Linnets shaping up well
Paddy Davitt Rugby 1, King's Lynn 2: Lynn boss Carl Heggs insists his men are in perfect shape ahead of the Unibond Premier kick off after a gentle pre-season finale at Butlin Road.
Rugby 1 King's Lynn 2
Lynn boss Carl Heggs insists his men are in perfect shape ahead of the Unibond Premier kick off after a gentle pre-season finale at Butlin Road.
The Linnets dominated from start to finish against their Southern Premier hosts, with Gareth Sheldon's seventh goal of the close season and Callum Lloyd's mesmeric finish cancelling out Jason Ramsay's first-half leveller.
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Lynn failed to convert their territorial superiority into further goals before a quartet of substitutions just past the hour mark reduced the final 30 minutes to a glorified training session.
"I know I've stressed pre-season is not about results, but it was important we won here so we go into the league buzzing and with confidence," said Heggs.
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"We could have won the game by five and six. We had so many chances and I told the players about 60pc of the teams in our league will be the standard we have played in this one, but when it's 2-1 and you don't take your chances you are guaranteed a nervy 10, 15 minutes.
"I know managers who play poor sides in pre-season and win by five and six, but what are they ever going to learn? You must test yourself against good sides so you can see your weaknesses, and that is what we have done."
Ex-Chesterfield trialist Ben Algar played the opening 45 minutes and set up Sheldon's opener with a perfectly flighted corner.
Heggs is poised to take another look at the teenager but hinted that Phil Green is in line for the vacant wide left berth against Stocksbridge this week after an impressive second-half cameo.
"What unbelievable quality," said Heggs. "He picked out players with 35-yard passes three times and dropped it on a six pence, but he lacks fitness.
"That is why I'm drilling him into the ground. I've been embarrassing him in front of the lads, but this is a family club, we are all in it together, and if you let yourself down you let everyone else in the dressing room down. Once Phil is fit enough, that's it, I'm off his case and I'll pick on someone else.
"With Jordan's (Smith) suspension coming up after the first league game I'll probably look to bring Ben in but I'm also still waiting on a loan player or two.
"I can't take them now because we have to start paying for them, but I'll be doing my best to get someone in if possible. I've spoken to the manager of the club concerned and it's in his hands."
Algar replaced Green in the one change to Lynn's starting line-up from the bruising midweek friendly at Brackley.
Sheldon rose unchallenged at the near post to crash Algar's pinpoint corner home on 21 minutes but Ramsay pounced on Andy Boyce's indecision to tuck away at the second attempt after Jason White parried his snapshot.
Lloyd rifled Lynn back in front with a slaloming run into enemy territory past three retreating Rugby defenders before calmly slotting into the roof of Danny Bell's net.
Rugby's young stopper then foiled Owen Story twice from close range before the off-balance Matty Birley scuffed at Bell with Lynn in the ascendancy.
Heggs' removed star man Sheldon at the break for Anthony Robinson, who should have should have opened his account within 40 seconds of the restart only to miscue Lloyd's reverse pass.
Neil Melvin swerved around Liam Murray but struck the base of White's right-hand post on 54 minutes.
Matt Gearing's acrobatic bicycle kick sailed over Lynn substitute keeper Dan Whatsize's bar before Melvin's point blank far post header skimmed wide on 79 minutes.
Lynn youngster Darryl Rose tamely struck the side netting on 86 minutes with unmarked duo Robinson and Green both waiting for a cut back as Rugby appealed in vain for offside.
Rugby (starting XI): Bell, Nicell, Donaghy, Herbert, Gordon, Thompson, Twigger, Grainger, Toggo, Kelly, Ramsay. Goal: Ramsay (24).
King's Lynn: White (Whatsize 62), Magunda, Murray, Johnson (Webb 62), McAughtrie, Boyce (Martin 45), Story (Rose 62), Lloyd, Sheldon (Robinson 45), Birley (Smith 62), Algar (Green 45). Goals: Sheldon (21), Lloyd (28).