Sheldon injury bombshell for Lynn as they exit cup

Paddy Davitt Bury 2, King's Lynn 0: For a man no stranger to the tattooist's chair, Carl Heggs should be well used to pain. Watching Lynn's embarrassing FA Cup second-half surrender was x-rated stuff.

Paddy Davitt

Bury 2, King's Lynn 0

For a man no stranger to the tattooist's chair, Carl Heggs should be well used to pain.

Watching Lynn's embarrassing FA Cup second-half surrender was x-rated stuff.

But the pre-match bombshell that star striker Gareth Sheldon had suffered a career-threatening cruciate knee ligament injury is far more damaging than the briefest of flirtations with this world-famous cup competition.

Lynn's top scorer is unlikely to play again. Certainly at the top end of the non-League game.

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Sheldon's first battle is to try and fund an estimated �7,000 operation to repair his shattered left knee. Followed by nine months and more of rehabilitation.

Heggs' marquee summer signing was already a fifth of the way to hitting his manager's 30-goal target barely a fortnight into the season before collapsing in a crumpled heap at Guiseley.

In his absence, and that of suspended frontman Anthony Robinson, Lynn fired blanks at Bury.

Matty Birley struck grounded Town keeper Marcus Garnham with the goal at his mercy after Jordan Smith's strike cannoned back off the crossbar.

Craig McAughtrie's header thudded the woodwork on the re-start while Garnham produced athletic stops to foil Danny Spencer and Lewis Webb.

But neither Heggs nor the 300-strong travelling support could argue Lynn were anything but second best as Gavin Johnson and Callum Kearns guided the Southern Midlands outfit into the next round.

Only Danny Gay's brilliance and two goal-line clearances from skipper Andy Boyce prevented a landslide. 2009 is proving to be Lynn's annus horribilis. But the past week still takes some beating.

Heggs lost his assistant boss, his centre-half with a broken collarbone and now arguably the best striker in the Unibond Premier Division. Not forgetting the departure of a director and getting the brush-off from Tamworth hitman Stuart Nicholson and a young League Two striker who rejected the chance of a loan spell at The Walks.

One could almost forgive Heggs giving Buxton a miss tonight when his depleted squad resume league hostilities in Derbyshire (7.45pm).

“I'm glad Buxton have won their cup tie so it gives us a game,” he said. “Let's go and win it and put all that has gone on in the last few days behind us.

“I've probably learnt more about myself in these few weeks than most managers do in three or four years.

“I'm just keeping my fingers crossed it turns for me because it's just wave after wave of disappointment.

“As a young manager of 38 I shouldn't have to face this sort of pressure, but it's my job to pick us all up.”

Makeshift strike duo Spencer and Smith are poised to get another chance with Robinson serving the final match of a three-game ban.

“We're trying to get new faces in but it's difficult,” said Heggs.

“I've had this job for a month since the start of the season and in that time we've lost Jason White who has broken three bones in his hand and Liam Murray with a broken collarbone and now Shelly - which is a massive, massive blow.

“He rang me late on Friday after seeing the consultant and he was in tears. He's 29, going on 30, he's overweight and you have to say he is probably not coming back from that. He'll certainly be lucky to play at this standard again.”

Heggs admitted Lynn's second-half no-show was unacceptable.

“First half we looked a good side, second half we were awful and to be fair could have lost that five or six,” he said.

“We're never going to win the FA Cup but a run would have been great for financial reasons and for the profile of our club.

“They hit the bar first half but I didn't feel they were much of a threat.

“We hit the bar, it bounces six yards out to Matty and he doesn't connect properly. They have to be goals.

“At half-time I said the only thing we hadn't done is score but when they went in front we just crumbled.

“That is the most disappointing thing. We didn't know how to cope when we went a goal down.

“I didn't see any leaders or anyone who wanted to get the game by the scruff of the neck.

“It was as if the lads' heads just went with all that has gone on recently.”

Bury: Garnham, Hunter, Sloots, Kearns, Nunn, Bullard, Reed, Johnson, Reed (Steward 63), Leabon, Coker. Subs (not used): Chaplin, Kelly, Hipperson, Pope. Goals: Johnson (51), Kearns (77).

King's Lynn: Gay, Magunda, Beswick, Smedley (Story 67), Boyce, McAughtrie, Birley, Webb (Oliver 67), Spencer, Smith, Lloyd. Subs (not used): Martin, Davey, McAnally. Bookings: Oliver, Lloyd, Smith.

Referee: D Margetts (Harlow).

Attendance: 604.

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