Disappointing end to Chorley game does not mask King’s Lynn Town’s progress
- Credit: IAN BURT
Six seconds was all it took for Lynn's good work to be undone against the league leaders.
Gary Setchell's play-off hopefuls were well in a match against Chorley which looked absolutely certain to end a stalemate. But as the game reached the 75th minute, all of the Linnets' fine defending was made to count for nothing.
Magpies keeper Sam Ashton's hopeful punt forward should have been dealt with by a back four at any level – let alone a quartet that have, and at the weekend did so again, been performing excellently of late. Perhaps the windy conditions were more problematic than we realised. Because that must be the only explanation for such a poor piece of defending.
One straight ball pierced the heart of the home side's rearguard with full-back Ryan Clarke failing to cover round like he usually does so reliably. Substitute Darren Stephenson had been gifted the freedom of The Walks and he couldn't believe his luck. The frontman's fortune was helped by keeper Alex Street's hesitant movement off his line. He half came, half stopped, and moved forward again to try and stop the visitors' number 14. While he denied him initially, it wasn't enough to stop Stephenson from slotting home the rebound to put the title-challengers in front.
At 1-0, Lynn were always going to be up against it even more than they already were against a team Setchell had described as the 'champions-elect' in the build-up to the clash. Garry Flitcroft's troops have only conceded 23 goals all season in the Evo-Stik Premier Division. And they weren't about to give away another as they pressed for a second to ensure their lengthy trip back to Lancashire was an enjoyable one. Lynn loanee Charley Sanders upended Dale Whitham with just a few minutes left on the clock. His fall may have been ridiculous, but his finish was not as he stroked home to help Chorley take another stride towards the championship.
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The defeat leaves Lynn – who let's not forget are back-to-back promoted – facing an uphill battle to finish in a play-off position. But they showed more than enough for three quarters of the game to suggest they will be able to match 100pc of the sides in the league, including the best one.
Former professional David Bell showed all of his class in the first 45 minutes and if he can provide deliveries like he consistently did, Lynn's strikers will get more joy than they did against the meanest defence in the Northern Premier League.
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The game came to a close with an air of disappointment filtering around The Walks. That in itself shows how far the Linnets have come.
And even if they don't gatecrash the top five come the end of the season, we've already seen enough this term to suggest Lynn are moving in the right direction.
- To read a match report and see a photo gallery from Saturday's game, click here.