Culverhouse sees some bright spots in the gloom of The Walks
- Credit: Ian Burt
Ian Culverhouse likes what he sees at King’s Lynn Town – not just now but in the future as well.
The Lynn boss put pen to paper on a new deal which ties him to the club to the summer of 2023 – and then watched through the fog as his team provided ample proof that a corner is there, waiting to be turned.
To no one’s great surprise the National League has been a baptism of fire for a club that, unlike many, remains part-time. It is the quality of those part-timers which dictates the success, or otherwise – and there are signs that things are beginning to click. Four weeks ago, in their last league game, Lynn held leaders Torquay to a goalless draw – a game they could quite easily have won.
At the weekend they produced a similarly obdurate performance against sixth-placed FC Halifax. Not too long ago, when opponents piled on the pressure, Lynn wilted and the goals flew in.
But on the evidence of the last two games, they are beginning to wise up: the excellent Kyle Callan-McFadden has grabbed the backline by the throat and demanded improvement. Others have responded.
Culverhouse himself wasn’t sure whether it was a point won, or a missed opportunity for all three – you get the sense he felt the latter.
“If you analyse the game back I think we had enough chances to win the game,” he said. “We had a couple of really good ones. The game got stretched and it became a basketball game second half, but I thought our discipline in the first half was good, we looked dangerous on the counter-attack, we have got good pace in areas now. Then second half we should have scored, we should have taken our chances.
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“So - I am pleased for a point but I think when you analyse it closely it should have been three.”
Lynn’s cause wasn’t helped by the lack of playing and training time – games have fallen by the wayside because of Covid, including one within their own camp which meant no training for 10 days up until Tuesday.
“I just thought at times because of the fatigue levels - we haven’t played in such a while as well - the decision making wasn’t great and we took the wrong option and things like that – we tried to play one touch when we should have retained the ball a little bit more, but we will get there,” he added.
“We haven’t played since Torquay here and we were good then and I thought we were good today, so we are not far away, I am telling you now, we are not far away from trying to be a force in here.
“I am not going to say we are going to go up and fly away with it or anything like that, but we are becoming hard to beat and we are giving teams a good go.”
And it is that optimism which makes the job of managing the Linnets sufficiently challenging and interesting for Culverhouse. The work behind the scenes to develop the club, to make it more competitive with supposedly more illustrious rivals, is the key to keeping hold of a manager who wouldn’t be short of suitors should he ever become unemployed.
Club owner Stephen Cleeve did well to recruit him in early in 2017 – he's done just as well to keep him.
“I have spoken to (director of football) Robbie (Back) and (owner) Steve (Cleeve), obviously, at length and I like where it is going at the moment,” said Culverhouse.
“It is good to be a part of it because we have got good plans here. And if we get it right - we have got to stay in this league and then it has got legs, I think.
“I am enjoying it. It is a hell of a challenge, it is a great league. Like I have said before, we will come up against really good teams that will test us but we are gradually learning through each game and we will only get better.”
Getting better is a process which looks to have started.