Linnets glad to see Francis return

Paddy Davitt Lynn edged a step closer the Southern League, Premier Division summit after a nerve-jangler at The Walks.

Paddy Davitt

King's Lynn 2, Brackley 1

Lynn edged a step closer the Southern League, Premier Division summit after a nerve-jangler at The Walks.

Fit again top scorer Joe Francis netted twice to put the title favourites in total command before the break.

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Tom Winters' speculative long range free-kick fooled Scott Howie to ratchet up the tension on and off the pitch but Lynn held firm.

Keith Webb's men moved within a point of new leaders Team Bath after the Students hit back from two down to defeat play off chasing Gloucester

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4-2 at Twerton Park.

Lynn need a point at home to Bashley tomorrow to go top with just two league games left.

"We've still got it all to do but I'd rather be in our position," said Webb. "It's about getting over the line any way you can. We hung in and it's three valuable points. The players got nervous and so did the crowd, which is understandable. Bigger and better clubs have done that. At this time of the season with what's at stake we will take it.

"I said at half-time there was only one team good enough to beat us and it was sat in our dressing room. I don't know if we thought the job was done at 2-0. If we score again then the game is dead and buried. After the break we huffed and puffed without really creating what we did in the first half. I don't think we worked their keeper once."

Webb admitted Brackley were gifted a lifeline.

"I'm a little bit disappointed with how we gave away the free-kick," he said. "Andrew Fisk, in his own enthusiasm, ended up giving away a sloppy one. It takes a deflection and then out of nothing they are back in the game. We were quite forceful with the boys at half-time. It wasn't pats on the back. I wanted us to start again,

0-0. Maybe we've got to look at what we do during half-time because I just felt it seemed to drag on a bit. I'll have to look at how we approach that.

"First half we were patient, kept our shape and Jack (Defty) and Matty (Nolan) caused their back four no end of problems. I couldn't see any way that they had the necessary quality on the park to hurt us."

The suspended Howie and Francis returned to the starting line-up after missing the previous week's goal-less Team Bath draw. Fisk got the nod with Mark Camm rested after being knocked unconscious against the Students.

Both teams paused for a minute's silence prior to kick-off in memory of former Lynn player Ray Dixon, who died last week.

Nolan skied over inside the Saints' penalty box after swivelling on to John Turner's precise cut back.

Howie foiled Chris Harper from point blank range before Danny Spencer blazed wide five yards out after Lynn failed to clear Brackley player/boss and ex-Leicester midfielder David Oldfield's corner.

Francis' pinpoint free-kick smacked the angle of Richard Knight's goal after the wideman was upended.

The unmarked Jerome Anderson planted a header over Howie's bar from six yards.

Francis re-adjusted his sights to nudge Lynn in front - unleashing a skimming 20-yard free-kick that struck the base of Knight's left-hand upright to roll in.

The deadly winger notched his 22nd goal of the season with a looping far post header from Nolan's hanging cross with Knight rooted to his line.

Turner's sublime spin evaded Phil Murphy but Spencer hacked behind as Lynn indulged in some party tricks - Defty's overhead kick flying off target from the corner.

Nolan's Cruyff-turn hoodwinked Guy Hadland and Martin Brown but his left footer rolled a yard wide.

Ben Sedgemore's rasping half-volley flew off target on the restart in the pouring rain.

Winters' stunned the hosts when his 25-yard free-kick skidded past the redundant Howie, waiting on bended knee to clutch the deflected strike.

Howie went full length to grab the influential Spencer's header before Rikki Bains bravely threw himself in front of David Savage's shot.

Brackley's hopes of a grandstand finish stalled when Murphy was dismissed for a second booking after wiping out Michael Frew.

Brown's flick inside the six yard box flew wide deep in stoppage time to the relief of the whistling home crowd.

King's Lynn: Howie, West, Bains, Crane, Chapman, Turner (Frew 64), Fisk, Sedgemore, Francis (Melton 78), J Defty, Nolan. Subs (not used): Bloomfield, C Defty, Murray.

Booking: Chapman

Goals: Francis (27, 32)

Brackley: Knight, Abbassi, Murphy, Hadland, Brown, Oldfield (Patterson 90), Harper, Savage, Spencer, Fisher (Winters 54), Anderson. Subs (not used): Willshere, Green, Longford.

Booking: Murphy

Sending off: Murphy

Goal: Winters (66)

Referee: R Beevor (Norfolk)

Attendance: 1,265

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