Off-colour Linnets get unexpected bonus
Paddy Davitt Lynn stumbled to the top of the Southern League - despite misfiring against lowly Hitchin. Keith Webb admitted Lynn’s lacklustre display was in sharp contrast to his side’s Team Bath heroics.
Lynn stumbled to the top of the Southern League - despite misfiring against lowly Hitchin.
Keith Webb's side looked a pale shadow of the team that thrashed title rivals Team Bath four days earlier until a belated rousing finale.
However, Tiverton's stoppage time winner at Twerton Park - the Students' third league defeat in four games - coupled with third-placed Halesowen's 2-1 home defeat to Banbury propelled Lynn top on goal difference.
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“There are going to be a lot of days like this,” said Webb. “You come off at the final whistle expecting Team Bath to have won. Instead of feeling we've let it slip we get a big fillip - that's football.
“We just have to take care of ourselves and we didn't do that here. It was a case of 'after the Lord Mayor's party', but I don't think the pressure or the expectation got to the boys. If that were the case we'd have seen it at Team Bath.
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“For the last eight minutes or so we took the game to them, but our decision making in key areas wasn't the best. We tried to warn them before the match. You then go in at half-time and rollick them but for all the cajoling and saying the right words we just weren't at the races.”
Webb admitted Lynn's lacklustre display was in sharp contrast to his side's Team Bath heroics.
“Maybe the exertions of that game took more out of the lads than we thought,” he said. “Better managers than me have had the same problem. There was no lack of effort but it was all huffing and puffing. The quality was lacking. It's not tactics or substitutions - I just can't put my finger on it. You can't go and beat up players who have been excellent for us this season. Team Bath was a great result but after the buzz and all the massive euphoria it was hard to lift it again.”
Danny Bloomfield was restored to a two-pronged attack with Shaun Carey (leg) absent in the one change to Lynn's starting line up.
Joe Francis' wayward 20-yard strike set the tone as both sides toiled in the windy conditions.
Hitchin frontman Paul Barnes needed lengthy treatment and a change of shirt after a clash of heads with Greg Crane.
John Turner's first time cross smacked Jon Stevenson but referee Maton waved away home penalty appeals.
Martin Bennett's outstretched leg foiled Bloomfield in the first real chance of note on 19 minutes - Lynn's leading scorer latching on to Ben Sedgemore's through ball.
Andrew Fisk replaced Sedgemore shortly after with the midfielder complaining of feeling unwell.
Mark Barnes flicked wide with only Scott Howie to beat after namesake Paul teed up his strike partner to race clear.
Mark Ducket's free kick clipped Lynn's four-man wall with Crane adjudged to have impeded Mark Barnes.
Fisk tested Bennett with a drilled effort from the edge of the area after Turner's shot ricocheted off Defty.
Pepper fended off Camm to burst along the byline on the restart but Howie's brilliant point blank reaction stop denied Paul Barnes from the cutback.
Bloomfield's curler sailed wide after Francis' inswinging corner dropped to the predator.
Francis twice blazed wide from a tight angle with his frustrated team mates inside the penalty box berating the young flyer.
Hitchin defender Pepper was stretchered off with suspected knee ligament damage after bravely attempting to cut out Defty's slide rule pass to Francis.
Michael Frew's weak free-kick slammed the Hitchin wall before Francis' follow up threatened the corner flag.
Frew headed tamely at Bennett after Defty's aerial prowess diverted the dropping ball towards the unmarked wideman ten yards out.
Francis smashed straight at Bennett from an acute angle before the keeper patted away under intense pressure from Matt Nolan.
Rikki Bains' half volley flew over after Defty had retrieved Frew's cross with Lynn finally in full flow.
Bennett grabbed Defty's glancing header from Nolan's inviting cross. Hitchin's stopper needed lengthy treatment deep into stoppage time after colliding with David Deeney and Frew - Frew hooking the resulting corner into the terraces.
King's Lynn: Howie, Bains, Chapman, Hoyte, Crane, Camm, Turner (Nolan 86), Sedgemore (Fisk 32), Defty, Bloomfield (Frew 69), Francis. Subs not used: Murray, West. Booking: Defty
Hitchin: Bennett, Deeney, Pepper (Barr 74), Williams, Stevenson, Smith, Lewis (Kenneford 90), Gregson, P Barnes, M Barnes (Olaleye 81), Ducket. Subs not used: Hay, Harusha.
Referee: A Maton (Leics)