How close are King's Lynn to closing the fine margins?
- Credit: Ian Burt
King’s Lynn Town will go looking for their first home win of the season when Solihull Moors visit The Walks - Chris Lakey takes a look at a few talking points
Football managers speak about them a lot, but if ever a game illustrated the meaning, it was the midweek draw with Barnet. Picture the scene: it’s all square going into the final minute. Lynn have a corner, Kyle Callan-McFadden gets his head to it, the ball is heading goalwards ... but somehow a Barnet player sticks out a boot and clears it. Seconds later, the ball is at the other end. Daniel Powell shoots, the goal at his mercy... but the ball clips the top of the bar, the ref blows his whistle and it’s a point apiece. Yet all three points could have gone either way, in the space of 60 seconds. Fine margins indeed.
Malachi Linton scored a good goal in a good performance at Maidenhead United a week ago. On Tuesday, he produced probably the best of his loan appearances at Lynn (three starts, five from the bench). He held the ball up well, he was full of running, he hassled defenders into mistakes, made really good runs. He really looked the part. In truth it took a few games for him to settle in, but he is absolutely genuine competition up front now.
See Linton (above). But also see the whole team. Ian Culverhouse sometimes gives a nod and a wink in interviews which don’t come over particularly well when written down. He’s done it a time or two this season and it loosely translates into “you watch, we’ll come good". Now look at the last two performances – the defence has been magnificent. Kyle Callan-McFadden was immense in both, throwing his body in the way of everything that came his way. Dan Bowry and Luis Fernandez likewise. We are nine games in and (famous last words) you can see the improvements. The defence is a lot more solid than it was last season, mentally and physically. It’s not perfect - cut out the concession of early goals for starters – but it is moving.
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It helps when you have Paul Jones in goal. I don’t think he has made a mistake – you know he is going to come out and catch the ball, under pressure, and calm things down. He’s really good at playing the Lynn tempo – he can stunt the enthusiasm of the opposition by keeping the ball for an age. Or he can maintain the rhythm with quick distribution. May well prove to be the best signing of the summer.
There were around 30 or 40 fans at Maidenhead United. They were a little damp and disheartened at half-time, but by full-time they were in great voice – helped by Brett McGavin’s last-minute winner. A crowd of more than 1,000 was at The Walks on Tuesday – numerically, probably the best and loudest at home this season, even on a blustery, wet night. The players showed their appreciation and the fans responded. It’s what this young team needs. They’re giving to the fans, the fans are responding. Might just need a little more sunshine though, please.
Four points from successive games is Lynn’s best league form for six months - since home wins over Eastleigh and Altrincham at the end of March, beginning of April. They are 19th in the table – Torquay, Yeovil and Southend are all within three points. Southend are ahead of Lynn by virtue of goal difference only. Aldershot and Barnet are below them. Lynn are mixing in rarefied circles. They are small fish in a very big pond, but keeping their heads above water.
All perfect then?
Well, not quite. But it’s a work in progress. Chances were made and missed at Maidenhead and then against Barnet. At this level they have to be taken. Gold Omotayo is getting back to fitness after an ankle injury but needs a goal to get him up and running, just like Lynn need a home win. The man most likely to score – Junior Morias - was sitting up in the stands on Tuesday, cheer-leading brilliantly for 90 minutes. Get him fit and things might well change. Again, a bit of a work in progress but you can see forward motion. Get a home win today and confidence will grow.
Injuries: Tyler Denton and Junior Morias are both out, maybe for another two or three weeks, with hamstring injuries. Pierce Bird has a foot injury - looks doubtful. Cameron King won't feature.
Last season: October 10 - Solihull Moors 5 Linnets 0; May 25 - Linnets 1 Solihull Moors 1.
Current positions: Linnets 19th, Solihull Moors 7th.
Current form: Linnets L-L-L-W-D; Solihull Moors W-D-L-W-D