Sorry - but it's over for the Linnets

Michael Clunan walks back to the centre circle as Maidenhead celebrate their fourth goal of the game

Michael Clunan walks back to the centre circle as Maidenhead celebrate their fourth goal of the game - Credit: Ian Burt

“It ain’t over until it’s over’, apparently. 

Well,  if it’s not over now, it soon will be for King’s Lynn Town. 

In a world where miracles are in short supply, Lynn need to grab a handful to retain their place in the National League next season. And given the first requirement is self improvement, then it isn’t going to happen. It is over. It is (almost) official. Because any team that falls apart like botched flat-pack furniture doesn’t have a chance at this level. 

The sooner it happens the sooner the fans are put out of their misery, but anyone who believes Lynn will stay up is living in a land usually occupied by cuckoos. 

Hugo Langton and Mark Hughes on the sideline with minutes to go. Game over - Credit: Ian Burt

Frustration for Linnets assistant manager Hugo Langton, left, and first team coach Mark Hughes - Credit: Ian Burt

The evidence for such was on display for the 90 minutes of the 4-1 home defeat by Maidenhead, but needs to have the previous four games taken into account. That run had seen Lynn win one, draw two and lose one, whilst conceding just once. Widdrington has tightened up the leaky defence. The midweek draw at Barnet was, he said, as close to his plans as he had seen this team perform. He had a spring in his step.  

Lynn celebrate taking the lead against Maidenhead - Credit: Ian Burt

Lynn celebrate taking the lead against Maidenhead - Credit: Ian Burt

After 15 minutes that feeling was perhaps justified when Gold Omotayo, with whom he has shown great patience despite an appalling goal return for a man striker, scored for just the second time in the league this season. 

A disappointed Jak Hickman lays on the ground after his cross found Tennyson Road - Credit: Ian Burt

A disappointed Jak Hickman lays on the ground after his cross found Tennyson Road - Credit: Ian Burt

But it was soon all square as Lynn’s defence went AWOL and frankly, the hosts never really recovered. Maidenhead, who have claimed some notable scalps since the new year, exposed the weaknesses with two quickfire goals before an hour was up. And while Widdrington said Ross Barrows was fouled for the first of those, it was a move that began with the simplest of turnovers, Brett McGavin the guilty party. 

Tommy Widdrington watching his side from the main stand at The Walks - Credit: Ian Burt

Tommy Widdrington watching his side from the main stand at The Walks as he serves the third of a four-game touchline ban - Credit: Ian Burt

There were few signs of a fightback and a fourth goal only served to provide a scoreline that better reflected the balance of the game. 

Widdrington said afterwards that he was embarrassed towards the end of the game and apologised to the Lynn fans who had paid good money to witness, one assumes, a continuation of the aforementioned momentum, only to see self-inflicted wounds. 

Joshua Coulson inside the Maidenhead penalty area - Credit: Ian Burt

Josh Coulson inside the Maidenhead penalty area - Credit: Ian Burt

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“I am not going to stand and defend them,” said Widdrington. “We weren’t good enough and I can pick one or two out foe slightly better performances than others, but then they didn’t have much to beat in terms of being better than your mate. 

“I have played games myself where a few lads have been off, and you have got to gather around and help each other. I don’t think we had enough men today stand up and be counted.” 

Michael Clunan began the Maidenhead game on the bench - Credit: Ian Burt

Michael Clunan began the Maidenhead game on the bench - Credit: Ian Burt

When he took over, Widdrington had to make changes to a team that was plunging towards relegation at a frightening pace, but you wonder why some of the ‘old guard’ are missing out. Aaron Jones hasn’t done much worse than most others in the last season or two but wasn’t even on the bench. Michael Clunan, who was head and shoulders above anyone else for the first half of the campaign, was on the bench. Tyler Denton was also on the bench. 

The manager is paid to make the big decisions, but these are big players with plenty of experience - something he pointed out post-match was in short supply. 

Ross Barrows and Joshua Coulson can't believe they didn't score during a pin ball moment inside the

Ross Barrows and Josh Coulson can't believe they haven't scored during a pinball moment inside the Maidenhead penalty area - Credit: Ian Burt

No doubt they will come into his thoughts as he prepares for a daunting Tuesday night in Wrexham, but we have reached the stage where the ‘must win’ label attached to games seems somehow as redundant as the Great Escape music blared out before the game.  

How long will it be before both are put to bed for good? 

King’s Lynn Town: P Jones, Hickman, Coulson, Phipps, Barrows, Scott, Hargreaves, McGavin (Charles 76), Widdrington (Sundire 65), Barrett (Clunan 54), Omotayo. Subs not used: Denton, Fernandez. 

Goal: Omotayo 15 

Maidenhead: Gyollai, De Havilland, Parry, Clerima, Donnellan (Smile 77), Ferdinand, Sparkes (Wells 81), Beckwith, Acquah, Upward, Kelly (McCoulsky 73). Subs not used: Blissett, Adams. 

Goals: Sparkes 18, Kelly 54, 56, Upward 74 

Att: 863 

Referee: Paul Marsden