (not used): Wilkinson, Cockerill, Hewitt. Goals: Cusworth (39), Ring (54), Vardy (81)

t Referee: I Dudley. Att: 1,047