McAuley’s Christmas cracker the icing on the cake for King’s Lynn Town
- Credit: Archant
King's Lynn Town extended their unbeaten league run to a dozen games as they beat high winds, driving rain, the bitter cold and a stubborn Rushall Olympic side 3-0.
Two goals in the first half, supplemented after the break by a magnificent overhead-kick third by central defender Rory McAuley also brought a smile to the face of manager Ian Culverhouse and lifted Lynn up to sixth spot in the Evo-Stik South Premier Central table.
Defenders always like a clean sheet and Culverhouse is no different, but there was also the manner of the performance, with a collective all-round effort when perhaps brawn as much as brains were vital.
The visitors had taken the game to Lynn in the opening stages, Daniel Waldron showing signs of what was to come as he proved their most dangerous outlet. The left winger could have scored, firing just over after leaving three Lynn defenders flat-footed.
But wastefulness gets punished, and that's what Lynn did, as they launched a swift break through Ryan Hawkins who saw his first shot saved but was alert enough to slot home the rebound.
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Hawkins is a confidence player – on his day no one can touch him – and Culverhouse revealed that he had had a word in the youngster's ear pre-game. The gist: you can do better. And he did.
'We had a little word with him before the game and said his levels have dropped a bit in recent performances,' said Culverhouse. 'But he was up there again today. I thought first half he looked a threat and when he's on fire the tempo and the intensity goes through and you can see the crowd gets behind him and it raises him a touch.'
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Hawkins' goal was swiftly followed by a couple of good moves both involving Adam Marriott, who finished the day without a goal, but turned in a fine performance,
Rushall pushed on to Lynn's defenders at every opportunity, trying to force the error, but McAuley and Ryan Fryatt generally stood firm. Tyler Lyttle forced Lynn keeper Alex Street into a save at his near post before Waldron again went close, curling a shot inches wide.
But Lynn were gifted their second a minute before the break when Michael Gash, his back to goal, was pushed over in the penalty area and up stepped Michael Clunan with another fine penalty kick.
Hawkins teed up Chris Henderson early in the second half but his effort was just too high,
The high wind was now accompanied by rain, but neither team showed signs of wavering: the intensity levels were high and considering the conditions, so was the entertainment value.
Rushall's pressure was met by strong home resistance, but on 74 minutes the visitors' hopes were dashed after Lynn kept the ball alive from a corner, it dropped for McAuley who, with his back to goal, produced acrobatics not usually associated with centre-halves. A fine goal for a fine performance.
King's Lynn: Street, Castellan (Richards 71), Blake-Tracy, Jarvis, Fryatt, McAuley, Clunan, Henderson (Limb 82), Gash, Marriott, Hawkins (Parker 75). Subs not used: Bastock, Parker, Clark. Goals: Hawkins 14, Clunan 44 pen, McAuley 74.
Rushall: Przybek, Smikle, Adelekan (Maye 32), Whittall, Lyttle, Ahenkorah (Monterio 75, Waldron, O'Callaghan (Singh 65), Pendley, Sammons, Lund. Subs not used: Slinn, Hull.