‘We were outstanding, we really were’ - delight for Linnets boss
Ifs, buts and maybes – the stuff of football's dreamers, and those looking for excuses.
But it's sometimes hard to look at the Linnets and wonder what might have been had that horrible first few weeks of the season not been a nightmare.
Summer's change of management didn't work and it took the departure of Simon Clark, the excellent temporary stewardship of Robbie Back and Neil Fryatt and then the surprise return of Ian Culverhouse at the beginning of November for the stars to align. Now, Lynn find themselves third in the table, bang in the middle of a huge play-off battle – but playing the stuff of champions.
Coalville came to The Walks with memories still fresh of a bruising and spiteful encounter at their place earlier in the season. They strutted in, their coaches bristling with bravado. An hour and a half later they skulked off, tails between their legs, having been taught a footballing lesson after a 4-1 defeat.
Michael Clunan's missed penalty proved to be one of two blips: the second came when the visitors equalised through Andrew Wright four minutes after Chris Henderson's opener on 27 minutes, nicely teed up by Adam Marriott. Frazer Blake-Tracy clipped in a cross for Michael Gash to head home just before half-time, but any sting Coalville had disappeared 27 seconds after the break when Gash and Marriott worked it well for Henderson to thunder home a brilliant second. Marriott's late penalty was the icing on the cake.
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And in the goal scorers you have the reason why Lynn fans might be asking, what if? What if Marriott and Henderson (both brought in by Back and Fryatt) had joined in the summer? What if it was Culverhouse getting the best out of all three from the start?
He isn't the sort to criticise previous incumbents, but there was a nod to that opening few weeks.
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'The players know after an indifferent start they let themselves down and they know now it is on to get this club in the play-offs and if we keep producing performances like that and build and build we are going to be not too far away,' he said.
'We were outstanding, we really were, from start to finish it was a real good performance. I would say from back to front everyone - even the subs who came on, their attitude to come on and be a part of it was outstanding.'
And there's the crux: Henderson, Marriott and Gash are the headline grabbers, but they'd struggle without the engine behind them.
'The lads in the middle there put a hell of a shift in,' said Culverhouse. 'They covered really well, covered each other as well. Against teams that play that way it is all about second balls and regains and we won the majority which allowed us to get a good foothold in the game.'
Lynn: Street, Jones, Blake-Tracy, Jarvis (Parker 90), Fryatt, McAuley, Clunan, Richards, Gash, Marriott (Mellors-Blair 90), Henderson (Hawkins 83). Subs not used: Bastock, Robinson. Goals: Henderson 27, 46, Gash 43. Marriott 89 pen.
Coalville: Walton, Dean, Thomas, Towers, Fenton, Doyle-Charles, Shaw (Omotola 60), Wright, Perry (Berridge 70), Mitchell (Burrows 70), McGlinchey. Subs not used: Coton, Browne. Goal: Wright 31.
Ref: O Morris-Sanders (Ipswich)