Blyth spirit is broken as Linnets battle back

Blyth Spartans 2, King's Lynn 4: King's Lynn gave North Easterners Blyth Spartans a two-goal start at a wet and breezy Croft Park before they hit back in devastating style to claim their first Blue Square North away win.

Blyth Spartans 2, King's Lynn 4

King's Lynn gave North Easterners Blyth Spartans a two-goal start at a wet and breezy Croft Park before they hit back in devastating style to claim their first Blue Square North away win.

Lynn may have enjoyed an overnight stay in preparation for the game but they still looked as if they were on the coach as they made a dreadful start to the game.

Mid-table Blyth didn't have to hit their straps to score two goals inside the opening 20 minutes but once Mark Peters had given the Linnets a lifeline the home side struggled before eventually falling apart.

Top scorer Michael Frew fired a beauty to level the scores and the introduction of John Turner just before the hour brought immediate dividends.

Turner, on for the ineffective Julian Joachim, put Lynn ahead with his first touch and then Scott Mitchell settled the game with a clinical finish.

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"We looked average for the first 20 minutes to be fair," said manager Keith Webb. "It was annoying that we gifted Blyth their two goals because they hadn't really opened us up.

"But once we got a goal back I always though we could go on and get something, and Michael Frew produced a great strike for the equaliser.

"I was pleased for John Turner who put us ahead within a minute of coming on. He's got a lot of energy and I wanted a bit more height and for him to give us more of a threat up front."

"Scott Mitchell produced another good finish for the fourth but we can't afford to give teams a two-goal start because better sides will murder us.

"All in all a good day's work in the end but we made it hard for ourselves before we fought back in some style."

Lynn may have been off the pace early on but a slip by Gary Brown gave them a clear opening in the fourth minute only for Joachim to play a ball to the left while Adam Smith went to the right.

Blyth drew first blood 10 minutes later when winger Andy Wright dinked a ball to the back post where Spartans midfielder Chris McCabe rose to head home.

Brown then put a free header wide from a Wright corner before a Simon Weaver foul on Wright brought Blyth's second goal.

Captain - and defender - Gareth Williams had already scored five goals from set plays this season but he needed a slice of luck to make it six.

Williams' 25-yard free-kick appeared to be covered by Scott Howie, only for the ball to take a big deflection off the defensive wall to nestle in the bottom corner.

At that stage you couldn't see a struggling Lynn outfit getting back into the game on a ground that had produced 24 goals in the opening six games of the season.

Defensively however the Spartans' confidence is fragile, especially with

stand-in keeper Gareth Powell a vulnerable last line of defence.

Joe Francis had a fine game on the left and when he curled a 29th minute free-kick towards the back post neither Powell or his defensive partners reacted.

Peters was given the simple job of heading home from three yards and within five minutes the Linnets were back on level terms.

Jack Defty swept a ball out to the right where Frew cut inside full-back Kenny Boyle to unleash an angled left foot shot that clipped a head on its way into the far top corner of the net.

It was a tremendous finish from the former Peterborough apprentice and Francis then shot across goal following a Smith break before Williams was just wide with another free-kick in first half stoppage time.

Lynn were on the back foot after the restart as Anth Hume twice found himself with only Howie to beat but failed to make it count and Robbie Dale had a shot headed off the line by Greg Crane.

After that the Linnets were the better side and took the lead when Francis went past Brown to cross low for Turner to turn the ball in from close range.

Turner ran the Spartans ragged in the final half hour and it was all over when Jack Defty's back heel saw Mitchell find the bottom corner from 22 yards.

Blyth sub Phil Bell headed a Dale corner narrowly over the bar late on but there was no way back for a Blyth side who conceded four goals for the second consecutive home game while King's Lynn moved up to ninth in the table.

Blyth Spartans: Powell, Brown, Boyle, Todd, Pell, Williams, Dalton (Bell 72), McCabe (Gildea 79), Dale, Hume, Wright (Poole 62).

Subs: (not used) Leeson, Fenton.

Goals: McCabe (14), Wiliams (19).

Bookings: Pell (48, foul), McCabe (79, dissent).

Kings Lynn: Howie, Weaver, C Defty, Peters, Crane, Mitchell, Frew, Smith, J Defty (Bloomfield 85), Joachim (Turner 58), Francis.

Subs: (not used) Fisk, Sedgemore, Murray.

Goals: Peters (29), Free (33), Turner (59), Mitchell (72).

Bookings: C Defty (44, foul), Mitchell (70, encroachment), Francis (68, foul).

Referee: Neil Sharp (Hartlepool).

Att: 433.