King’s Lynn turn up title heat
King's Lynn 1, Wellingborough 0Ross Watson popped up with the only goal of the game midway through the second half as the Linnets moved to within a point of the UCL Premier Division summit.
Wellingborough arrived on a ten match winning run and gave the home side the biggest test of their title credentials yet in an entertaining game played in awful conditions. Lynn could have been two behind early on - a fact not lost on joint manager Gary Setchell afterwards.
'I have to admit that I was happy that we came off level at the break,' said Setchell. 'We didn't start very well at all. We were too deep for long spells of the first twenty minutes and didn't retain the ball as we should. That's all credit to them because they came here full of confidence on the back of an outstanding run and you have to give them a great deal of credit for that.
'We were better in the second half and were much more creative when we had the ball. We have great belief in all of the players here and I always thought that we could nick a goal from somewhere, even if it was from an unlikely source like Ross today.'
Prior to the game, versatile midfielder Luke Thurlbourne became the fifth player to tie themselves to the club as he signed a 30 month contract – fresh from the double signing of match winner Watson and ex-Norwich City defender Pat Bexfield.
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'Ross is a larger than life character and a great lad to have around the dressing room,' said Setchell. 'He lives and dies for this club and you could see with his celebrations after he had scored today what being part of this club means to him. Luke came to the club with a big reputation but has been first class for me. He sometimes walks the line but he never misses training and is key to what we are all trying to achieve here.
'He is still a very young man who only very recently turned 20 and at times it's very easy to forget that. He has also chipped in with some goals as well so I am more than pleased that he has committed himself to King's Lynn. We now have five players on contract and the intention is to build around this core for the future. We will probably look to bring in another two or three in the summer but we are happy with the squad that we have here. 'Whoever wins the league out of us and St Neots I reckon will have a great chance of another promotion from step 4 next season. We are looking to progress and with the greatest of respect to the UCL we don't intend on hanging around here for too long.'
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The lively Dan Surridge had two early chances to put the visitors ahead which kept keeper Alex Street busy.
Jack Defty had a headed effort ruled out for a foul and Jamie Thurlbourne tested Stuart Dorrill from distance but it was Wellingborough who should have been ahead as Michael Boyle-Chong outpaced the home defence and rounded Street only to see the mud engulf the ball two yards from the goal which allowed Watson to clear the danger.
The Linnets finally found their cutting edge in the second spell. Jamie Thurlbourne was seeing more of the ball and it was he who found brother Luke who rattled Dorrill's bar from fully 30 yards.
Defty headed over from close range moments later as Lynn took full control of the match. Wellingborough were giving away needless free kicks and it was from one of these that Watson scored the game's solitary goal as he rifled home at the second attempt past a stranded Dorrill which prompted a sprint along the grandstand touchline from the central defender kissing the club's badge on his muddied shirt. Late on, Street produced a top drawer save to deny Ben Johnson from close range to preserve three more vital points as Lynn's title challenge gained further momentum.
King's Lynn Town: Street, Doherty, Alsop, Luke Thurlbourne, Buhlemann, Watson, Bexfield (Spriggs), White, Defty, Ogbonna (Harris), Jamie Thurlbourne. Subs (not used): McNeil, Reeve, Johnson.
Bookings: Bexfield, White
Goal: Watson (68)
Wellingborough Town: Dorrill, Spaughton, Smith, Redding, Sturgess, Parkes (Webster), Richardson (Johnson), Surridge, Cray, Oulton, Boyle-Chong. Subs (not used): Hartley, Flannagan.
Bookings: Surridge, Oulton
Referee: Mr G Winwright (Woodhall Spa)