King’s Lynn in the mood for St Neots tests
King's Lynn 3, Peterborough NS 1
Town joint boss Gary Setchell believes the best is yet to come after watching Lynn wear down a stubborn Peterborough Northern Star to step up their UCL Premier Division title bid.
Jamie Thurlbourne's first half brace and Jack Defty's 30th of the campaign cancelled out Avelino Viera's leveller to secure a tenth consecutive home league win. Town's latest victory closed the gap on main rivals St Neots ahead of next weekend's first league meeting before the Saints head to Norfolk the following Saturday for an FA Vase fifth round tie. Setchell is confident Town's troops are ready for the imminent challenges ahead.
'It's down to four points and we have to go there next week,' he said. 'I said earlier in the season I felt 100 points is a possible league-winning target and I've explained that to the players as we went along. We hit the half century after our 20th game at Holbeach in midweek and I think we are better now than we were in August. We are stronger, we are more resilient, we have gelled and the team spirit is there.
'I think we can have a better second half to the season than we did the first. Every game is a cup final. We're not looking towards St Neots. It's Deeping on Tuesday first. The bigger games will look after themselves. It's the likes of Holbeach away when you have to apply yourselves properly to get the right results and we are doing that.'
Skipper Defty's goalscoring prowess is key to Lynn's league and cup chances over an exciting run in after reaching his own personal landmark with a clinical volley.
'I'll be surprised if he has scored a better goal than that in the 30,' said Setchell. 'It was an unbelievable finish to have the skill to lean back on his right foot and hit it on his weaker side and see it thunder in the bottom corner. If you saw that on the television you would say it was a top, top finish.
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'I set Jack a target at the start of the season and challenged him to get 30 or 40 goals. The way the boy plays, there isn't many games he'll go without scoring and he scores all types. He can get you a scruffy goal, good goals, headers, you name it. Like I said before he is a massive player for us and he is a huge asset for this club.'
Northern Star's truculence has rapidly become a common theme at The Walks.
'We expect teams to come here and make life difficult for us,' said Setchell. 'No side will want to come and lay down and the longer the season goes on the more this becomes their cup final. I thought the atmosphere was the best I've heard it this season. There was a lot of noise, the crowd got behind us and they saw a good football match.
'The goal we conceded was disappointing because from our corner ten seconds later we are picking the ball out of the net. They had an extra man in midfield and we took the gamble to stay with our two wide men. Spriggsy (Steve Spriggs) was getting a lot of joy down the right and obviously Jamie got his two goals so we tried to keep getting the ball out wide with our two against three in the middle. It paid off and, second half, when we got the ball into wide areas and down the channels we bossed the match.'
King's Lynn: Street, Bexfield, Alsop, Buhlemann, Watson, L Thurlbourne (Doherty 78), Spriggs, White, Defty, Harris (Bacon 66), J Thurlbourne (Livotti 83). Subs (not used): McNeil, Hails.
Goals: J Thurlbourne (8, 43), Defty (67)
PNS: Conroy, Morris, Bloodworth, Dean (Glover 88), Jones, Bird, Nyang, Baines, Viera (Clements 66), Stead, Moreman. Subs (not used): Woods, Dobson.
Bookings: Jones, Morris, Dean
Goal: Viera (12)
Referee: P Gooadacre (Lincs)