King's Lynn Town F.C
Gold-en opportunity missed for Linnets
- Credit: Ian Burt
King’s Lynn Town claimed their first home point of the season – but know it should have been more.
The Linnets’ home form had deserted them in four previous appearances in front of their home fans.
It could have been different had Gold Omotayo not missed a second-half penalty – but Lynn showed signs of the team that manager Ian Culverhouse promised was ‘in there’ waiting to get out: full of guts and passion and creativity under a typical night under the lights at The Walks.
A healthier home crowd – spurred perhaps by reduced admission price, a weekend win, the return of a former hero or a game against fellow strugglers - certainly got their money’s worth in a full-blooded clash.
Culverhouse made just one change from the team that won at Maidenhead on Saturday, with Malachi Linton replacing the injured Junior Morias. But there was no place in the Barnet starting line-up for former Linnet Adam Marriott, who played such a big role in helping Lynn up to the National League.
Lynn doubled Barnet last season but none of the five men who scored the goals were in Lynn colours – a sign of just how much has changed at The Walks over the summer.
Barnet – who dispensed with the services of manager Harry Kewell last month, replacing him with caretaker Dean Brennan - included former Norwich City man Mason Bloomfield, while goalkeeper Aston Oxborough, on loan from the Canaries, was on the bench.
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Lynn were undone by yet another early goal – this time, just three minutes were on the clock when Joe Widdowson neatly converted a low cross from the right by Rob Hall.
Ephron Mason-Clark made life uncomfortable with a low ball into the area from deep on the left as the Bees lived up to their nickname, busy all over the park, although Lynn showed the first signs of life when Joe Rowley fired a long-ranger just wide of the right post.
Linton then forced a good reaction save from visiting keeper Sam Sargeant after Omotayo did well to get the ball from under his feet and tee up the shot.
It signalled the start of a good spell by Lynn, who began to come out of their shell, and were rewarded on 22 minutes when skipper Michael Clunan, teed up by Rowley, found the equaliser with a low drive from the edge of the area.
It was no more than Lynn deserved, although Barnet then began to turn the tables, forcing Lynn’s backline into some body-on-the-line defending.
Ethan Coleman’s free-kick forced Sargeant into action again but the keeper was fortunate moments later when Omotayo nodded a Rowley cross into the path of Ross Barrows who, from eight yards out, put the ball high over the bar.
Hall forced Paul Jones into a save and moments later fired over as half-time approached – a reminder to Lynn that even with more of the better chances, parity was fragile.
Barnet looked to start the second half as they did the first, but the intensity wasn’t quite there.
Lynn were patient, but determined to break their home duck, and began to build up a head of steam. Omotayo glanced Rowley corner just wide, then Rowley led a swift counter which ended with Linton firing wide.
Marriott was introduced - but it was a chance for advantage Lynn on 69 minutes when Widdowson handled Jones’s cross from the right. Omotayo stepped up - and it was an easy save by Sargeant, with Barrows missing the follow-up.
Lynn piled on the pressure as the minutes ebbed away - Barnet cleared an effort off the line while sub Daniel Powell clipped the top of an open goal with the last kick of the game.
King’s Lynn: P Jones, A Jones, Bowry, Callan-McFadden, Fernandez, Barrows, Coleman, Clunan (McGavin 73), Rowley (Walker 83), Omotayo, Linton (Gyasi 83). Subs not used: Sundire.
Barnet: Sargeant, Widdowson, Richards-Everton, Taylor, Thomas, Brundle, Fongunk (Powell 59), Mason-Clark, Bloomfield (Marriott 66) , Hall (Payne 59), Flannagan. Subs not used: Oxborough, Greenidge