King's Lynn Town F.C
Battling Linnets slip out of FA Cup
- Credit: Ian Burt
King’s Lynn Town’s FA Cup dream is over.
The Linnets went down to yet another early goal – the visitors’ only shot on target – and despite a stirring second-half performance they were unable to recover.
There is little shame in losing to a League Two side and after a first half when they were mostly on the back foot, manager Ian Culverhouse will be encouraged by the response as he prepares for the challenge of lifting his team out of the relegation zone.
“Excellent second half, played on the front foot, I thought we gave them too respect and looked a scared side first half,” said the Lynn boss. “We looked like a team lacking in confidence, and obviously we are, but I thought second half we were a lot, lot better. We gave them a game, and that is all we can do.
“But we are a muck and grim team and we have to play like one. We are all gutted because we know we should have got something out of that second half.”
The introduction of Josh Barrett after the break coincided with Lynn’s best spell as they pushed men forward, with Junior Morias benefiting from the substitute’s excellent awareness and passing ability. The problem for Barrett – and Culverhouse – is that he is clearly carrying too much timber, but it is clear how important he could be to the team.
“He has been out for quite a while and he is working ever so hard on his fitness and you can see there is a quality player in there,” Culverhouse said. “We just need him to get really, really fit and he will be special for us. I think you will see a player.”
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Lynn keeper Paul Jones was smartly down to his left to keep a hold on George Miller’s hook from eight yards, as Walsall dominated the opening stages.
The opener came on 15 minutes, and it was soft: Hayden White’s cross from the right was deflected and lopped over the defence, with Brendan Kieran tapping in at the far post.
Lynn hardly had sight of the visitors’ area and when they did, on 28 minutes, Ethan Coleman wasted the chance from a free-kick 25 yards, lofting the ball well over.
A flurry just before half-time raised some noise from the locals, but none of it forced keeper Carl Rushworth into a save.
Lynn made a change for the second half, striker Gold Omotayo replacing defender Ross Barrows and Lynn switching to a flat back four.
Five minutes into the restart Kiernan turned and shot narrowly wide from close range.
Junior Morias had a shot from distance blocked – a rare attempt, however futile, on goal - but they got much closer moments later when skipper Michael Clunan found himself in space on the right side of the area and fired goalwards, only for White to clear off the line.
The activity put a spring in the step of the hosts – as did the appearance of Barrett. Great work between Morias and Barrett ended with Morias seeing a shot blocked – claims for handball in the area dismissed by referee Robert Lewis.
It was a different game now, Lynn looking much more threatening having moved into a position where they deserved to be on level terms – and there was the crux of the problem: the Walsall backline was proving a tough nut to crack.
Lynn: P Jones, A Jones, Fernandez (Bird 59), McFadden, Bowry, Barrows (Omotayo 46), Clunan, Coleman, Morias, Linton (Barrett 63), Davis (McGavin 80). Subs not used: Sundire.
Walsall: Rushworth, White, Ward, Labadie, Monthe, Kiernan (Phillips 65), Osadebe (Perry 84), Miller, Earing, Menayese, Shade. Subs not used: Rose, Taylor, Bates, Leake, Khan.