Sweet revenge for Linnets
Halesowen 1, King's Lynn 2: Revenge is clearly best served cold after King's Lynn edged through Saturday's FA Cup third qualifying round thriller at The Grove. Tommy Taylor and his squad released nine weeks of pent-up frustration from a wretched opening day league defeat against the abrasive Midlanders as Matt O'Halloran's clinical late brace shattered Halesowen's vice-like grip on the clubs' battles since Lynn returned to the Southern Premier in 2004.
Revenge is clearly best served cold after King's Lynn edged through Saturday's FA Cup third qualifying round thriller at The Grove.
Tommy Taylor and his squad released nine weeks of pent-up frustration from a wretched opening day league defeat against the abrasive Midlanders as Matt O'Halloran's clinical late brace shattered Halesowen's vice-like grip on the clubs' battles since Lynn returned to the Southern Premier in 2004.
The flying winger's joy dissolved into pain within minutes of his killer second - Yeltz dangerman Matt Lewis red-carded for a violent lunge that sparked a minor melee as the cliffhanger threatened to boil over.
Lewis had reduced the arrears from the penalty spot before his rush of blood, but Lynn held firm during eight minutes of stoppage time.
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Taylor allowed himself a rare on pitch celebration with his players - for one game only Lynn's boss preferred to dwell on the past rather than the present and today's fourth qualifying round draw.
“I told you there was no curse,” he said. “I reminded the boys before kick off how they'd took the mick out of us on the opening day at our place - so let's do it back to them. I don't mind who we get in the draw.
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“A nice one at home would be good but we've shown we can go away too. Really, these lads deserve to get through another round and draw a league club - that is all I want.
“The atmosphere in the changing room is bubbling and we can't wait for the next one to come around.”
Taylor was forced to remodel his defensive shield for a second consecutive weekend with John Higgs replacing Shaun Marshall (stomach problem) in goal. Charlie Defty retained his place alongside Mark Warren at centre back in the continued absence of Grant Cooper (rib injury).
“The only way I could see them scoring was from set plays,” said Taylor. “They got some big lads around Higgsy and made it difficult for us. We played some lovely stuff in the first half - Frewy has probably missed the best chance. After the break we got pushed back and didn't really take advantage of the space in behind.
“We had a bit of luck when the shot came back off a post, but I thought we should've had a penalty ourselves. The ref gives them one and you knew at that stage we'd be tested because there was plenty of time left. We kept turning them, did the right things in the right areas, and saw it out.”
Alex Notman also returned from a foot injury after missing the Mangotsfield win to slot in on the right of midfield with Rob Norris making way.
Dan Woodhall pushed Michael Frew's sharp ten-yard strike behind in a confident start for the visitors.
Simon Forsdick blazed over after escaping Dean West's attentions. Lynn survived a huge penalty appeal when Warren's mistimed challenged upended Paul Szewczyk.
Taylor's men kept their cool to set up base camp in the Halesowen half - O'Halloran's curler from the edge of the box triggering a series of well crafted openings.
Woodhall and Frew locked horns in a personal duel - part three taking the honours on the half hour mark when the overworked keeper smothered Frew's 16-yard lash after Lynn's frontman had galloped clear.
The grounded Higgs showed his class to kick away Lewis' point blank hit as Halesowen launched a set piece barrage in the closing stages.
Notman's attempted lob landed on the roof of the net after the restart, but the force was now with the hosts.
Frew's intended clearing header fell at the feet of Lewis only for Higgs to grasp his swivelling effort.
Szewczyk's goalbound bobbler smacked Higgs' left hand upright before Lynn's stopper dropped gratefully on the rebound.
Sam McMahon's vision teed up second half arrival Matt Nolan whose cutback was punted clear by Stuart Pierrepoint with Jack Defty lurking.
West's penalty box tumble cut no ice with the official as the frantic final minutes took on the veneer of a prize fight.
O'Halloran's one-two combination sent Halesowen reeling to the canvas - latching onto Nolan's cute near post back heel to fire right footed past Woodhall. The former Boston man then switched southpaw to hammer home a rising left footer from the edge of the box via the underside of the bar.
Lewis bought the hosts some time from the spot after Dave Haywood's long throw reared up off McMahon before the bustling striker was dismissed for poleaxing O'Halloran.
t Halesowen: Woodhall, Warner, Haywood, Pierrepoint, Knight, Williams, Cowley, Lewis, Szewczyk (Brindley 81), Amos, Forsdick (Dowdall 84). Subs not used: Cooper, Beckett, Gayle. Goal: Lewis (88). Booking: Williams. Sending Off: Lewis
t King's Lynn: Higgs, West, Smith, Warren, C Defty, Camm, J Defty, McMahon, Frew, Notman (Nolan 70), O'Halloran (Norris 90). Subs not used: Gaughran, Fry, Harvey. Goals: O'Halloran (82, 86). Bookings: J Defty, McMahon, O'Halloran
t Attendance: 632.
t Referee: BC O'Sullivan (Peterborough).