Boon insists King’s Lynn can improve

King's Lynn joint boss Kevin Boon saluted his bravehearts after the Linnets battled into the last 32 of the FA Vase.

Town had to do it the hard way following a tidy first half opener from impressive Beckenham striker Quentin Conteh. Jack Defty missed a penalty just before the hour mark but Kieran Doherty pounced on an error from Becks' keeper Nick Blue before Defty's powerful header in the closing minutes sealed a thrilling comeback.

Norfolk's sole flag bearers in the prestigious national competition will now travel to Northern League outfit Norton and Stockton Ancients on January 22.

'The feeling on our bench and for those 150-odd travelling fans when Jack put that header away was brilliant,' said Boon. 'It was exactly the same type of game as we had at Dereham in the first round - a really hard test.

'We plugged on right until the end but when you miss a penalty it does cross your mind if it's going to be your day. I still kept believing, because we were playing all the football and we were a class act. I was pleased for Kieran. He was disappointed to be left out after playing against Raunds but he accepted it like a man and showed true professionalism.'

Boon is under no illusions the road to a potential Wembley final will get no easier.

'We've got a tough one in the next round,' he said. 'Look at the record of the Northern League in this competition over the last few years and they are always there or thereabouts. To all intents and purposes that is a step four standard league. Norton is in and around the top six and they have beaten Whitley Bay in the league so we know what to expect.

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'It's the old clich�, but it has to be game by game. There are people about up there who we know so maybe we'll get someone to go and watch them but myself and Setch (Gary Setchell) will do our homework. All I'll say is if we play the way we did first half here we wouldn't go through. We have to start better.'

Boon admitted Town could have been further adrift at the interval after a sluggish opening stanza.

'Only three or four of the players were at the races and both of us had to get into them at half-time,' said Boon. 'Second half, we held our discipline, kept our shape, and we were fantastic. We made a tactical change with Danny Buhlemann going on and for his contribution second half he was up there for man of the match although, for me, one player who stood out miles was Luke Thurlbourne.

'He deserves the headlines because they were rough and tumble and made it a battle for us, but they also played some football. The number ten won their league's golden boot last year and we couldn't handle him at times. I tell you, if he was playing in this neck of the woods we'd be trying to bring him in everyday of the week.'

Becks' assistant boss Michael Marks felt it was Town's own 26-goal hitman Defty who made the difference.

'He's a big boy, a big unit,' said Marks. 'He was a handful. He could play as well, being fair to him, and they played off his strengths. Other than that, they had a few good players but I think he was probably the difference between the two sides.

'The boys are gutted. They couldn't give us any more. We let them on to us, but I think they've given us so much during the first 60 to 70 minutes. You've got to be some sort of side to take an avalanche like we were for the last half an hour and not concede.'