King’s Lynn control title destiny
ST NEOTS 2, KING'S LYNN 4: King's Lynn joint boss Gary Setchell insists Town's title destiny is back in their own hands after an historic UCL Premier Division win at main rivals St Neots.
More than 900 travelling supporters in a record crowd of 1,481 – the biggest at this level since 1971 - packed Rowley Park to watch Lynn twice come from behind.
Steve Spriggs' hat-trick and Jack Defty's 32nd of the season cancelled out ex-Linnet Lewis Webb's early penalty and former Premier League striker Stefan Moore's strike just before half-time.
Lynn can now go top tomorrow with victory at Cogenhoe if Neots fail to win at St Ives after moving to within a point of this weekend's FA Vase opponents.
'They are a good side,' said Setchell. 'They will bounce back and be even harder to beat this weekend. They'll go to St Ives full of beans but the league is in our hands now. If we win all our games, then it's ours because St Neots have to come to us and that won't be easy. If we can maintain the same intensity and stop their big players' playing again then I'm sure we're in for some fantastic games to look forward too.'
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Setchell admitted belief was the buzzword in the Linnets' camp ahead of their bid to inflict a first league defeat on the leaders in a 46-match run dating back to October 2009.
'We had to take them into the trenches,' he said. 'It was plain for everyone to see that when it went 2-2 that was the first time they'd been in this position all season. They hadn't had a team come at them, hadn't had a team who kept the ball from them and they panicked. Pedro (Alex Street) has made one save when the game was dead at 4-2. The workrate from our lads was phenomenal. We wanted it more than St Neots and I think the best team won.
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'We knew it was always going to be a mammoth task coming here but we still felt we had the players who could hurt them with Jack, Spriggsy and people like that we felt we could get at them. At half-time we said to them we didn't look like we believed it enough. I know we'd been against the wind but I said if we had a real go at them second half we can win the game.'
Fellow joint boss Kevin Boon saluted Town's travelling army.
'That crowd was worth at least a goal to us,' he said. 'In the second half the atmosphere lifted the players and they responded. They are such a massive asset to this club. Along with Spriggsy's hat-trick they are the two biggest plus points I'll take away with me.
'When that final whistle went my heart was beating so fast. I turned to Ross McNeil and said how long left towards the end. He said 12 minutes. It seemed ten at least had gone by so I said how long again and he said ten minutes. It was very, very tense even with the two goal cushion, but we were winning second balls and kept battling away.'
Setchell believes Town have assembled a squad who relish the big occasion.
'We have let ourselves down in the smaller games,' he said. 'But look at the big games when our character has been tested and those players have fought for each other. Even at 4-2 up with five minutes to go we were outworking St Neots. For me and Kevin stood on the sidelines at 3-2 up we knew the game was in the bag.
'We had even started talking about next week at one point. There was no way once we had the lead we were going to let it slip. In the first 25 minutes we did think we had a raw deal off the referee but once it went 1-1, I knew if we could hang out to half-time we could win the game. They scored a great goal from Moore, but we had showed them too much respect at that stage.'
• St Neots: Hogan, D Moore, Davis, Webb, Fuff, Fordham, Hilliard, Konadu (Davies 65), S Moore, Tolley, Jacob (Essandoh 77). Subs (not used): Gent, Hyem, Scully, Trebes.
Goals: Webb (13), Moore (42)
• King's Lynn: Street, Bexfield, Alsop, L Thurlbourne, Watson, Buhlemann, Spriggs (Doherty 75), White, Defty, Bacon (Harris 77), J Thurlbourne. Subs (not used): McNeil, Moriera, Hails.
Goals: Spriggs (32, 53, 65), Defty (60)
• Referee: G Kinnear
• Attendance: 1,481
• View Ian Burt's picture gallery from Saturday's UCL Premier Division game at St Neots only at edp24.co.uk/sport/kings-lynn-fc