Saturday, December 8, 2012
Debutant Shane Tolley bagged a brace but it still wasn’t enough to stop Lynn from losing to the league’s bottom side.
The Linnets’ newest face scored twice hours after joining the club but poor defending ruined a dream debut as Hucknall netted four times for the second week running to secure back-to-back league wins for the first time this term.
Sloppy play at the back hurt Lynn all afternoon as Matthew Millns put the visitors in front before Tolley’s equaliser. Yet Karl Demidh made it 2-1 before the break and further goals from Alex Ford and Julian Topliss helped stretch Lynn’s winless run in the league to four games - their worst run this season.
Tolley did slot home again to lift hopes of a revival but it wasn’t enough to stop Lynn, third in the table before the match, to slipping to their third consecutive defeat at home in all competitions.
Lynn had gone into the clash looking to complete their first double of the season having triumphed 3-1 in the reverse fixture at the start of the season.
Gary Setchell had said he and his players were not going to be taking their struggling Nottinghamshire-based visitors lightly. The Watnall Road outfit arrived in Norfolk with a spring in their step after ending a 11-game winless streak with victory at Market Drayton Town last week.
The Linnets handed Tolley, who signed earlier in the day from Histon, a debut and paired him up front with Russell Dunkley - a striker himself who perhaps hadn’t been expected to appear in yellow this afternoon. The fans’ favourite was however available after passing a late fitness test on a hamstring injury.
Jamie Thurlbourne was the unlucky player to make way as he dropped to the substitutes’ bench. Histon loanee George Thomson moved out to the left of Setchell’s midfield in his absence.
The opening exchanges were fairly even but Lynn’s ascendency continued to grow with Thomson and Steve Spriggs being given acres of space in wide areas.
It was the latter who had the first efforts - of sort - on goal before Dunkley crashed an attempt towards the target which was palmed away excellently by Hucknall’s ‘keeper James Martin.
Tolley’s big chance soon arrived after captain Richard Bunting’s shot was directed into his path. Yet, with the goal at his mercy he blazed horribly over from inside the box.
The visitors certainly looked a far better outfit than they did in August when the two sides met and they almost took a shock lead when Demidh raced clear. Yet Danny Gay was equal to his effort as he saved strongly at his near post.
The impressive Thomson, whose trickery bamboozled his opposite number Alistair Asher, fizzed a left-foot attempt inches wide before smashing another shot towards the top corner - which Martin pushed to safety.
However, just as Setchell’s high-fliers were taking control, Hucknall took a surprise lead. And to be fair, Lynn only had themselves to blame.
Sloppy marking from a corner gifted the away side a golden chance - which Millns didn’t waste. The centre was nodded back across goal and the unmarked defender headed home from inside the box.
It didn’t take long for The Walks’ outfit to reply - and of course it had to be that man Tolley. The striker, who has made a name for himself scoring goals at St Neots Town and of late Spalding, was in the right place to head Thomson’s miscued shot home. It took a heavy touch from a defender on the way in, but there was no way anybody was taking the goal away from Setchell’s newest recruit.
The frontman, and his manager’s joy, was short lived however, as Hucknall took the lead again five minutes later. Ford’s volley was blocked but the rebound fell to his strike partner Demidh who buried the rebound.
They almost made it three just before the break when Jordan Yong’s header back to Gay was cut out but thankfully for the left-back Topliss toe-poked his effort wide.
And the right-winger nearly paid for his miss when Lynn almost equalised on the stroke of half-time. And they would have done had ‘keeper Martin not made an outstanding double save.
Spriggs’ shot was decent but the Hucknall goalie could only parry his effort into the path of Tolley. It looked for all the world that he was about to equalise and bag his second. But Martin dived across the goal to recover and saved his shot expertly.
His heroics were rewarded three minutes after the re-start when Hucknall opened up a two-goal advantage. Tristram Whitman had all the time in the world to deliver a cross and Ford said thank you very much by nodding home from close range.
Lynn’s three-game winless streak in the league looked set to extend - unless Setchell’s men could produce another stirring fightback.
Any hope of that coming disappeared in smoke when poor defending - again - left Millns alone in the box. This time, he nodded to Topliss and he - also left with yards of space - volleyed home.
At 4-1 down, it was going to take a festive miracle for Setchell’s men to recover. Tolley headed inches wide from Spriggs’ cross. But at least it was a chance. Some hope. That was quickly disappearing from the fans in the ground.
Setchell went for broke taking off Ross Watson and Bunting for attack-minded duo Sam Mulready and Thurlbourne. He had no other option. And the gamble almost paid off as Lynn nearly pulled a goal back through Spriggs, Mulready and Tolley - who headed against the bar.
Yet, Lynn’s new signing did find the net, as his heel turned home Mulready’s effort to grab his second and give his side hope. Surely they couldn’t do it?
Gay almost ended any hope of a comeback when Ford charged down his clearance only to see his work denied by the upright.
At the other end, Martin’s fine afternoon continued as he spectacularly denied Thomson’s thumping long-range drive. Had that gone in, we’d have been set for a barnstorming final 10 minutes.
Yet the excitement never came as Lynn’s poor run - away from cup competitions - continued.
Lynn: Gay, Watson (Mulready, 60) Gulliver, Fryatt, Yong, Spriggs (Turner, 85), Bunting (Thurlbourne, 60), Quigley, Thomson, Tolley, Dunkley. Subs not used: Lee, White. Booked: Fryatt, Bunting, Spriggs, Quigley. Goals: Tolley (33, 68)
Hucknall: Martin. Asher, Leggitt, Hannigan, Millns, Austin, Topliss (Sucharewycz, 78), Nwadike, Ford, Demidh (Hollis, 63), Whitman. Subs not used: Marriott, Robinson. Booked: Hannigan, Martin. Goals: Millns (29), Demidh (38), Ford (48), Topliss (54)
Referee: C. Pollard