Evo-Stik Premier Division: King’s Lynn Town 1, Grantham Town 0
- Credit: IAN BURT
A rare goal from Jordan Yong helped the Linnets avoid an FA Cup hangover to settle a dour affair at The Walks tonight.
The left-back's 84th-minute winner was only the fourth shot on target during a match which had looked destined to remain goalless – unlike Saturday's five-goal thriller which Lynn won to reach the penultimate qualifying round.
Lynn's Sam Mulready and Ryan Fryatt, along with Grantham's Michael Towey, were the only players to have efforts on target until Yong finally broke the deadlock. David Bell slipped in the pacy defender and the 24-year-old fired home at the second time of asking to get his name on the scoresheet for the first time this term.
The superb Henry Eze's back-post header in time added on was just as important in ensuring Lynn picked up all three points mind. The giant centre-half climbed majestically to take the ball off Tom Batchelor as he prepared to give his team a point for their efforts.
Gary Setchell had decided to make two changes from the side that squeezed Lancaster City out of England's premier knockout competition at the weekend. Ross Watson and Jake Jones – both thought to be struggling with niggling injuries – were replaced by Eze and David Bridges.
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Saturday's star man Steve Spriggs continued where he left off by creating the first half's best sighter just three minutes in when his cross found Mulready at the back post. The striker's header was palmed back out into the danger area by keeper Dan Haystead whose fine work opened the door for Michael Frew. However – much to the anger of Lynn's frontman and his team-mates – the former Lowestoft hitman appeared to be kicked in the face as he ducked to pounce and the chance came to nothing.
Eze nodded a powerful effort wide as Lynn continued to up the ante early on. Yet the Gingerbreads soon found a foothold in the game without troubling the home goal.
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Mulready, who may have hurt himself, was withdrawn with 10 minutes left of the opening period as Setchell moved things about. It released George Thomson to get closer to Frew and he fizzed a couple of tries off target. Jake Jones poked wide from inside the six-yard-box as the absence of end product showed no signs of slowing.
The lack of goalmouth excitement continued well into the second period as Linnets' keeper Alex Street raced off his line to smother Jordan Hempenstall's hopes of becoming the match-winner. At the other end, Frew, Spriggs and Thomson all tried their luck to no avail.
A golden opportunity was going to come and when it arrived Ben Fairclough fluffed his lines. With the whole goal to aim at he lobbed the ball over Lynn's on-rushing keeper only to watch in horror as it ballooned over the crossbar. Fryatt had a header saved, Towey scuffed a shot into Street's arms, but it was Yong's finish – only his fifth during his 158th appearance – which ensured the hosts wrapped up their fourth Walks' win on the bounce.
Lynn (4-4-2): Street, Ramm, Fryatt, Eze, Yong, Spriggs (Watson, 85), Thomson (Quigley, 74), Bridges, Bell, Frew, Mulready (Mulready, 34). Subs not used: Stocker, Pearson. Booked: Ramm, Bridges. Goal: Yong (84)
Grantham (4-4-2): Haystead, Purcicoe, Meikle (Lewis, 79), Batchelor, Watt, Wilson, Dickens (McGovern, 68), Towey, Hempenstall, Simmons, Johnson (Fairclough, 46). Subs not used: Smith, Turner. Booked: Fairclough, Purcicoe. Goal: None
Referee: N. Phillips