Linnets stun title rivals
Rob Garratt Team Bath 0, King's Lynn 4: Kings Lynn moved to within one point of the top of the Southern League with a crushing 4-0 win over leaders Team Bath at Twerton Park.
Team Bath 0, King's Lynn 4
Kings Lynn moved to within one point of the top of the Southern League with a crushing 4-0 win over leaders Team Bath at Twerton Park last night.
A first half goal from John Turner and three in the second from Jack Defty and Joe Francis (two) - after the students had full-back Matt Lock sent off in the 63rd minute - gave Keith Webb's men three priceless points to take back to The Walks.
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It also radically changed the two rivals' goal difference, with Lynn now having an advantage of seven - having trailed by one before the game.
With Team Bath still having to visit The Walks that could prove crucial as the season moves towards a potentially nail-biting finale.
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Webb takes much of the credit, having got his tactics spot on. Having witnessed Bath's defeat at Gloucester last week he switched to five men across the middle and, in the process, completely stifled their 28-goal league leading scorer Sean Canham.
The Linnets made their intentions clear in this must-win match from the start when Ben Chapman hit a good long ball towards Turner - only for Team Bath keeper Jake Meredith to collect nervily on the edge of his area, setting the tone for his evening.
Ben Sedgemore had a half chance five minutes later shooting first time having charged down a Gary Warren clearance.
But real chances were at a premium as the two sides scrapped in a busy midfield, and it looked like a mistake was going to be needed to break the deadlock.
Eventually the slip-up came on 20 minutes. Defty burst into the box through a crowd of players and stabbed a shot at Meredith who spilled.
Sami El-Abd took the ball from his keeper's hands and ran straight into Turner, who drilled into the empty net for his eighth goal of the season.
The Students certainly didn't look like the league leaders in an error-strewn first half, but had obviously had a rocket from boss Ged Roddy at half time and came out for the second half with a much higher tempo.
They forced a series of corners immediately after the interval but they all came to nought in the face of a bend-not-break Linnets defence.
Perhaps the frustration got to Lock, who over-aggressively threw himself two footed over the ball at Sedgemore and deservedly saw red.
The dismissal broke the pressure on the Linnets and they piled forward to take advantage of their demoralised hosts.
On 74 minutes Turner broke on the right and fed a slide-rule ball through to Mark Camm who drew Meredith and laid to Defty to hammer home from six yards.
Francis sealed the points with two goals in the last five minutes.
Warren and El-Abd collided under pressure from Defty, and as Defty surged into the box Warren pulled him down.
Referee Chris Powell originally awarded a free kick but after consulting with his assistant pointed to the spot from where Francis scored.
The scoring was wrapped up in the final minute as Francis ran through from half way breaking three half hearted challenges before coolly placing the ball in the far corner of the net.
The result gives a massive confidence boost for Keith Webb's side for the remaining 12 games of the season as they seek to avoid the perils of the play-offs and go up as champions.
On the evidence from Twerton Park they have every chance of doing so.
Team Bath: Meredith; Lock, Lamb, Abbott, Warren, El-Abd, Dillon (Adams 79), M Canham (Smith 59), Ake, S Canham, Thompson (Perrott 67). Subs: Adams, Arnold, Perrott, Smith, Cooper. Bookings: Meredith, Abbott. Sending off: Lock.
King's Lynn: Howie; Bains, Chapman, Hoyte, Crane, Camm, Turner (Frew 86), Sedgemore, J Defty, Carey (West 67), Francis (Nolan 90). Subs: West, Frew, Nolan, Bloomfield, Murray. Bookings: Hoyte, Francis. Goal: Turner 20, J Defty 74, Francis 85 pen, 90.
Referee: C Powell (Poole).