Benstead toast of Linnets
Merthyr Tydfil 0, King's Lynn 1King's Lynn have moved up to third in the Southern Football League Premier Division table after a super first half display proved to be sufficient to take all three points.
Merthyr Tydfil 0, King's Lynn 1
King's Lynn have moved up to third in the Southern Football League Premier Division table after a super first half display proved to be sufficient to take all three points. Although they took some time to get going, Merthyr Tydfil created plenty of chances, but were unable to get past the resolute figure of Aaron Benstead.
Benstead produced a string of fine saves to keep out the Welsh side, who had lost only one of their past seven League games and were themselves hoping to make the play-offs for a spot in the Conference regional divisions.
However, it was Merthyr goalkeeper Lee Worgan who was the busier before the interval, making a brilliant stop in as early as the seventh minute to deny Jack Defty.
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Benstead was called into action for the first time on 19 minutes, turning a Craig Moses drive over the cross-bar before turning away a header from Dale Griffiths moments after.
Just how crucial those stops were became apparent on 29 minutes when Lynn took a deserved lead.
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Matt Nolan latched on to a long clearance before cuting into the Merthyr penalty area and beating Worgan with an angled shot.
Both Dane Williams and Griffiths could have brought Merthyr level before the break, the former squandering a great chance and the latter denied once more by the alert Benstead.215 If Benstead had thought his work was done he was mistaken as Merthyr's share of possession greatly improved during the second 45 minutes.
That is not to say that Kings Lynn did not have their own moments and particularly late on, Danny Bloomfield could have sewn up the victory before the end but for two fine saves once from Worgan.
But, it was Lynn who were on the back foot and they gave everything in their quest for the three points.
They did have some good fortune as Merthyr all too often missed the target when the chances came.
But, they also had Benstead to thank when, four minutes from time, he dived to keep out a Mike Fowler free-kick that was destined for the bottom corner.
That proved to be Lynn's last moment of real danger and paved the way for the scenes of delight for the small travelling faithful at the final whistle, and undoubtedly made up for the agonising trip to South Wales last season, when Lynn lost 5-1.
Merthy Tydfil: Worgan, S Williams, Robison, Needs, Eckhardt (Welsh), Griffiths, Fowler, D Williams, Moses, O'Sullivan, Dorian. Subs not used: Loss, Jones, Steins.
King's Lynn: Benstead, West, Smith, McMahon, Cooper, Jones, Camm, Anselin, Defty, Bloomfield, Nolan (Heath-Preston 82 min). Subs not used: Peters, Hammond, Harvey, Fell.
Bookings: Merthy - none. Lynn - Defty (88 min, foul).
Referee: Alan Smith (Bridgwater).