Linnets verdict: Wenger boy, Jones the keeper... and the missing fans
- Credit: Ian Burt
Opening day didn't quite go to plan for King's Lynn Town - CHRIS LAKEY looks at some of the talking points from the defeat to Southend United
Ian Culverhouse pulled out his best Arsene Wenger impersonation as he assessed the first blow of the new season.
It won’t just be analysing the bad bits of an opening day defeat by Southend that will be on his mind at training on Monday - that was hardly a real surprise although, in truth, Lynn could easily have rescued a point.
What he will need to look at is the video nasty starring summer signing Junior Morias, dismissed in the closing stages for a nasty stamp on Jason Demetriou.
It means Lynn’s top summer recruit will miss three games - at Yeovil on Saturday, at home to Chesterfield two days later, then at Eastleigh the following weekend. Just when Culverhouse might need to rest tired legs, he’s a striker light.
“It was a flashpoint, I think he was caught from behind and reacted but that is the way he is, he plays on the edge,” said Culverhouse. “As soon as he did it he realised. We can’t afford that – we barely have a squad as it is so we need as many bodies as we can.
“I will speak to him and we will look at it again. It happened so quickly, the old Wenger one, I didn’t really see it so we will view it again.”
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“I thought we started slowly, we didn’t play with any real intensity and conceded a poor goal - we switched off on a free-kick and they got down the side of us and we didn’t react quickly enough. And then we grew into the game, got a little bit of confidence, we moved it quite well, although still too slow for us. And then we got into the game. Second half I thought from 45 to 60 they dominated and pegged us back a bit so we had a little tinker up with systems and that brought some fresh legs and we got back into the game. But it is fine margins - we know all about this league but we switched off at a free kick and we lost the game.”
With Cameron King unavailable, loan signing Joe Rowley started in midfield and made a good impression; biting in the tackle, calm in possession, happy to dictate play and with lots of energy.
“Very good,” said Culverhouse. “He found good pockets. He is only going to get better and fitter – he hasn’t played games for a long time so he will be a tired man, promising signs there. We just need to get the ball into him a little bit more on the half turn and he will be alright at this level.”
There were six players making their senior debuts for Lynn, and it was arguably goalkeeper Paul Jones who impressed most, particularly after a couple of cracking saves early in the second half from Rhys Murphy. The former Norwich City keeper looks call and composed as well, happy to do the organising. He did sell Ethan Coleman a little short once as Lynn tried to play out from the back, but it was a rarity. After last season’s problems with two young loan keepers – Archie Mair and Theo Richardson – Jones, at 35 and with bags of experience, looks the part.
A nasty habit from last season was conceding goals in quick succession. When Southend went ahead inside 10 minutes there were fears of a repeat. Two minutes later Nathan Ferguson was given too much space on the edge of the box but dragged his effort a foot wide. It was a warning sign. But Lynn buckled down and worked their way onto the game, not out of it. If that weak spot – the collapse – can be eradicated – Lynn will have removed a major obstacle.
A crowd of 2,683 is not to be sniffed at, but with a vantage point well above the tunnel, it was clear Lynn fans were heavily out-numbered. Southend rammed their allocated area and the main stand was effectively theirs as well. A guesstimate would be not far short of 2,000 visiting fans were there for a game which, thankfully, went off without trouble. It was the first open house since March last year – but rough maths suggests a lot less than 1,000 Lynn fans were there. Well done to them. But for whatever reason many hundred more stayed away. That needs to change.