’One of the best away performances I have seen for a long, long time’ - Linnets boss
- Credit: Archant
King's Lynn Town sent out a stunning New Year's Day message to their rivals as they completed a memorable festive double with a 3-0 win at neighbours Boston United.
Two goals up at half-time, the Linnets were in full control, with a late Michael Gash strike the icing on the cake.
The win maintained their four-point lead over York City in National League North, but it was the manner of victory that was so impressive. Boston had pushed Lynn all the way at The Walks on Boxing Day before Gash secured the points late on. Lynn expected the wounded animal to respond in front of their own fans - but it didn't work out that way. By the time the final whistle blew, Boston were toothless, dismantled mentally and physically by a Linnets outfit that continue to defy expectations.
To put the win into perspective, Boston hadn't been beaten in the league at home in eight games this season and had conceded just four goals. But they were no match for Lynn.
"Excellent, weren't they," said boss Ian Culverhouse. "That was from the top drawer that one. We knew they would come at us for the first 10, 15 and we knew we would have to weather the storm because they are a good side here. We nicked one on the break and that just calmed it all down a little bit and then I think we just grew and grew and second half we managed the game really, really well. They changed their shape, we matched them and went man for man, and in the end it was one of the best away performances I have seen for a long, long time."
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Just six days earlier, at The Walks, the 15th-minute sending off of Boston defender Luke Shiels changed the game. But this time there was no interference, no mitigating circumstances for the Pilgrims, despite the best efforts of striker Jake Wright - who tangled with just about every visiting defender - to leave his mark.
Lynn had to withstand the expected early barrage from the hosts, but soaked the pressure up well. Keeper Alex Street shrugged off the close personal attentions at set-pieces and was rarely overly extended.
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The visitors were forced into a change after just 20 minutes when midfielder Sam Kelly pulled up with a calf injury, replaced by Sonny Carey. And it was the youngster who helped create the opening goal on 28 minutes when he hooked a ball forward and Adam Marriott gave chase. Not many can catch the Lynn striker when he is in full flight, and not many keepers can stop him doing what he does best: Peter Crook didn't stand a chance when Marriott slotted it past him. It was textbook Marriott and the celebration was clearly aimed at the home fans who had berated him - this is a player who, for some unknown reason, couldn't score goals for Boston and, in October 2018, left York Street and signed for Lynn, certainly one of the best pieces of business anyone at the club has ever signed off.
Lynn put the game in their pocket just before half-time: Gash and Marriott were both involved, one with superb control, the other with the final assist, leaving Jordan Richards to fire it into the bottom corner from 20 yards.
Lynn needed their game management to be spot on for the second half, but Boston made life a little easier for them by completely failing to get any sort of foothold in the game. AS the minutes passed, Lynn grew stronger: Chris Henderson covered every blade of grass while Richards purred alongside him. Marriott and Gash worried the life out of the Boston defence and it was little real surprise when the pair of them combined to make it 3-0 with 10 minutes to go. They received a huge dollop of help from Crook, whose woeful goal-kick went straight to Marriott some 35 yards out.
Marriott headed into the right side of the area and could easily have taken on the shot, but saw Gash in the middle and slid it into his path. Gash thumped it over the line and celebrated in front of more than 400 travelling supporters.
It was just left for Lynn to see pout the game, but by then it was a much easier task: Boston were out on their knees.
Boston: Crook, Middleton, Whittle, Platt, Ainge, Shiels, Woolford (Thewlis 68), Abbott, Wright, Knowles, Southwell (Rollins 61). Subs: Jackson, Wafula, Willis. Booking: Aigne
King's Lynn Town: Street, Jones, Fox, Jarvis, Barrows, McAuley, Kelly (Carey 20), Richards, Gash, Marriott, Henderson. Subs not used: Limb, Ward, Hawkins,Payne. Booking: Barrows, Gash
Goals: Marriott 28, Richards 45, Gash 80
Ref: Scott Simpson
Att: 2,360 (458 Lynn)