King’s Lynn move into second spot
KING'S LYNN 4, BOSTON TOWN 0: Lynn wide player Steve Spriggs grabbed a first half hat-trick tonight as the Linnets' UCL title challenge gathered pace.
The hosts coasted to a league double over a Boston outfit whose only previous defeat had come against Lynn in the opening week of the campaign.
Spriggs' deflected strike on 17 minutes was the bare minimum the Linnets deserved for early domination before a superb far post header and half volley moved Lynn out of sight.
Danny White's long range effort after the break sealed an emphatic victory that delighted joint boss Gary Setchell.
'It was a good all round performance,' he said. 'We looked at the fixtures after getting beat at Deeping and we felt the next two would be tough and it wouldn't just be a case of getting the results we wanted. Some of the football we played was superb. The lads worked their socks off. We defended high up the pitch and we gave Spriggsy a run up front and he scores a hat-trick so everything went as well as we could have hoped. That's twice now we've managed to go on a run after bad defeats and it feels like we are back to where we were prior to that Deeping game.'
Setchell admitted Spriggs' starring role playing off captain Jack Defty had given the Town management plenty of food for thought.
'When myself and Kevin (Boon) watched him four or five times last season he played off a big front man and he just gives us another dimension,' said Setchell. 'He has electric pace to get in behind and he is prepared to drop into midfield to give those boys a hand. We had a look at it and it could have gone wrong and people would have been saying why have you got a couple of forwards sat on the bench but we believed in it.
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'(Kieran) Doherty gives us that natural work rate tucking in down the right hand side of midfield. Maybe that has been part of the reason we have conceded a few goals. The shape was a lot better in this game. I'm not saying we have cracked it but we restricted a Boston side who were eight unbeaten to next to nothing.'
Setchell also praised his men's professionalism after another first half stroll in front of a 600-plus crowd.
'We challenged them at half time and I said we had been here before against the likes of Irchester, Sleaford and Thrapston more recently and we had to keep going,' he said. 'We could make this game as hard or as easy as we want to. We had it won so the only thing we could do is throw it away. The lads kept going. Obviously when you make three changes and they do then the game is a little stop start but it could have been five or six. The pleasing thing is we also kept a clean sheet.'
Doherty replaced Robbie Harris in the one change to the weekend starting line up against St Ives with Spriggs pushed into a more offensive role.
Jamie Thurlbourne's teasing cross just evaded Defty at the near post in a positive sign of intent from the hosts. Doherty cut inside two but his curling left footer was grasped by James Doughty.
Lynn continued to dictate possession against a deep Boston backline and broke the dreadlock when Spriggs' strike clipped Oliver Pinner to deceive Doughty.
Danny Buhlemann misjudged Jamie Thurlbourne's inviting cross on the Boston goal line with Lynn pressing hard for a second. Doherty escaped down the right but Mark Foster hacked his driven centre away. Matthew Hocking appeared to barge Defty under the ball on 24 minutes inside the away penalty box but referee Wesley dismissed strong penalty appeals led by the Linnets' management.
Spriggs' mazy run took him clear of the Boston defence but an off balance Doherty miscued at the near post. Doughty flung himself to his right to tip Pat Bexfield's long range effort behind before Buhlemann headed tamely at Doughty from six yards out.
Adam Jackson was perfectly stationed on the goal line to smuggled clear Spriggs' goal bound sidefooter from Defty's reverse ball.
Spriggs notched his second with a nonchalant far post volley from an acute angle after Defty's header dropped to his strike partner. Doherty rifled over from Defty's weighted cut back with Lynn now in total command.
Spriggs completed his hat-trick from Bexfield's delicious cross at the back post. Spriggs went hunting a fourth on the restart but his rasping half volley flew behind with Defty causing havoc aerially. Bexfield tried his luck with an ambitious 35 yarder into the Hospital End but Jackson headed at the redundant Alex Street at the opposite end in a rare attacking foray from the visitors.
Doughty pouched Jamie Thurlbourne's dipping free kick before brother Luke warmed the over worked keeper's hands again from the edge of the box. Bexfield exchanged passes with Defty but lashed wildly over with only Doughty to beat.
Defty made way for Harris before hat-trick hero Spriggs departed to a rapturous reception to be replaced by youngster Tom Barnes. Fellow second half arrival Billy Spriggs lashed off target with Lynn playing well within their collective comfort zone. Harris was the latest home player to try his luck from long range but drove straight at Doughty.
White finally broke the second half drought with a dipping right footer from 25 yards that had Doughty grasping at thin air. Harris' near post flick was cleared off the line before White miscued the rebound. Smith then picked out Jamie Thurlbourne in stoppage time but the wideman smashed the side netting.
• King's Lynn: Street, Bexfield, Alsop, L Thurlbourne, Buhlemann, McNeil, Spriggs (Barnes 77), White, Defty (Harris 74), Doherty (Smith 65), J Thurlbourne. Subs (not used): Cubberley, Plumb.
• Goals: Spriggs (17, 38, 43), White (85)
• Boston Town: Doughty, Lambley, Hocking, Stainfield, Foster, Pinner (Foreman 77), Beck (Parker 57), Schiavi, Bull (Reeson 81), Orrey, Jackson. Subs (not used): Anderson.
• Referee: C Wesley (Lincs)
• Attendance: 642