King’s Lynn 3, Rothwell 0
King's Lynn laboured past bottom club Rothwell tonight at The Walks to bring up a century of UCL Premier Division points.
Chris Bacon finally broke the deadlock on the hour mark with a fearsome close range volley before top scorer Jack Defty notched his 44th of the campaign with a far post header and Pat Bexfield wrapped up the win with a mazy run in stoppage time.
Rothwell's keeper Dan Walters defied Town in the first half but Lynn failed to attack with quite so much relish after the break in their third match in five days.
Lynn's latest win cut the gap at the summit to four points on already crowned champions St Neots ahead of this weekend's seasonal finale.
'The lads have now reached a 100 points which is an achievement in itself,' said joint boss Gary Setchell. 'We haven't won the league but we're building for next year now and we tried one or two things towards the end of this game with that in mind against a buoyant Rothwell.
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'We had three games in five days, kept three clean sheets and scored 13 goals. We have to be happy. It was such a lull after the big games we had but we are getting through it and hopefully we can end up with 103 points. If we win Saturday that is 15 points out of 15 since the St Neots defeat. We were hoping they might slip up but they are a good side. They didn't and they are worthy champions.
'I said again to the boys before this game we didn't lose this league against St Neots, we lost it against the lesser sides away from home. But this has been a massive learning experience for us and we still have the Norfolk Senior Cup final ahead of what we hope are bigger things for the club next season.'
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Town made four changes to their starting line up from the Easter Monday win over Holbeach. Ross Watson returned from suspension along with Martin McNeil and Danny Buhlemann in a new look defence. Ryan Fryatt dropped out ahead of Saturday's Norfolk U18 County FA final at Stoke's Britannia Stadium. Watson slotted in at right-back with Bexfield pushed into central midfield alongside Danny White. Buhlemann and McNeil were partnered in central defence with Brady Stone named on the bench along with Luke Thurlbourne. Bacon partnered Defty up front after Tom Barnes was ruled out for the rest of the season with ankle and knee ligament damage.
Matt Redding headed at Alex Street inside the opening minute from Phil Cox's corner in a bright start from the strugglers.
Spriggs hammered over on the volley from Jamie Thurlbourne's pinpoint cross with Lynn pushing the visitors' back. Jamie Alsop then popped up on his opposite flank to craft a teasing centre which Jack Defty headed over eight yards out.
Dan Walters foiled Defty with a stunning point blank block after the big man powered onto Spriggs' cut back inside the Rothwell six yard box. Spriggs embarrassed Jim Whitmore tight to the right byline but Walters parried his ambitious strike from an acute angle.
Bacon's shot on the run flew just over Walters' bar with Town continuing to dictate. Spriggs controlled Jamie Thurlbourne's crossfield ball but drilled against the base of Walters' far upright on 19 minutes.
Alsop latched onto White's weighted pass but Walters reacted sharply to pat away at the feet of Defty. Walters then parried Watson's piledriver from just inside the Rothwell box after the defender had ventured forward.
The overworked Walters then went full to push away Bacon's curling right-footer before Defty wastefully lobbed over in the closing seconds after Spriggs had again escaped the attentions of Whitmore.
The excellent Walters failed to re-appear for the second half - Ash Foulger replacing the injured stopper.
Spriggs tried to test the new keeper when he controlled Bacon's swinging shot but struck the side netting. Watson's ambitious 40 yard whackailed into the Hospital End from Spriggs' cute layoff. White and Defty combined sharply on the edge of the Rothwell box but the overlapping Watson fired tamely at Foulger. Bacon's miscued header dropped for Foulger after Spriggs raced clear down the right. Cox was stretchered off just before the hour mark with an apparent head injury after bravely throwing himself in the way of Watson's intended cross.
Bacon finally broke Rothwell's resistance shorlty after the resumption with a volley hammered into the roof of the net six yards out after he had instantly controlled Jamie Thurlbourne's cross.
Defty held off Nicky Kingsnorth but his left foot strike brushed the side netting. Adam Reeve replaced Bacon on 65 minutes for his first senior action since a brace in the League Cup home win over Irchester. Jamie Thurlbourne was shown the first caution of the night after hanging a leg out in front of George Parker as the Rothwell defender cleared his lines.
Defty's clip with the outside of his left peg freed Reeve but the youngster drove straight at Foulger.
Defty put the result beyond doubt on 86 minutes when he rose at the back post to despatch Jamie Thurlbourne's cross. Bexfield slalomed his way through a tiring visiting defence deep into stoppage time to lash past Foulger for a third.
• King's Lynn: Street (Johnson 86), Watson, McNeil, Buhlemann, Alsop (L Thurlbourne 68), Bexfield, Spriggs, White, Defty, Bacon (Reeve 64), J Thurlbourne. Subs (not used): Stone, Doherty.
• Goals: Bacon (60), Defty (86), Bexfield (90)
• Booking: J Thurlbourne
• Rothwell: Walters (Foulger 45), Torrence, Whitmore, Parker, Kingsnorth, Roberts, Cox (Smith 57), Redding, Newman, Ielapi, Hillyer. Sub (not used): Deacon.
• Referee: S Gray (Lincs)
• Attendance: 523