‘If I am on the bench I have got to come on and run my socks off when I come on – and I thought I did alright today’ - Linnets FA Cup hero
- Credit: Gerard Austin
King’s Lynn Town caused one of the big upsets of the FA Cup first round – CHRIS LAKEY was at Port Vale to see the underdogs prevail.
“Sonny Carey - the boy’s living the dream”, said Ross Barrows as he soaked up the final moments of King’s Lynn Town’s big day out before heading home.
Barrows summed it up perfectly.
The teenage midfielder from Norwich is one of those who elicits a knowing look from manager Ian Culverhouse when his name crops up in conversation, although only last week he had urged caution over this exciting young prospect.
Carey, he said, needed to find some consistency on his play. Good second-half displays must be complemented by equally good first halves. At 19, Carey has time to be nurtured, although Culverhouse admitted that of all the problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the absence of a row of scouts at The Walks every week was not one of them.
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“It is all about patience in football,” acknowledged Carey. “I am a young lad, I just want to play every minute of every game but I understand, as we got promoted as well, that everyone has to fight for their place and no one has secured a starting spot so I have just got to train well and when I am on the pitch try and keep the shirt.
“If I am on the bench I keep the same mindset, I keep positive, never let my head drop and try and do my best when I am on the pitch.
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“I know the gaffer rotates the squad every game, everyone can start, there are no weak players in the squad whatsoever. I just know if I am on the bench I have got to come on and run my socks off when I come on – and I thought I did alright today.”
Culverhouse knows he has a talent on his hands.
“Superb,” he said. “He is a talent - I have always said it since we had him and he will get better and better the more games he plays.
While Carey inevitably steals the headlines, he would be the first to acknowledge the part played by everyone who kicked a ball for Lynn – in particular, Adam Marriott.
The striker created the goal out of nothing, twisting and turning in the area, almost falling over and, rather than doing what many expected and trying for goal, cutting the ball back across goal where it fell for Carey to smash home. Nine minutes of normal time remained, but Lynn stood resolute, and if Carey ever wanted an example of how to do that, then the sight of Marriott running to win a foul in time added on was perfect. Game management at its best.
From back to front, Lynn were exceptional: keeper Archie Mair has been under scrutiny like no other keeper for a while, but kept Lynn level at the break, one full-length save to his left was magnificent. Fellow Norwich City loan player Simon Power had a coupe of first-half opportunities he couldn’t take, but his frightening pace sent shivers down the back of Vale’s back four. Jamar Loza had an excellent first half, double teamed again, while Ryan Jarvis, Michael Clunan and Jordan Richards had to put in huge shifts, but came up trumps.
But if the difficult choice of a man of the match had to be made it was probably Rory McAuley who deserved the champagne. Vale threw everything they could across from their wing men - David Worrall and David Amoo – but McAuley either got his head to it, or Vale’s strikers failed to reward their wingers’ good work with a final touch.
While Lynn had as much attacking intent as their hosts in the first half, the second required some spells of bitter resistance. McAuley and Danny Lupano stood firm, while full-backs Ross Barrows and Alex Brown did great work halting the crosses.
Culverhouse said: “They were colossal, they really were - Rory and Danny, and Ross and Alex stopping the supplies in there.
“They had a period where we just got stretched and for a period we were hanging on. They had a goal disallowed but then we were solid again, and regrouped. Our fitness levels looked good - it is a hell of a result for the football club and the boys deserved it, they really did.”
It’s not just Sonny Carey living the dream.