Clunan at the double as Linnets make hard work of home victory
- Credit: Tony Thrussell
King's Lynn Town stretched their unbeaten run to 19 games – but made hard work of it after a 3-2 win over Barwell.
Manager Ian Culverhouse wanted his team to improve their home form, which they did, but there were one or two nervous moments in the latter stages, by which time Lynn should have had this Southern Premier Central game sewn up.
Indeed, it looked all over at half-time, when Lynn led 2-0 and looked to be cruising, only for the visitors to refuse to lie down. They pulled a goal back and while Lynn widened the margin again, Barwell had an answer. Unfortunately for them, they didn't have enough about them to grab an equaliser.
Assistant manager Paul Bastock admitted Culverhouse's post-match dressing room talk had included some stern words.
'They came and made it difficult for us and the referee made life very difficult for us, but at the end of the day three points is three points,' said Bastock. 'We made it very hard work for ourselves, we should have defended both goals better. They have had a bit of a blasting in there but also the gaffer has given them a hit of praise as well because obviously that is 19 unbeaten.'
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That run looked safe as Lynn controlled the opening half, with their goals coming from free-kicks in a near identical position.
The first was on 16 minutes came when Frazer Blake-Tracy's low, left-footed free-kick from around 25 yards was spilled by keeper Liam Castle and Adam Marriott pounced to poke it home from close range - his 12th goal of the season.
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Lynn doubled their lead on the half-hour mark when Blake-Tracy and skipper Michael Clunan stood over the ball for another free-kick. This time Clunan took charge and put the ball out of Castle's reach.
Barwell made changes for the second half, and they paid off - the visitors looked better, without looking world-beaters. Dominic Brown-Hill was given too much time on 71 minutes and put the ball on the head of sub Edward Nisevic, who got between the defenders to halve the deficit.
Two minutes later, Lynn went 3-1 up when Ryan Hawkins was upended in the area and Clunan got his second from the penalty spot.
It was two minutes which should have alerted Lynn to keep well away from danger, but having spurned good positions in the Barwell area, they again fell victim to Brown-Hill's accuracy as he sent in a free-kick from the right which Brad Hickey headed home.
Referee Hancock will have made few friends with his unusual handling of the game, but in the end Lynn were comfortable, if slightly bruised, winners.
They head to Hitchin – who beat leaders Stourbridge 2-1 - on Wednesday when they will include another new signing, Will Mellors-Blair. The 26-year-old front man studied in America and has played for Carlton Town, Solihull Moors, Halesowen Town and Coalville Town, ending last season with Long Eaton United.
King's Lynn: Street, Kerins, Blake-Tracy (Hawkins 61), Jarvis, Robinson, McAuley, Clunan, Henderson, Gash, Marriott, Parker (Fryatt 52). Subs not used: Richards, Bastock. Goals: Marriott 16, Clunan 30, 73 pen.
Barwell: Castle, Percival, Putman, Reuben-Desrosiers, Eze, Julien, Blackmore (Revan 46), Tomkinson (Nisevic 46), Dwyer, Hickey, Brown-Hill. Subs not used: Davidson-Miller, Cross. Goals: Nisevic 71, Hickey 84.
Ref: T Hancock (Ely).