Absent players blasted by Carey

Mangotsfield United 2, King's Lynn 1: King's Lynn slipped out of the FA Trophy with a whimper away to Mangotsfield on Saturday, after traffic problems meant they could only name a squad of 13 with four players stuck on the M4.

King's Lynn slipped out of the FA Trophy with a whimper away to Mangotsfield on Saturday, after traffic problems meant they could only name a squad of 13 with four players stuck on the M4.

Grant Cooper, Fraser Toms and Rodney Hicks didn't appear on the sidelines at all, while goalkeeper Shaun Marshall only arrived late in the first half.

Caretaker Manager Shaun Carey blasted his absent players' commitment as the Linnets fell 2-1 in tiring conditions at Cossham Street.

“I'm very, very disappointed, obviously, to lose,” he said. “I can't fault the players who were actually here, but I had 11 players on the pitch today and one fit sub, for a cup game, so that tells you a lot.

“I'm not disappointed with the boys who were here today, I'm disappointed with the players who weren't here. I had Sam McMahon struggling with his hamstring, and I haven't got anyone to put on.

“I've spoken to the chairman and the players aren't happy with it, and I'm not happy because at this minute we need everyone.

Most Read

“To come away and only have one fit sub for an important cup game like that - it's not right. But things will be put into place this week and whoever gets the job, things have got to change regarding getting to matches.

“The club are good enough to book us into hotels - some clubs don't even do it. I was there last night, and I was in bed at a certain time, and if I can make the effort I can't see why the other players can't. There's no excuse for me.”

King's Lynn almost started without a goalkeeper at all, as John Higgs had suggested he might be late, so the initial team sheet had Mark Camm listed in goal.

Thankfully, Higgs made a hurried phone call to say he was closer to Bristol than he thought he was and would arrive for kick off, so he made it into the starting line-up.

There was a silver lining to the cloud of defeat - the Linnets can now concentrate on the league, and overhauling Mangotsfield's advantage at the top of the Southern League.

The relative importance of the game compared to the league seemed to be playing on the minds of both sides' players in a first half-hour where neither side looked like threatening.

That all changed in the 35th minute, when 'Field defender Neil Arndale and goalkeeper Will Puddy left a long through ball for each other - in the process allowing Matt Nolan in to poke the ball through Puddy's legs and roll into an empty net.

The goal seemed to spur the home side into life, and they nearly equalised within two minutes when Jon French curled a free-kick against the angle from 25 yards.

That should have been a warning for the Linnets, as two minutes later it was a French free-kick that led to the Mangotsfield equaliser.

The ball drifted across in front of the statue-like Mark Warren and Jack Defty, and found 'Field skipper Gary Warren unmarked at the far post to side-foot the ball past stand-in 'keeper John Higgs.

The turning point of the game came in the 52nd minute, when Alex Notman missed a penalty. Notman had done really well to create a bit of space in the box, but was pulled down by Gary Warren.

The Scot got up to take the spot kick himself, and struck it well only to find Puddy diving the same way to make a good save to his right.

From then on King's Lynn never looked like scoring. On a Christmas pudding of a pitch, Mangotsfield kept possession well, using the long ball effectively, and it was only a matter of time before they found the winner.

Jon French beat a tiring Charlie Defty down the right wing, and put in an inviting cross that Rob Claridge turned in from 10 yards past an unsighted Higgs.

Jack Defty and Nolan managed shots on target in the dying minutes of the game, but neither effort tested Puddy, and the Linnets slinked off into the December evening to consider the circumstances of their third successive defeat.

With three games in hand on Mangotsfield in the league and only six points behind, it is vital that King's Lynn get back in to winning ways tomorrow night, when Cheshunt visit The Walks.

t Mangotsfield United: Puddy, Arndale, Sylvester, Warren, Shatford, Casey, Hawkins, French, Claridge, Morrissey (Cornwall, 63), Lane. Subs not used: Anyinsah, Powell, Bone, Book. Booked: Claridge (28), Sylvester (43), Warren (55). Goals: Warren (39), Claridge (62).

t King's Lynn: Higgs, West, C Defty (Harvey, 83), Warren, Melton, Camm, J Defty, McMahon, Nolan, Notman, Norris. Subs not used: Cooper, Tom, Frew, Marshall. Booked: Nolan (68), McMahon (78), Melton (88). Goal: Nolan (32).

t Referee: N Radford (Worcester)

t Att: 344