Evo-Stik Premier Division: King’s Lynn Town 1, Matlock Town 3
- Credit: Ian Burt
Ten-man Lynn's dramatic second-half collapse saw them crash to a fourth home defeat on the bounce tonight.
Henry Eze's third-minute opener had put the Linnets in control as they looked to halt a torrid run of just three wins in 19 Evo-Stik Premier Division matches. But George Sprague's decision to send off Michael Frew in the 44th minute, for a lunge on Liam Needham that didn't look two-footed or particularly high, immediately heaped more pressure on the stuttering Walks outfit.
And despite playing well for most of the second period, Alex Street's inability to stop Jamie McDonagh's 75th-minute strike going through his hands set about a nine-minute capitulation. Danny Holland quickly pounced twice – once from the penalty spot after David Bell was bizarrely adjudged to have upended Danny Frost – to send Matlock home happy.
Mid-table Lynn on the other hand were left to trudge off knowing if they cannot shake their 2015 slump they could soon be dragged into a relegation dogfight that never seemed likely to happen just a few months ago.
Any pre-game nerves among the home faithful were hardly helped when Eze almost turned into his own net inside a minute and Muhammed Sabo headed wide. But it wasn't long before Gary Setchell's troops had something positive to build on when his same giant defender looped a header over keeper Jon Kennedy at the other end to give the hosts a precious advantage.
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It was a foothold that Lynn needed and instantly appeared to settle the men in blue and gold into the game after their shaky start. Widemen Bell and Jacek Zielonka, on his home debut, looked bright down either flank with the former stinging Kennedy's palms from distance.
In-form Matlock remained full of confidence, none more so than Sheffield United loanee McDonagh. His turn and burst created an inviting pocket of space in the final third which allowed him to test Street's reflexes. Lynn's goalie showed similar alertness when he pushed Julian Banton's flick-header away from danger.
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Trouble of a different kind arrived just before the half-time whistle blew when Frew threw himself into a challenge to try and halt Needham's advances. And it left the Linnets facing an uphill struggle as they went into the break a player light.
They held firm manfully for more than 30 minutes with only Frost getting in behind and making Street produce a save. But from the moment McDonagh levelled Setchell's downbeat players fell apart.
One became two, via Holland's emphatic finish, and it soon became three when the visitors' skipper made no mistake from the penalty spot to deepen Lynn's spiralling new-year misery.
Lynn: Street, Ramm (Spriggs, 81), Watson, Eze, Yong, Bell, Quigley, Bridges, Zielonka, Mulready, Frew. Unused: Colman, Stocker, Ward.
Matlock: Kennedy, Harcourt, Radford (Frost, 63), Meade (Kahn, 46), Sabo, Banton, Cribley, Needham, McDonagh, Holland, McManus. Unused: Maxfield, Black, Yates.
Referee: G. Sprague