King’s Lynn 4, Northampton Spencer 1
Town eased to a routine UCL Premier Division win today against a dogged Northampton Spencer at The Walks.
Braces from top scorer Jack Defty and Steve Spriggs sealed a workmanlike win with Spencer's excellent striker Lewis Haycock grabbing a second half consolation for his efforts.
Defty slotted his 27th goal of the season on 11 minutes before Spriggs slammed home a quickly-taken free kick.
Defty effectively sealed the points on 55 minutes but Haycock pounced on some slack Lynn marking before Spriggs capped another strong home display on 87 minutes.
Town's New Year arrival Chris Bacon returned at the expense of Robbie Harris to the Linnets' starting line up in a powerful attacking spearhead alongside captain Defty.
Kieran Doherty and Dan Buhlemann retained their places after impressive second half cameos in the comeback FA Vase win at Beckenham – Martin McNeil and Danny White dropping to the bench.
Jamie Thurlbourne tested Pete Smith with a swinging left footer from outside the box that flew wide in the early stages.
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Bacon swivelled onto Spriggs cut back six yards out but lifted over into the Tennyson Road end in a positive sign of intent from the hosts.
Luke Thurlbourne's speculative effort hit Joe Marrell before the Spencer number four cleared at the second attempt in the blustery conditions.
Bacon cut inside Luke Pritchard before rolling across the face of the box for Defty to calmly slot past the grounded Smith on 11 minutes.
Smith flapped at Jamie Thurlbourne's inswinging corner seconds later but the Spencer stopper was bailed out by his defence in the crowded goal mouth.
The overworked Smith then tipped over Spriggs' effort with the visitors at full stretch. Doherty was denied by the assistant's flag on 19 minutes when he sidefooted home Defty's teasing cross from close range.
Haycock looked a useful outlet on the counter for the visitors with Lynn forced back midway through the half after their bright opening. Haycock turned inside Spriggs but dragged wide from the edge of the Linnets' box in a sign of growing confidence from the Greens.
Spriggs tricked his way past Luke Pritchard before producing a peach of a cross from the right that the diving Bacon was inches from connecting with at the back post.
Jamie Thurlbourne was moving off his left wing in search of work and Town's creative spark picked out Bacon's run in behind but Alan Deakin was across swiftly. Bacon headed a sharp chance at Smith from close range from the resulting corner. The free-running Bacon stretched Northampton again but Ryan Nash made a decisive challenge.
Luke Thurlbourne was involved in a minor flashpoint on 33 minutes when the grounded John Burdett's tackle from behind angered Bacon – prompting a spat a melee that needed the officials to restore order.
Bacon and Pritchard both went into the referee's notebook before Jamie Thurlbourne's flighted free kick on the restart was cleared.
Defty rose through a crowd of players but directed Jamie Thurlbourne's corner at Smith with Lynn continuing to boss possession and territory.
Spriggs swept home from point blank range on 41 minutes after Jamie Thurlbourne and Bacon caught Spencer sleeping at a quickly-taken free kick wide on the left.
Skipper Haycock almost reduced the arrears two minutes later when he rifled a 25 yard kick against the outside of Alex Street's left-hand upright with the Town stopper beaten. Smith went full length to parry away Spriggs' left footer with Town looking to secure the points before the break.
Defty notched his second of the campaign on 55 minutes with a right footed curler from the edge of the area past Smith after fending off Deakin.
Town's management then rang the changes with a trio of substitutions around the hour mark – no doubt with next week's cup double header in mind. Spriggs curled wide from long range before Defty's strike was gathered at the second attempt by Smith. The impressive Haycock was rewarded for indecision in the Linnet's backline when he waltzed around Street to slot on 73 minutes.
Haycock's ambitious 30 yard free kick then flew over with Spencer warming to the task. Lynn substitute Nelson Moreira saw his first strike blocked by Smith but teed the follow up for Spriggs who lifted over from 10 yards.
Street had to save smartly with his legs to foil Haycock after the pacy frontman had again evaded the Linnets' defence. Spriggs calmed any home nerves when he lashed home again from close range on 87 minutes after good work down the right from Defty.
• King's Lynn: Street, Bexfield, Alsop, L Thurlbourne (White, 68), Buhlemann, Watson (McNeil, 61), Spriggs, Doherty, J Defty, Bacon (Moriera, 56), J Thurlbourne. Subs (not used): Harris, Johnson.
Goals: Defty (11, 55), Spriggs (41, 87)
• Northampton Spencer: P Smith, Nash, Pritchard (Hancock, 74), Marrell (Anger, 66), Deakin, S Smith, Burdett, Cassidy, Haycock, Bushall, Betts. Sub (not used): Naylor.
Goal: Haycock (73)
• Bookings: S Smith, Pritchard, Watson
• Attendance: 711
• Referee: A Sharrock (Lincs)