What's the sequel to this for Linnets?
- Credit: Ian Burt
It’s the hope that kills you.
And, later, when realisation sets in, it’s the bare truths: this victory was as damaging any anything that has happened this season... and there’s been plenty of previous.
Lynn went into the game with four points from their last two games. It had taken Altrincham 12 league games, stretching back to November, to accumulate the same. They hadn’t kept a clean sheet away from home and Lynn were starting to find a goal scoring touch.
And despite all that, they blew it.
Lynn are now 12 points off Maidenhead in the final safe spot, with Barnet another three points away. Defeat for Lynn has seriously reduced the number of teams that might just be catchable and, frankly, even if the Saturday’s performance proves to be an aberration, it is just so hard to make a case for them surviving.
Lynn survived a penalty – brilliantly saved by Paul Jones – but lost the game to a first-half injury time goal by Ryan Colclough. They rarely forced his opposite number into a save – it took 77 minutes to get an effort on target – and always looked like they had extra men on the pitch. They smothered Lynn when the hosts tried to create on the final third and had acres of space in the middle of the park.
The diplomatic post-match response from assistant manager Hugo Langton was in contrast, you suspect, to the mood in the dressing room, the door to which was firmly closed for some time after the final whistle.
He said: “Fall from grace - I don’t know. First half we didn’t look like the team we have been in the last couple of games. But second half I know we huffed and puffed but at least we spent the second half of the game trying to score a goal, we just needed a bit more quality and some better decisions in that final third on this particular occasion.
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“It’s all swings and roundabouts – we won a game last Saturday, we went to a team (Grimsby) no one gave us a chance to get anything from, people expected us to get walloped on Tuesday night, and that didn’t happen and we have lost today. So, if anything, we are probably two points behind where we would like to have been this week.
“There is still a lot of football to be played, and we will just dust ourselves down, we have got two more home games coming up this week and we have just got to be ready to be at it again Monday in training and then Tuesday when Woking come to town.”
Manager Tommy Widdrington was banished to the stands for the first of a four-game ban, but anyone within earshot could tell how unhappy he was.
It’s difficult to believe Langton’s mood was any better, but he was adept at putting a brave face on things.
And that’s what Lynn fans need at the moment.
The next instalment of Great Escape: The mini-series comes on Tuesday night at home to Woking. It will be labelled a must-win game and, of course, it is. When that phrase first occurs, it’s when there’s a bit of trouble ahead. It becomes used more regularly when results don’t get any better. We are now at the stage when it need to be written in capital letters, such is the urgency for the need to get points on board. Four in a week will be the requisite from on. The very minimum. But it will need better performances than this one.
Take away that sugar-coated post-match assessment which provides some sort of protective barrier around the dressing room and the conclusion is that this was a performance like some of those pre-Widdrington. In the first half, Lynn were as poor as they have been at The Walks since he walked through the door. In the second they looked nowhere near to blowing Altrincham’s house down. The reliable seven out of 10 players were lacking. But it’s human nature: if they were that good they’d be playing at a higher level, but too many pulled out a stinker at just the wrong time.
And Lynn can’t afford to be. Not now, with the great escape looking like a poor gimmick.
King’s Lynn: P Jones, A Jones, Coulson, Phipps, Barrows, Scott, McGavin (Hargreaves 65), Widdrington (Charles 78), Barrett, Clunan, Linton (Omotayo 54). Subs not used: Dentons, Hickman.
Altrincham: Thompson, Densmore, Moult, Mooney (Mudimu 82), Osborne, Colclough (Marriott 90), Cooper, White, Mullarkey, Hulme, Conn-Clarke (Kosylo 16). Subs not used: Pringle, Leitch-Smith. Goal: Colclough 45
Referee: Scott Simpson