Linnets fire blanks as home jinx strikes again
- Credit: Ian Burt
Life is all very strange at King’s Lynn Town at the moment.
Crowds are below 1,000, and the fortress’s walls have crumbled.
Fortunately, the clear sound of booing from the home fans was muffled by the ecstatic celebrations in one corner from Wealdstone's noisy following – and they had every right to shout the house done, because their team did a proper job on Lynn.
For half an hour they hardly touched the ball. Then they scored. And for another hour they hardly touched the ball. The difference was that when they did get a touch, it counted. Lynn’s touches didn’t because they were predictable. There wasn’t a surprise package, no touch of magic, no string puller who makes things happen.
Even when the visitors went down to 10 men early in the second half when Ira Jackson was shown a straight red for a high boot that floored Zain Walker, they made the most of it. They made time-wasting an art-form, packed their lines and left Lynn only the most minimal pockets of space to try and exploit. A goal to the good, they didn't have to attack.
Their game management was excellent, although they might want to get some salt tablets into the players who fell like nine pins with life-threatening bouts of cramp.
Sour grapes? Yeh, a bit. Because Lynn are better than this. They’re better than flinging high balls into the area time after time to a strike force that was swatted aside by the Stones' tall defenders. Meat and drink stuff. And they’re better than trying pot shots through a sea of bodies that inevitably led to blocks. More meat and drink.
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Lynn boss Ian Culverhouse talks about the fine margins and within the space of 15 minutes, two went against Lynn. The first came when Michael Clunan was played in by Brett McGavin. The goal was at his mercy, only George Wickens between him and a goal – and the keeper saved with his legs.
With just over half an hour gone, midfielder Joe Rowley was feeling the heat and took off his training vest – a tricky operation that required Ross Barrows to delay taking a throw-in. Rowley adjusted his wardrobe, play resumed, but within seconds Rowley had been dispossessed by Charlie Cooper, who took a few strides and then struck from 25 yards into the bottom left corner. No doubt father Mark, the Barrow manager who was watching from the main stand, would have been delighted.
Culverhouse would have been fuming: Lynn have yet to take a lead in a game this season, and with that monkey of three home defeats clinging firmly to their backs, there was a danger of young minds being affected.
When Jackson saw red, you still expected Lynn to get something from the game. They had almost all of the possession, but rarely troubled Wickens again.
“We started the game fine, we had a fantastic chance with Mike and that just gives a little bit of belief and something you can build on, but didn’t take our chance and then the disappointing thing is the goal we gave away – we are in possession of the ball, it’s our throw,” said Culverhouse. “So we are shooting ourselves in the foot at the moment.
“I can’t fault their effort but when we are going behind in games at the moment you can see a little bit of belief dripping from them. It’s been a while since we scored first and we need that first one to give them a little bit of belief that there is something there for them.”
Culverhouse will be hoping striker Gold Omotayo’s recovery from ankle ligament damage remains on course – they need him.
“We have been here before in games when we have had a presence in the box and there was belief we would score here,” said Culverhouse. “And we got a little bit desperate today because we were throwing balls into areas that were comfortable for defenders to defend, and that isn’t us, we didn’t have a physical presence in the box anyway so for us to be chucking in 50-yard crosses is ridiculous.”
If there was a bright spot it was the return of Aaron Jones, who played the final 25 minutes having been out since February.
And the elephant in the room? A crowd of just 885. Not good for all sorts of reasons.