Sloppy Linnets throw advantage away

Mark Hearle Southport 2, King's Lynn 1: Slack defending cost King's Lynn dearly as they returned home pointless from their trip to the Lancashire coast on Saturday.

Mark Hearle

Southport 2, King's Lynn 1

Slack defending cost King's Lynn dearly as they returned home pointless from their trip to the Lancashire coast on Saturday.

Despite taking the lead - albeit against the run of play - with a goal from Michael Frew, the Linnets were quickly pegged back with goals from the lively Southport strike force of Steve Daly and Ciaran Kilheeney, with the away defence conspicuous by their absence on both occasions.

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A clearly disappointed Keith Webb was in thoughtful mood following his team's first away defeat since mid-September. "I just felt that when Michael put us in front it was something we could hold onto and build upon," he said. "Scott (Mitchell) has sent one just over the bar minutes later and had that have gone in it just might have been a different scenario.

"But instead we then go and concede two soft goals from our point of view and then it's different. We can defend much better than that and we should have dealt better with those situations. With saying that there were other areas today which I am not happy with and we need to step things up before we go to Gateshead on Wednesday."

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The Linnets made two changes to the starting line-up that had tasted victory at Hucknall a week earlier. John Turner was given the nod to start up front with regular number nine Jack Defty beginning his suspension. Mark Camm gained a start as Adam Smith had failed to recover from a leg injury picked up the previous week.

With Webb being unable to call upon the likes of Mark Peters, Charlie Defty and Bradley Thomas, reserve team striker Dominic Dwyer was given a taste of first team life with a bench place.

Simon Weaver needed treatment for a head injury early in the match but he was able to continue following treatment.

Adam Flynn had a header deflected away for the Sandgrounders and Michael Powell had the ball in the net, only for the effort to ruled out for offside.

Mitchell was penalised for a handball which allowed Mark Duffy the chance to test Scott Howie, who responded with a fine diving save.

The Linnets took the lead on 11 minutes as Frew collected a long clearance before sending in a swirling cross which took a deflection from Kevin Lee and deceived keeper Tony McMillan.

Mitchell put a screamer just the wrong side of McMillan's bar before parity was restored on 16 minutes. Duffy, a constant pain for Ben Chapman all afternoon, pulled the ball back to Daly who clinically beat Howie from eight yards with Lynn's static defence watching in awe.

Daly then worked space behind Weaver only to head over and Matty McGinn chanced his arm from range as Southport dominated proceedings.

Moments later the home side had the lead as Duffy picked out Kilheeney who cut inside Luke Graham and finished with aplomb.

Greg Crane headed wide from Frew's flag kick but it was a rare foray up field for Lynn as Daly saw his header saved by Howie and the lively McGinn fizzed a shot over from 30 yards.

Flynn planted a header wide just before Weaver's header was cleared from the line by a posse of home defenders following substitute Joe Francis' corner.

That was the closest the Linnets came to an equaliser as the last 20 minutes of the game turned ugly. Among the ensuing melees, Crane was booked for the fifth time this season which means he will miss the Stafford Rangers league fixture in a fortnight.

Right on the final whistle, a clash between Chapman and Duffy resulted in heated exchanges between both benches as proceedings ended on a feisty note.

Southport: McMillan, Lee, Lever, Flynn, Connolly, Moogan, Duffy, Powell, Daly (Robinson 74, Barnes 77), Kilheeney (Tony Gray 74), McGinn. Unused subs: Shaun Gray, Davis.

Booking: Kilheeney.

King's Lynn: Howie, Graham, Chapman, Weaver, Crane, Sedgemore (Francis 53), Frew, Mitchell, Turner (Bloomfield 82), Joachim, Camm. Unused subs: Dwyer, Murray.

Bookings: Chapman, Weaver, Crane, Mitchell.

Referee: Jason Knowles (Huddersfield).

Attendance: 853.

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