Has Culverhouse lost the magic touch at Lynn?

King's Lynn skipper Michael Clunan during the National League game against Aldershot

Michael Clunan looks to the skies after a first-half shot went close - Credit: Ian Burt

Ian Culverhouse has worked wonders as King’s Lynn Town boss – but his magic wand has disappeared. 

No longer is the one-time Premier League player and coach able to get a tune out of his players. 

The defeat at home to Aldershot was greeted with boos and one or two loud and angry voices from the terraces. Lynn fans have loved the Culverhouse years, but even the man himself seems to acknowledge that the writing is on the wall. 

It may be that owner Stephen Cleeve will decide not to push the man who has led the team, bar a six-month break, since February 2017. The finances of sacking him may dictate the possible next move or, at least, how it is worded, especially as Culverhouse signed a new contract in January that doesn’t expire until the end of the 2022-23 season. 

King's Lynn manager Ian Culverhouse during the National League game against Aldershot

Ian Culverhouse gives some instructions from the sidelines - Credit: Ian Burt

The manager’s dissection of Saturday’s defeat was pretty simple: defended well, but lacked any bite at the other end of the pitch. It wasn’t far wrong. But in the end it may not matter. The real question is how to turn this horrendous season around – and whether Culverhouse is the man to do it. 

Post-match, he was spoke frankly about the situation. 

Asked whether talks with the owner were on the agenda immediately after the game, he said: "I presume so, I would think he will be knocking on the door very soon to see what is going on."

Lynn were spared any relegation issues last season, a campaign effectively rendered meaningless for many teams by Covid. Loan players and freebies were recruited as Lynn hobbled through to the end. Saturday’s performance was at times an unpleasant reminder of those dark footballing days. 

King's Lynn Town's Gold Omotayo during the National League game against Aldershot

Gold Omotayo cuts a dejected figure at full-time - Credit: Ian Burt

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Luis Fernandez’s back spasms in the warm-up ruled him out as yet another defender’s name was added to the treatment room queue, yet it was the backline that performed well. The problems are up front where Lynn were, frankly, awful on a day when their performance mirrored the conditions – awful. 

Brett McGavin swung in some superb crosses, yet the willingness to attack the ball was shamefully missing. 

Skipper Michael Clunan was the only player to get an effort on target – a rasping early effort from 20 yards that keeper Laurie Walker tipped around his right post. 

Lynn had the wind at their backs, but only a few had fire in their bellies. The second half was harder going as Storm Arwen refused to buckle. 

King's Lynn Town's new signing Ken Charles during the National League game against Aldershot

New signing Ken Charles is sent flying - Credit: Ian Burt

Just when it looked like Lynn might be keeping a clean sheet for the first time this season, Aldershot struck, Alfie Whittingham turning in Michael Njodi’s low ball across the area. 

Lynn went hell for leather in search of an equaliser, but the punch was gone: Michael Gyasi volleyed horribly high from close range and Joshua Barrett pulled one a yard wide. 

King's Lynn Town's Kyle Callan=McFadden during the National League game against Aldershot

Kyle Callan-McFadden giving everything for the cause - Credit: Ian Burt

“We were very poor today going forward,” said Culverhouse. “We had three free-kicks in the first half that go out the back of the 18-yard box - that can’t happen.  

“I thought the back four played really well and defended really well and the midfield battled, but going forward we were lacking in quality and strength up there. 

King's Lynn Town's Kyle Callan-McFadden during the National League game against Aldershot

Kyle Callan-McFadden applauds the fans at full-time - Credit: Ian Burt

“I thought it was a poor game – conditions were shocking. There was nothing in the game.” 

Next up is bottom side Dover, at home, in a fortnight’s time. Another must-win – for whoever is in charge. 

King's Lynn Town: P Jones, Bowry, McFadden, Clunan, Omotayo, Gyasi, Linton (Charles 54), McGavin, A Jones, Sundire (Bird 69), Iontton (Barrett 49).  
Aldershot: L Walker, Kinsella, Whittingham, Andrews (Vennings 90), Oxlade-Chamberlain, Glover, Jordan, Sylla, Saunders (Ndjoli 72), Willard, Gubbins. Subs not used: M Walker, Berkeley-Agyepong, Gorma. Goal: Whittingham 81 
Attendance: 785 

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