Doodson Sport League Cup first round: King’s Lynn Town 1, Stamford 3
King's Lynn ended their interest in one knockout competition last night – but improved their hopes of advancing in another.
Gary Setchell rested all but a small band of his first team players as the Linnets made a not unexpected exit from the Doodson Sport League Cup to Stamford.
But with two players (Danny Beaumont and Sam Mulready) already injured, and two others (skipper Richard Bunting and centre half Phil Gulliver) beginning one-game suspensions after the weekend, the Lynn boss was clearly not taking any chances ahead of Saturday's FA Trophy first round tie at Worksop.
There was, perhaps, an element of risk in starting with goalkeeper Alex Street, who will be required for the weekend at Worksop with regular Danny Gay cup tied. He was joined by Pat Bexfield, who will also be cup tied, Jamie Thurlbourne, loan signing George Thomson and Jason Turner.
The inexperience of youth was clear to see when Gregg Smith was granted time and space to try his arm from distance, but his effort was wide, while the far more experienced Jason Turner volleyed wide from a corner at the other end.
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Lynn's youngsters were clearly keen to catch Setchell's eye, with Shaun Stocker, who has spent time at Peterborough, looking impressive in midfield. But centre-half Chris Smith, who had shown a lovely touch just a few moments earlier, was caught out on 15 minutes when he allowed Ricky Miller to leave him for dead before slipping a short pass to Gregg Smith, who beat the attempt at an offside trap and slipped the ball past Street.
It should have been two on 25 minutes, when Lynn's back four were caught flat-footed by a cross from the right, but David Staff's shot was straight at Street.
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Turner missed a sitter, glancing a header wide from five yards, but Lynn were beginning to play the better football, with little to show for it at the business end of the pitch, although good vision from Stocker set Thurlbourne up for an effort that was deflected just wide.
But on the stroke of half-time Lynn found themselves 2-0 down, and once again it was their inexperience that was exposed as Smith turned provider, with Stocker bamboozled by a one-two with Miller, who slotted past Street with some ease.
But 45 minutes had yielded nothing more than hurt pride – bodies and disciplinary restraint remained intact.
Setchell opted against any half-time changes, and within a couple of minutes Turner needed on-pitch treatment to his right ankle. He signalled to Setchell that he was happy to carry on, but there would clearly be a watching brief on the front man.
Lynn's central midfield duo, Thomson and Stocker, went off as Setchell made a double change just before the hour mark, Dan Quigley and Luke Biles coming on.
Quigley was soon in the action, heading Thurlbourne's corner just wide. Thurlbourne then drove a long-range effort wide as Lynn began to press.
Thurlbourne dropped deeper, Quigley moved up front alongside Turner, and while there were a few square pegs in round holes, Lynn were acquitting themselves well.
Setchell would have been happy to see Quigley get straight to his feet after a tackle from behind which somehow went unpunished - and probably just as happy to see McCleish brilliantly deny Miller a shooting opportunity with a perfectly-timed tackle Ward had lost possession.
Street departed with around a quarter of an hour to go as Setchell made his third change – a change which was clearly made with the FA Trophy in mind, rather than the League Cup.
Danny White pulled one back on 83 minutes, but within a minute Miller had scored his second as Lynn were caught out on the break.
• King's Lynn: Street (Johnson 75), Bexfield, Buhlemann, Ward, McLeish, White, Thomson (Quigley 57), Stocker (Biles 57), Duarte, Thurlbourne, Turner. Subs: Fryatt, Bunting. Goal: White 83
• Stamford: Finlay, Maddox, Jacklin, Cotton, Hopewell, Hamilton (Mayo 70), Staff, Brooks (Jones 68), Gibson, Miller, Smith (King 73), Subs: Arthur, Swales. Goals: Smith 15, Miller 45, 85
• Referee: G Sprague
• Attendance: 201