Taylor’s silent tactics pay off
King's Lynn 3, Northwood 2: Manager Tommy Taylor dished out the silent treatment to maintain Lynn's Southern League Premier Division title charge. Taylor's under-performing side re-emerged for the second half fully five minutes before their lowly opponents following a lacklustre opening period.
King's Lynn 3, Northwood 2
Manager Tommy Taylor dished out the silent treatment to maintain Lynn's Southern League Premier Division title charge.
Taylor's under-performing side re-emerged for the second half fully five minutes before their lowly opponents following a lacklustre opening period.
James Shipperley had cancelled out Grant Cooper's close-range finish after keeper Rob Bullivant foiled Matt Nolan from the penalty spot.
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Taylor's tactics paid instant dividends - 14 seconds after the restart to be precise - when Matt O'Halloran arrived on cue to sidefoot Lynn back in front. Nolan added a third minutes later.
Heroics from Bullivant and Dean Clark's individual brilliance set up a tense final quarter, but Lynn hung on for a seventh straight win.
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Morning leaders Bath City were the biggest losers in the latest title twist - slipping to third after home defeat to Yate. Narrow victories for championship rivals Salisbury and Chippenham leaves the quartet locked on 70 points, separated by goal difference.
“Everyone in the league wants to beat Salisbury, Bath and King's Lynn,” said Taylor. “These final games are massive and it's time for the boys to step up to the plate. It'll be down to them, not me.
“I wasn't happy at half-time. I said a couple of things and that was it. I told them to get out there because they'd given me the right hump - there wasn't too much else to say.
“We got two quick goals and should've gone on to get another three or four, with the chances we created. It didn't have to be so nervy at the end.”
Lynn's unchanged side clicked smoothly in attacking mode, with Cedric Anselin blazing O'Halloran's pinpoint cutback over from six yards before a goalbound strike from the edge of the box was deflected behind.
Bullivant made a sharp double block to deny the marauding Nolan. Sam McMahon's rasping free-kick slammed against the ddfensive wall as Lynn probed for a breakthrough.
Nolan was handed a gilt-edged chance when the officials spotted a push on the big striker in a near-post melee challenging for Smith's inswinging free-kick.
Bullivant flew to his right to parry Nolan's penalty, but the keeper's luck ran out when Cooper expertly rolled Jason O'Connor in the box to score after Northwood had failed to clear their lines from the corner.
Man mountain Shipperley delivered a sucker punch on 42 minutes, powering home a header reminiscent of his illustrious older brother, Sheffield United hitman Neil, after Frazer Toms' head-high volley crashed back off Arron Benstead's bar.
Lynn exploded into life on the resumption after Taylor's cold shoulder, Nolan teasing namesake Dave down the left before curling a wonderful cross for the unmarked O'Halloran to tuck away.
Nolan's 11th of the campaign followed, linking superbly with striker partner Jack Defty to race clear and despatch a cool angled drive into the bottom corner.
Bullivant blocked O'Halloran's snapshot as Lynn threatened to run riot. Northwood launched a triple substitution to stem the tide and Clark grabbed the visitors a lifeline moment later, hooking the ball over two defenders past Benstead from eight yards.
Nolan and McMahon were both denied by the outstanding Bullivant from point-blank range, but Lynn's defensive resolve held firm in the face of a last-ditch aerial onslaught.
Taylor confirmed after the game Adam Smith had signed a deal to stay at the club for next season.
King's Lynn: Benstead, West, Smith, McMahon, Cooper, Camm, Defty, Anselin (Charles 77), Nolan (Hammond 90), Carey, O'Halloran (Harvey 90). Subs (not used): Peters, Higgs.
Goals: Cooper (36), O'Halloran (46), Nolan (49).
Northwood: Bullivant, Nolan (Hart 65), Moore, O'Connor (Devere 65), Shipperley, Carter, Julienne, Clark, Heselton, Dean, Toms (Demetrious 65). Subs (not used): Courtnage, Lavender.
Goals: Shipperley (42), Clark (68).
Referee: W Porter (Lincs).