Linnets return empty-handed from long haul north

Michael Gash Picture: Ian Burt

Michael Gash returned for the Linnets at Hartlepool - Credit: Ian Burt

King’s Lynn Town’s travel sickness struck again as they went down 2-0 at Hartlepool United in the National League. 

The Linnets were undone by Luke Armstrong, who bagged a goal in each half on his debut after signing on loan from Salford. 

Lynn did have a golden opportunity to get back into the game, but striker Adam Marriott missed an open goal and the visitors never recovered. 

Manager Ian Culverhouse named striker Michael Gash in his starting line-up for the first time this season. It was one of four changes, with Marriott, Tai Fleming and Sonny Carey starting, while Ryan Jarvis, Simon Power and Kairo Mitchell were all on the bench and Cameron King not included. 

The hosts had the better of the early stages, certainly in terms of possession, with Chris Smith getting his body in the way of a Mark Shelton effort and Joe Grey chesting the ball wide of Archie Mair’s left post. 

Lynn were using their numbers well, with five men strung across the back off, but they began to settle and weathered the early storm. 

Marriott did well to rob Timi Odusina in the left channel as the former Norwich City player slipped – and then threw himself at the striker’s legs, upending him. The referee waved play on, much to Marriott’s bemusement – and Odusina’s relief. 

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But just as Lynn had settled, Pools struck with 22 minutes gone when Lewis Cass played a ball in from the right wing, Armstrong got to it and forced a superb close-range save from Mair, only to poke home the rebound. 

It signalled a better spell from the hosts, their best work coming down their right flank, with Armstrong the thorn in the side in the penalty area. 

Home keeper Ben Killip – another former Norwich City youngster who had loans spells at Lynn and Lowestoft Town – was forced into his first save not long before the interval, pushing away Marriott’s shot from 10 yards. 

Seven minutes into the second half the Cass-Armstrong combination did its stuff again, the ball coming in low from the right, and Armstrong slipping it past Mair from close range. 

Culverhouse made a triple change on 59 minutes, with Jamar Loza replacing Brown, Power for Carey and Mitchell for Gash. 

Lynn were indebted to Mair for a brilliant save from Nicky Featherstone to keep Lynn in the game, but at the other end, Loza played in Marriott who had a near open goal but somehow skewed the ball wide from eight yards. 

Adam Marriott. Picture: Ian Burt

Adam Marriott missed a golden opportunity at Hartlepool - Credit: Ian Burt

It was a golden opportunity missed - and Lynn were never able to get back into the game. 

Hartlepool: Killip, Cass, Ferguson, Odusina, Johnson, Shelton, Featherstone, Holohan, Oates (Bunney 70), Grey (Molyneux 74), Armstrong (Bloomfield 90). Subs not used: Ofosu,  Donaldson 

Goals: Armstrong 22, 52 

King's Lynn Town: Mair, Barrows, Callan-McFadden, Fleming, Smith, Brown (Loza 59), Clunan, Richards, Carey (Power 59), Gash (Mitchell 59), Marriott. Subs not used: Jarvis, Southwell