King’s Lynn have a second chance to make amends
Not everyone in life is lucky enough to get a second chance.
King's Lynn's battle-weary squad have 90 minutes, potentially more, to resurrect their FA Vase dream this coming weekend at The Walks.
Coalville were good, Lynn were poor for large spells of this semi-final, first leg and the cold realisation Town failed to do themselves justice will cut deeper than comprehensive defeat to the well-drilled Midland Alliance outfit.
Ravens' frontmen Matthew Moore and two-goal hero Jerome Murdock are as good a strike pair as you will find nationwide at this level of the non-league pyramid.
They didn't need two gift-wrapped presents from a porous Linnets' backline in what could prove a defining 15 minute spell just after half-time at Owen Street. Coalville centre-back Luke Miveld had already powered the hosts in front prior to the break but Lynn were still well in the contest despite fading after a bright start.
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'I don't need to tell the lads because they are as disappointed as I am,' said Linnets' joint boss Gary Setchell, himself a former defender of some note. 'We just didn't click defensively at all and when you play for King's Lynn you have to defend better than that. It's disappointing that individual errors have cost us dearly and for lads who have done so well all season it's hard to come out and pick out individuals.
'The tie's not over but we've given ourselves a huge task. Coalville, to be fair, were better than us on the day but to give them the goals we gave them was criminal. For the first goal, we could have stopped the cross coming in. For the second, the lad has run past three or four tackles and the third goal is just calamitous. The centre-half has let the ball bounce, totally missed the flight of the ball, and the lad has gone through and scored. Whether you are UCL level, FA Vase semi-final level or schoolboy level you can't give goals away like that.'
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Coalville attacked with venomous intent all afternoon. The towering Moore a constant presence with Murdock in close attendance but it was centre back Miveld who connected sweetly with a near post header to break the deadlock.
Steve Spriggs was inches from dragging Town level before the interval when he tried valiantly to divert Luke Thurlbourne's angled cross after Pat Bexfield pounced on Ashley Brown's weak clearance.
Moore carried the fight again on the restart. Levering Bexfield off the ball to control keeper Sean Bowles' punt but curling wide of Alex Street's left-hand upright.
Ryan Robins slalomed through three attempted Lynn tackles down the left before picking out Murdock to rifle past Street from close range. Worse was to come. Lynn's defence parted to allow Murdock time and space to control another Bowles punt to slot underneath Street. Coalville's vociferous home support celebrated with their goalscorer. The Ravens' management and substitutes poured out of their technical area. It felt a long way from The Walks – but that is where Lynn must seek redemption.
'As a team, as a group we didn't do the job,' said Setchell. 'Coalville are 3-0 up and we need an early goal at The Walks to make it interesting again.
'I felt if we could get one here towards the end we could overturn 2-0. If we can start with the same intensity we showed in the final quarter then we have a chance in the game.
'We can win the game – to win 3-0 is going to be difficult – but that will be interesting to see how Coalville react if we do get an early goal because they might start to get jittery as we did here and we can capitalise on that.'
Town had fair penalty appeals waved away late on when Spriggs went down before Robbie Harris' strike was disallowed for offside. There was a palpable air of despondency at full-time as they trooped to the sanctuary of the away dressing room.
Setchell is confident Town's management team can raise shattered confidence for the immediate task of tomorrow night's UCL Premier Division home test against Yaxley.
In the midst of FA Vase gloom, there is still a title and promotion at stake.
'I'm not worried about the weekend because there is still a chance of Wembley for those lads,' he said. 'You shouldn't need to get them up again. The job will be getting them up for Yaxley at home. We've had a great seven and a half months, but in football that doesn't count for anything.
'We have to make sure we keep pressing on all fronts and get some silverware – whether it be in the league or trying to beat Coalville in the FA Vase or the Norfolk Senior Cup.
'Mine and Kevin's (Boon) job is to pick the players up. You never know in football. I've been involved in games when you are 3-0 down at half-time and win 4-3. We have a full match.
'We are 18 out of 18 at The Walks so there is every chance we can win the game and hopefully get the three goals we need.'