King shines as Linnets shake off summer cobwebs

Junior Morias for King's Lynn against MK Dons

Ne2 King's Lynn Town signing Junior Morais in action during an impressive debut against MK Dons - Credit: Ian Burt

A new-look Linnets squad made its first outing of the summer - but it was an old boy who stole the show. 

At the back end of last season it looked like Lynn had seen the last of Cameron King; fitness problems were disrupting already disrupted plans. Fortunately for manager Ian Culverhouse, the former Norwich City midfielder has returned looking refreshed and, judging by his goal - lobbing the keeper from some 30 yards – in fine fettle. 

Pre-season is no time to judge teams, but King’s piece of skill was worth the applause of just under 400 fans, no matter the occasion. 

King's Lynn Town summer recruit Pierce Bird tackles an MK Dons opponent

King's Lynn Town summer recruit Pierce Bird tackles an MK Dons opponent - Credit: Ian Burt

On a perfect-looking pitch, the hope was that a meeting between two footballing sides would produce some sort of spectacle, even at this early juncture. 

But Lynn have been back in training – and working as a full-time club - for just a matter of days. Russell Martin, by his own admission, had been working his players hard for what is expected to be a League One promotion challenge in the coming season. 

His approach to football is one that will have been affected by countless days training at Norwich City under his opposite number on the touchline, Lynn boss Ian Culverhouse.  

Josh Martin, on loan to MK Dons from Norwich City, in action at The Walks 

Josh Martin, on loan to MK Dons from Norwich City, in action at The Walks - Credit: Ian Burt

Pre-season is what it is – take no notice of the names and numbers on the back of shirts – Junior Morias was wearing the 17 shirt of Cameron King – it was ‘guess the player’. And take no notice of the four 30-minute quarters – in other words, a high-intensity training session. 

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Starting for the first quarter were keeper Paul Jones, Ross Barrows, Dan Bowry, Michael Clunan, Pierce Bird, Michael Gyasi, former MK player Harry Riley, who was released by the club this summer and Morias. The rest were triallists. 

Jones was quickly earning his corn as MK swarmed around the Lynn area, Josh Martin - on loan from Norwich City – instrumental in the pressure. 

It looked like a matter of time before they broke through – and on 10 minutes Scott Twine put the visitors ahead, firing home from inside the area.

King's Lynn Town skipper Michael Clunan leads a break

King's Lynn Town skipper Michael Clunan leads a break - Credit: Ian Burt

Lynn came out of their shells, began knocking the ball around, defenders beginning to look comfortable in the same line-up.  

While little can be read into such games, the early sightings of Morias look encouraging: full of energy, finding dangerous positions and being a general nuisance. 

Part two of four was again dominated by the visitors, but, again, that won’t be a major concern for Culverhouse: Martin, on the other hand, will be wondering why possession hadn’t been reflected in the goals tally. 

It looked a little better when Twine got his second on 54 minutes, poking home from close range following a goalmouth scramble – definitely a goal to put in the ugly column. 

With two quarters gone, it was all change for both teams – Lynn changed their entire team, bringing in new signings Ethan Coleman, Gold Omotayo, Munashe Sundire and Luis Fernandez, as well as King, Tai Fleming, Tyler Denton, Joe Gascoigne, Under-23s keeper Charlie Phillips and a couple of triallists. 

Fernandez took only a couple of minutes to show some of the physicality Culverhouse craves, with a crunching, but fair tackle. 

King missed a golden opportunity to score for Lynn, after some erratic goalkeeping by Argentinian Franco Ravizzolo, once of River Plate and Boca Juniors. 

It took King just two minutes to make amends, winning possession way out on the right, seeing the keeper off his line, and with all the precision of a master clock-maker, stroking the ball over the keeper‘s head and into the far top corner. 

Young keeper Phillips might not be a triallist, but he impressed with a couple of fine close-range saves – a bonus no doubt. He had no chance when Max Watters poked home on 105 minutes.  

The big question, of course, is, can Lynn do it on a wet and windy night in Halifax? Only time will tell.