King’s Lynn joint boss craves home FA Vase draw
NORTON & STOCKTON 0, KING'S LYNN 1: Courage in adversity was the hallmark of King's Lynn's march into the last 16 of the FA Vase.
Town travelled to Teeside with injury doubts over a trio of influential players but returned with a place in today's fifth round draw at FA headquarters.
Robbie Harris poached the only goal of the game after the Linnets had withstood a ferocious early onslaught from the Northern League hosts.
Young keeper Alex Street proved a stubborn last line of defence on a murky day fit for artisans rather than artists. Town joint boss Gary Setchell now has just one wish after four away ties in the prestigious national competition.
'Anyone at home,' he said. 'Maybe not a Northern League team, although we'd even take one of those at The Walks. We'd take one of the UCL sides at home - that is for certain - because we know what we are up against. Coming up here was a bit of an unknown quantity.
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'I knew they would be good but not how good the standard can be. If they are only sixth in their league then there are some good sides. They were the best we have played this season and we won't have a harder tie. At home I'm sure we could have taken the game to them a bit more but they ran us and passed it and we defended for our lives. I still think we deserved the win for our effort, our know how, our resilience, because sometimes there is two sides to football – and we had to show the other side.'
Setchell and fellow joint boss Kevin Boon endured a torturous second half watching from the sidelines, but, in truth, Ancients' early fire subsided after Harris' strike.
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'It was horrible,' he said. 'Seconds seem like minutes. Minutes like hours. You ask how long and it's about 12 minutes. It feels like ten minutes have gone by and you ask again and they say ten minutes left. It's out of your control, but I have said it recently that we are signing players now who give us an extra bit of backbone and that rubs off on everyone else.
'Ross Watson has headed one away towards the end which is like scoring a goal at the other end. That is why we got him to the football club. He improves us and I thought Bully (Dan Buhlemann) was superb alongside him. Myself and Kevin have said all along we will get better and we are and if we turn up in the next round we can beat anybody. To have people like (Steve) Spriggs, (Martin) McNeil and (Chris) Bacon on the bench shows what a good squad we have and how good the players in the side are playing.'
Top scorer and captain Jack Defty typified Lynn's resolve after the 28-goal striker had limped out of the club's midweek Norfolk Senior Cup quarter-final success at Wroxham.
'He was genuinely touch and go,' said Setchell. 'We didn't know if he would last five minutes or the whole game but we had to take the risk and it was one well worth taking because I felt he was absolutely superb. They couldn't handle him and his defending from set pieces was also invaluable. He probably headed away 60% of the balls that went into our box and he is a size, a presence and we are lucky to have him.
'What an unbelievable week. We talk about pivotal stages in a season and it could have gone the wrong way. We could have lost to Wroxham, we could have lost here but obviously with the St Neots league game now just around the corner we will go there with so much confidence.'
• Norton & Stockton: Provett, Furness (Brown, 73), Bishop, Baker, Gaston, Alderson, Huggins, Gott, Clarke, Owens (N Mulligan, 45), Earl (Richards, 73). Subs (not used): D Mulligan, Lawson.
• King's Lynn: Street, Bexfield, Alsop, L Thurlbourne, Watson, Buhlemann, White, Doherty (Spriggs, 61), Defty, Harris (Bacon, 67), J Thurlbourne. Subs (not used): McNeil, Moriera, Hails.
• Goal: Harris (30)
• Referee: M McGrath (East Yorks)
• Attendance: 249