Linnets draw a blank
King's Lynn 0, Hucknall 0: Lynn's young guns lit up a drab Blue Square North affair at The Walks. Keith Webb's men rarely looked capable of breaking down the bottom side until a lively late cameo from teenage hitman Dominic Dwyer.
King's Lynn 0, Hucknall 0
Lynn's young guns lit up a drab Blue Square North affair at The Walks.
Keith Webb's men rarely looked capable of breaking down the bottom side until a lively late cameo from teenage hitman Dominic Dwyer.
The pacy striker - plucked from the second's string Norfolk Senior Cup final team along with midfielder Ross Kelly - injected a much-needed spark into a lifeless encounter.
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Dwyer clearly does not lack for confidence. The 17 goal reserve frontman entered the fray for only his second senior outing in eye-catching 'Ronaldo-style' lime green boots.
But the youngster's arrival triggered Lynn's best spell of concerted pressure in a contest the term 'end-of-season affair' was invented for.
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“He did okay for 20 minutes but let's not go overboard about a young player right now,” said Webb. “He is playing with a youthful exuberance which you expect from lads when they first come into the team. You can see he is hungry and he hasn't done himself any harm at all. He has all the attributes - pace, good touch - but he just needs to learn the game a bit more. That will come. Ross is another who came on a bit later and didn't look out of place.
“They were the positives for me. You know youngsters will offer plenty of enthusiasm and drive. But equally sometimes they will make mistakes or do things you least expect - everyone has to understand that and take it on board.”
Dwyer could be set for an extended first team run with Webb unable to put a timeline on Julian Joachim's injury return. The former Coventry striker missed his second consecutive game with a groin problem.
“Julian wasn't close for this one and I don't know how close he is to coming back to be honest,” said Webb. “We'll just have to wait and see and be guided by the physio. With a few injuries and suspensions you can see how that leaves us because we just had kids to bring on. They did well here and certainly Dominic is one I think will be in and around the first team squad more often than not for the rest of the season.”
Webb restored senior keeper Scott Howie to his starting line up after Rob Murray had deputised for the previous seven matches. Howie denied Hucknall a first away win since November with a smart stop to claw out Laurie Wilson's goal bound shot.
“I just felt it was time to bring Scott back in,” said Webb. “Rob has done well but to me he looked a bit edgy in midweek against Harrogate. Scott brings us that experience and composure. His kicking was also good and he made a great save late on in the second half. They had a lively front two who had been around so they we're always a threat.”
Webb offered no excuses for Lynn's limp display.
“It did have a bit of an end-of-season feel to it and that is a worry,” he said. “It wasn't a nice game to watch or be involved in. The pitch was difficult and we didn't have enough quality to get it down and play but I'm not going to criticise the players.
“They have put another shift in and you can't fault the effort. In the course of season you get games like that. Maybe there was some tiredness from the midweek game but I won't have a go at them because they are performing under trying circumstances. We've kept a clean sheet, which was important after what happened against Harrogate, and picked up a point.”
Joe Francis offered Lynn's best creative outlet - forcing Hucknall stopper James Lindley to parry his 30-yard free kick before the interval then ghosting past three Town midfielders only to roll his right footer a yard wide.
Luke Graham's last ditch tackle denied Hucknall a half time lead when Rueben Wiggins-Thoms appeared odds on to score after Howie blocked Danny Bacon's initial strike.
Cashel Walters denied Francis inside the same goalmouth in the second period. Howie tipped over Wilson's curler before the razor-sharp Dwyer moved centre stage.
The youngster robbed Gary Sucharewycz to tee up Jack Defty who blazed wide on the bobbly surface. Dwyer then cut inside Yellows' left back Kevin Spriggs but Lindley grasped his rising shot.
King's Lynn: Howie, Graham, Smith, Peters, Thomas, Camm (Kelly 83), Frew (Dwyer 76), Johnson, J Defty, Francis, Mitchell (Fisk 67). Subs (not used): C Defty, Murray. Bookings: Graham, Peters
Hucknall: Lindley, Walters, Spriggs, Meikle, Timons, Sucharewycz, Wilson, Wiggins-Thoms (Baxter 76), Ricketts, Bacon, Liburd. Subs (not used): Ward, Mitchell, O'Brien, Kettle. Bookings: Spriggs, Wilson
Referee: M Griffiths (Yorks)