Evo-Stik Premier Division: King’s Lynn Town 0, Barwell 1
- Credit: Matthew Usher
Lynn looked set to keep their first home clean sheet for three months until Jamie Towers toe-poked a late winner.
Gary Setchell's troops had hoped to build on their 3-1 weekend win at Trafford – which realistically removed any lingering threat of being relegated from the Evo-Stik Premier Division – but it wasn't to be despite a resolute defensive display.
Centre-back Ross Watson and stand-in left-back Jake Jones, deputising for injured regular Jordan Yong, were the pick of an excellent back four showing that hadn't kept a Walks shut-out since the January 3 stalemate against Halesowen.
Yet their efforts were undone in the 86th minute when Daniel Gaunt's straight ball through the middle split the home rearguard and encouraged keeper Alex Street to charge off his line. Towers stabbed the ball past him and then beat desperate duo Watson and Ryan Fryatt in a foot race to get to the loose ball first and prod it agonisingly into a vacant net.
The strike heaped more woe on the Linnets' miserable end to a campaign which has become increasingly less enjoyable on their own turf. It's now eight matches without a win in Norfolk – for a team that were fifth at the start of November – ahead of their final Walks game of the term on April 25 against Whitby.
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The Linnets did showing attacking intent from the off – although that tempo didn't last for long – with Jacek Zielonka's switch finding Lee Stevenson. Saturday's two-goal hero released Peter Winn yet his scuffed effort dribbled into keeper Liam Castle's grateful arms.
What followed for the next half hour or so could only be described as a typical April fixture between two clubs with little to play for other than pride. It lacked any real spark with a few scrambles of sorts in the Lynn area, caused by shot-stopper Street's unconvincing attempts to gather a couple of centres, raising interest.
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Lynn's number one did do much better in the 18th minute though when he narrowed the angle excellently to deny Anthony Carney a back-post gimme. The Barwell frontman could only head wide with little of the target being left to aim for.
Visiting players Malcolm Melvin and Kieron Brehon screwed half volleys over as they tried to produce some quality while Winn's first of a couple of long-range drives was at least on target and forced Castle into a decent diving save.
The best chance to break the deadlock finally, finally arrived in the 38th minute when right-back Jackson Ramm's excellent turn and slot released Stevenson. However, the attacking talent got it all horribly wrong as he burst into the penalty box to find himself with an inviting one-on-one. Unfortunately for him, and the home faithful, the ball bobbled up as Stevo was about to pull the trigger and everyone watched in horror as he blazed well over.
It was much of the same after the interval with the game passing too many by. Barwell had the slightly better of the opening exchanges in the second period with a Jones block, and then a Street parry moments later, thwarting Towers in quick succession at the far stick.
Lynn substitute Steve Spriggs' pacy dart and resulting attempt raised some noise levels as the game threatened to liven up. They grew thanks to Jones' dogged effort to win and retain possession right under the main stand.
Melvin's half-volley aside – there were few scares for Town as a draw appeared on the horizon. That was until Towers netted. And in the end it could have been even worse for Lynn had Gaunt's injury-time foray not been halted by Street's excellence.
Lynn (4-3-3): Street, Ramm (Eze, 88), Watson, Fryatt, Jones, Marshall, Bell (Frew, 69), Quigley, Stevenson, Zielonka (Spriggs, 57), Winn. Subs not used: Stocker, Bridges. Booked: None. Goal: None.
Barwell (4-3-3): Castle, Jenno, Nisevic, Hadland, Hood, Brehon (Julian, 81), Tomkinson, Melvin, Brennan, Towers, Carney (Gaunt, 71). Subs not used: Colley, Lavery, Lower. Booked: None. Goal: Towers (86).
Referee: S Mereditch