Linnets' boss wants stamp of authority
King's Lynn boss Keith Webb slammed his below-par players after they toiled for an hour against 10-man Stalybridge at Bower Fold. Linnets' stopper Scott Howie preserved Lynn's unbeaten Blue Square North league start with a string of fine second-half saves to secure a club record sixth consecutive draw.
King's Lynn boss Keith Webb slammed his below-par players after they toiled for an hour against 10-man Stalybridge at Bower Fold.
Linnets' stopper Scott Howie preserved Lynn's unbeaten Blue Square North league start with a string of fine second-half saves to secure a club record sixth consecutive draw.
Jack Defty's third goal in his last four outings cancelled out Chris Williams' opener on 33 minutes before Celtic team mate Terry Barwick was dismissed for a wild elbow that felled David Bridgwater.
Lynn old boy Adam Smith and returning midfielder John Turner were introduced after the interval alongside goal poacher Danny Bloomfield as Webb looked to press home the visitors' numerical advantage.
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Joe Francis clipped the woodwork late on after Barrie Keeling's last-ditch tackle had earlier foiled Defty from an acute angle, but Lynn needed Howie's heroics to keep the rampant hosts at bay.
A furious Webb pulled no punches at full time. “There had to be some frank talking because I would go as far as to say that was the worst 45 minutes in my time as King's Lynn manager,” he said.
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“I have players here with experience of the higher levels of the game and they are not showing me that. This match has to be a kick up the backside for us. Against 10 men you must keep the ball, make them work and bring them out of their shape. If you don't do that and they end up with the ball it doesn't matter if the opposition have nine or 11 on the pitch. It was end-to-end stuff. They had chances, we had chances.”
Webb warned his under performing squad it is time to produce. “They've come into the dressing room afterwards and rightly they are disappointed,” he said. “But if I think they are starting to lose belief then I will take action. I still feel they have the quality. They have to start showing me that. It's up to the lads. It's not about tactics - that's a load of rubbish - its about players taking responsibility and being braver on the ball.
“This situation is similar to the early part of last season. We weren't playing well but winning games. Now we aren't playing well, but instead of winning we are drawing. It's time we started to stamp our authority on games.”
Big summer signing Julian Joachim was left out of the starting line up for the second consecutive game. Bloomfield was also kept in reserve with Ben Sedgemore restored to bolster Lynn's midfield.
Defender Simon Weaver slotted in at right back for Charlie Defty after his recent double head injury in the only other change from Lynn's Bank Holiday home draw against Hinckley.
Michael Frew tested Celtic keeper Paul Phillips in a bright start for the visitors. Howie parried Lee Ellington's strike before clawing away Keith Briggs' follow-up header.
Sedgemore's volley sailed wide then Howie acrobatically denied Stalybridge with another smart double stop - diving full length to keep out Ellington's right footer then smothering Steve Torpey's mishit.
Williams' raced onto Nathan Joynes' inch-perfect through ball to fire past Howie just past the half-hour mark.
Howie beat away Joynes' long-range hit before Barwick was dismissed in the closing stages of the opening period after reacting angrily to Bridgwater's challenge on halfway.
Smith replaced Sedgemore on 50 minutes following his recent move from League One Peterborough.
Keeling's smart block denied Defty when the big striker looked odds on to put Lynn level after rounding the grounded Phillips.
Defty made no mistake with a towering far-post header minutes later to divert Francis' teasing cross.
Second-half arrival Bloomfield tested Phillips but the alert Howie was pressed into action again to parry Joynes' first-time shot.
Francis galloped clear on 80 minutes to latch onto Frew's pass but his curling effort clipped Phillips' post.
Howie saved his best until last with an acrobatic flying tip-over to keep out Torpey before Matty Barlow climbed above Lynn's tiring centre back duo but planted his header wide.
t Stalybridge: Phillips, Woolliscroft, Meynell, Keeling, Barwick, Sykes, Torpey (Smart 86), Briggs, Ellington (Platt 39), Joynes (Barlow 71), Williams. Subs not used: Wilkinson, Wood. Sending off: Barwick. Goal: Williams (33)
t King's Lynn: Howie, Weaver, Chapman, Peters, Crane, Camm, Frew, Sedgemore (Smith 50), Defty (Turner 65), Bridgwater (Bloomfield 54), Francis. Subs not used: Murray, Joachim. Booking: Sedgemore. Goal: Defty (59).
t Referee: P Davies (Lymm).
t Attendance: 489.