FA Trophy first qualifying round replay: King’s Lynn Town 5 Belper Town 1
Keith Chapman's football club pocketed £2,700 on the night he banked a key role at the head of British speedway.
The Linnets' chief was a late arrival at The Walks after being announced as the new chairman of the BSPA (British Speedway Promoters' Association). Yet he left still sporting the huge smile he entered the stadium with midway through the second period after watching Gary Setchell's side make sure of their place in the next round of the FA Trophy.
Goals from Lee Smith, Michael Clunan, Liam Hurst and a brace from substitute Toby Hilliard were enough to see off a brave lower-level Belper who impressed until they conceded their second. The scoreline may have flattered the hosts but Setchell will no doubt remain mightily pleased that when the visitors finally caved in his often shot-shy side took full advantage.
A string of wasteful displays in front of goal, including Saturday's first round draw in Derbyshire, had set up the replay in front of 376 fans. So those supporters were quick to show their appreciation when the floodgates finally opened after the break as Lynn set up a trip to same-level high-fliers Nantwich Town in the second qualifying round on November 14.
The hosts' progress hadn't always appeared like it was going to be so routine during a first half which saw lively hitman Evan Garnett cause huge problems with his sublime movement and pace.
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Smith opening his Town account had looked like it had produced the goal of the night. Ryan Fryatt's quick free quick brought Matty Castellan into play. Hurst played a clever one-two with Simon Bird, who had done outstandingly to cushion the ball down the right, and sent in a cross which his midfield colleague could barely miss.
Yet that brilliance was matched when Lee Cooksey's sublime defence-splitting pass sent Garnett away. The former Burton Albion striker made light work of rounding Alex Street before rolling the ball home to complete the slickest of equalisers.
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Jonathan Williams hit the sidenetting and Garnett was foiled by Street as the Nailers threatened to hit the front. Yet their resistance crumbled once Clunan had netted a penalty five minutes after the restart.
Lee Stevenson hit the deck as a Hurst cross flew into the centre with referee Tom Hancock pointing to the spot. Phil Watt's clumsy challenge was punished fully and from then, bar a brief period that saw the away side get in behind on a couple of occasions, Lynn's control grew.
The outstanding Hurst drifted in from the flank and deceived keeper Danny Haystead to make it three with a shot from the edge of the area that may have taken a deflection off Cooksey.
Far from playing out time and enjoying a routine triumph, Lynn continued to press and should have made it four through Stevenson. He pulled wide when being picked out expertly by Clunan.
Hilliard was less forgiving when he was set free by fellow sub Dylan Edge late on and volleyed beyond Belper's shot-stopper. His second was an even more measured finish to put the icing on the cake of a late flurry.
The one-time Dereham Town attacking talent cut in from the left and jinked past a couple of players before bending a sweet left-footed shot into the bottom corner.
Lynn: Street, Bird, Castellan, R Fryatt, L Fryatt, Clunan, Smith (Hilliard, 68), Hurst, Stevenson, Zielonka (Friend, 76), Mulready (Edge, 73). Subs not used: Bridges, Pearson.
Belper: Haystead, Shaw, Cooksey, Williams, Parker, Watt, Hemagou (Sanyang, 80), Goddard, Garnett, Kabanje, Wedderburn (Minott, 52).