When revenge would still mean little for Linnets

Rory McAuley returned to the King's Lynn Town starting line-up

Rory McAuley - sole survivor from King's Lynn Town's starting line-up for the game against Solihull - Credit: Ian Burt

King’s Lynn Town would, in normal circumstances, have revenge on their kind when they face Solihull Moors. 

The last time the teams met was way back in October, at the end of a week when Lynn had surprised everyone – perhaps not least themselves – by taking four points from their first two games in the National League. 

A draw in the home game against relegated Yeovil on the Saturday was a fine way to start the campaign. Three days later it got even better when Lynn went to Maidenhead and won 3-2. 

The coach that headed to Solihull the following weekend was full of confident – but not overly confident –players. And why not? Moors had lost their opener at Woking 2-1 but then beat Wrexham 1-0. 

But there was a tell-tale sign: Lynn had conceded four goal in two games, scoring five. It wasn’t exactly cavalier stuff, but a warning that defensively, they would have to tighten up.  

King's Lynn Town boss Ian Culverhouse

King's Lynn Town boss Ian Culverhouse - Credit: Ian Burt

Manager Ian Culverhouse always knew that sometimes the combination of his own footballing principles, and the opposition’s strengths and experience, wouldn’t work on his favour. 

“I’m pleased we didn’t go against our principles, and that is important. We will lose games trying to play our way because we will probably over-play sometimes, but we will learn as we go along,” said Culverhouse before Lynn headed to the Midlands. 

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The lesson was about to be taught, and it wasn’t nice. 

Lynn were humbled 5-0 by a rampant Solihull side, making for an uncomfortable debut for Norwich City loan keeper Archie Mair, whose inclusion on the starting XI meant Alex Street was absent from a league starting line-up for the first since well over three and a half years. At the time, it was a huge talking point, but it would pale in comparison to what was to follow. 

There were heavy defeats – Sutton away, Bromley at home - but the big loss came off the pitch when income dried up completely and the squad that had started the season was broken up in the name of enforced cost-cutting. 

Rory McAuley was in that starting line-up at Solihull, but none of the other 10 players who were there that day will start against Solihull at The Walks. Mair, Aaron Jones, Alex Brown, Chris Smith, Ross Barrows, Jordan Richards, Ryan Jarvis, Cameron King, Dayle Southwell and Adam Marriott have either left or are injured and/or on furlough. 

Recently, Culverhouse was asked where he thought Lynn would be in the table had they been able to use all the players on the books: a shrug of the shoulders gave away the frustration, but the manager’s belief is Lynn would have “been safe”. 

Instead, they are second from bottom of the table, with only Barnet below them, Dover having had the red line put through their name soon after the financial stress forced them to stop playing. This week 15 players left Dover, who have said they will now go part-time next season - which, if their appeal fails, they’ll start on minus 12 points or, unofficially, halfway towards relegation. Lynn will start on level terms with everyone because somehow they saw it through. Had they not, they too could be facing a drop down the ladder as rapid as the one they came up on.

For Lynn, it has meant more players than fans have come through the turnstiles this year and naming an unchanged side is almost reason to celebrate a mini-victory. 

It’s another dead rubber for Lynn and it’s effectively the same for Solihull – they’re 14th and have nothing to play for. 

But Culverhouse will be well aware that his side go into the game with just two points from their last eight games, and only one goal in their last four, with 12 against. 

Whisper it, but even if they gain revenge for that 5-0 thrashing, it means absolutely nothing.