Linnets lift the gloom as boss bids farewell
Mark Hearle Vauxhall Motors 1, King's Lynn 3: Twelve months is a long time in football and never has that fact been more clearly illustrated than by the fortunes of King's Lynn Football Club.
Vauxhall Motors 1, King's Lynn 3
Twelve months is a long time in football and never has that fact been more clearly illustrated than by the fortunes of King's Lynn Football Club.
Last April, 600 or so supporters were enjoying champagne-drenched celebrations in Wales as promotion was gained to Conference level football for the first time in the club's history.
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At the centre and clearly enjoying these festivities was manager Keith Webb who was taking the deserved thanks his achievements deserved.
It was a very different situation on Saturday for Webb, who made his way past the handful of assembled loyal Linnets supporters to the awaiting press to announce his and assistant Lee Glover's decision to stand down from their positions with immediate effect.
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Casting all that aside, it was a remarkable feat that the Linnets went out and put on a performance that restored a little pride to the players and possibly lifted some of the gloom from the supporters.
The team didn't arrive at the Motorassist Stadium until less than an hour before kick-off due to an accident on the nearby motorway.
Webb made three changes to the side that had been comprehensively swept aside by Workington the previous week.
Skipper Andy Johnson failed to recover from a groin injury which meant that Scott Mitchell took a central role in midfield.
Bradley Thomas returned to the centre of defence and Andrew Fisk was preferred ahead of Charlie Defty who had to settle for a bench place.
Ross Kelly also found a bench space having recovered from a foot injury.
With the match barely two minutes old, it was Lynn who took the lead following the first meaningful action of the afternoon.
Mitchell located Adam Smith in the box and he controlled neatly before easily beating James Coates from six yards.
Home skipper Mattie Burke cleared Scott Howie's bar from fully 25 yards but it was the Vauxhall who was much the busier, firstly punching Smith's cross to safety with Jack Defty lurking and then pushing the same player's angled drive away for a corner as the visitors continued to control proceedings.
Luke Graham linked well with Julian Joachim, whose pace took him away from Alan Griffiths but he saw his shot blocked by Tom Hannigan.
Vauxhall won themselves a corner and completely against the run of play Lee Furlong sent an unstoppable header beyond Howie as Lynn conceded yet again this season from a set-piece.
Parity though was brief as the Linnets deservedly restored their lead prior to the break. Defty won his side a corner as his shot was blocked and it was he who stooped low to knock the ball past Coates following Smith's delivery.
Lynn introduced Dominic Dwyer at the interval and the youngster quickly found himself in referee Keith Hayward's notebook following a late tackle on Lee Dames.
Mitchell had a long ranger safely gathered by Coates and Dwyer cut inside his man cleverly before unleashing a shot which was blocked by Hannigan.
Furlong saw his goalbound effort blocked by Howie but it was Lynn who were asking all the questions and it was they who assured themselves victory with a third goal.
The busy Dwyer played in fellow substitute Kelly who made no mistake from 12 yards.
Thomas could have added to the Linnets' total but his header was cleared from the line by an overworked Hannigan late on.
So the Linnets signed off with a victory in what could have been their final Conference fixture.
Where they will play and who will be their manager next season are all questions that will have to be answered by the club in what looks to be an intriguing summer ahead.
Vauxhall Motors: Coates, Noone (Egerton 28), Dames, Hannigan, Griffiths, Holmes, Holden, Burke, Noon, Field (Macauley 41), Furlong. No unused subs.
Bookings: Field and Burke.
King's Lynn: Howie, Graham, Smith, Peters, Thomas, Camm, Fisk, Mitchell (Kelly 59), Jack Defty (Renton 55), Joachim (Dwyer 45). Unused subs: Charlie Defty, Murray.
Bookings: Fisk and Dwyer.
Referee: Keith Haywood (Stoke-on-Trent).