Linnets show fighting spirit to move top

Paddy Davitt Lynn won ugly against nine-man Clevedon to reclaim the Southern League, Premier Division top spot. But manager Keith Webb admitted Lynn squandered their numerical advantage.

Paddy Davitt

King's Lynn 2, Clevedon 0

Lynn won ugly against nine-man Clevedon to reclaim the Southern League, Premier Division top spot.

Keith Webb's men battled atrocious conditions and the after-effects of a gruelling midweek stoppage-time defeat at Mangotsfield to get their promotion push back on track.

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Danny Bloomfield hammered his 12th goal of the campaign minutes after Clevedon front man Christian Sylvester was sent off for a waist high lunge on Greg Lake.

Andrew Fisk notched in first half stoppage time but Clevedon defender Geraint Baker's second yellow card for dissent on the restart turned the contest into a non-event.

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The Seasiders' early ambition subsided into damage limitation with Lynn settling for prolonged periods of keep ball to finish their topsy turvy week on a high.

"If you'd offered me three points, two goals and a clean sheet I'd have snapped your hand off," said Webb. "After what happened at Mangotsfield we just had to get the job done. It was a good day's work. I'd love to play great football and open up teams but its not that sort of league. We had to grind it out.

"I didn't expect a pretty game. Sometimes scoring a second right on half time can be an excuse for taking your foot off the pedal. Clevedon knocked it about well without hurting us - but you wouldn't expect them to with nine men."

Webb admitted Lynn squandered their numerical advantage.

"We were disappointing second half," he said. "You see it at pro level when a team goes down to 10 it can become a mental issue. Players don't do the right things. When the second man went off we had even more time on the ball and at times we made the wrong decisions - but I'm not going to harp on about it.

"Bob Paisley said you don't judge players on how quickly they move the ball under pressure, but decisions they make with time on it, and we could have been better in those situations."

Left back Lake will undergo intensive treatment this week on the knee injured by Sylvester's crude lunge. Webb revealed first choice defender Ben Chapman will be fit for Lynn's FA Trophy trip to Cambridge United.

"Ben was close to playing but he hasn't done any training," said Webb. "I thought it was a naughty tackle and the lad could have no complaints. Greg's knee stiffened up but we'll just have to monitor it over the next few days. Steve Melton probably got a longer run out as a result because we had to change things around. I felt he did okay. I like Steve. He brings a quality and calmness to us that I want in my midfield players."

Melton was drafted into the squad for the first time since September following knee surgery. Danny Buhlemann started on the right of midfield with Michael Frew (thigh) absent.

Joe Francis dragged his first sighter wide from Bloomfield's brave knockdown. Mike Green headed at Scott Howie as Clevedon attempted to stroke the ball around on the slippery surface.

Buhlemann's intelligent reverse pass freed Francis but Danny Greaves reacted smartly with Bloomfield in close attendance.

Sylvester was dismissed just past the half hour mark after his late assault on Lake. Melton's introduction for Lynn's limping defender triggered a positional switch for Buhlemann. The re-deployed Buhlemann's driven pass to Jack Defty squirmed into Bloomfield's path for the predator supreme to lash first time past Greaves from ten yards.

Clevedon's keeper acrobatically tipped away Francis' goalbound strike as Lynn sensed blood in the closing stages. Fisk arrived on cue inside the six yard box to divert Defty's cut back in the last act of the half.

Bater earned his second caution for dissent on 52 minutes after berating referee George for failing to punish Mark Camm's sliding challenge.

Greaves pouched Bloomfield's looping header from Francis' deep cross before the flying wideman sidefooted wide after the overlapping Dean West had picked out the unmarked attacker.

Francis' inviting centre bisected Melton and second half arrival Matt Nolan in a low key end to the mismatch.

King's Lynn: Howie, West, Lake (Melton 34), Warren, Crane, Camm, Buhlemann, Fisk, Defty (Turner 66), Bloomfield (Nolan 71), Francis. Subs (not used): Murray, Mulryne.

Booking: Warren

Goals: Bloomfield (37), Fisk (45)

Clevedon: Greaves, Brigham (Cook 45), Haynes, Bater, Hendy (Symons 45), Trought, Page, Green, Prosser, Leek, Sylvester. Sub (not used): Scott.

Bookings: Bater, Haynes

Sent off: Sylvester, Bater

Referee: M George (Norfolk)

Attendance: 806

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