How Linnets boss is steering the ship away from the rocks
- Credit: Ian Burt
Tommy Widdrington savoured the moment as King’s Lynn Town once again defied the odds – and the pundits – to add another three points to the survival piggy bank.
When the final whistle blew on Lynn’s 1-0 win over FA Trophy finalists Bromley, Widdrington was quick to shake hands with his opposite number before exploding into a bouncing mass of jubilation. It was a sight that was almost as impressive as the 90 minutes that preceded it.
But a few minutes later, Widdrington was making a calculated assessment not just of his team’s performance, but of what have been … and what might still be as Lynn try and chase down Aldershot, who are in the last safe place, three points ahead and with two games in hand..
“I just talked to the staff in there and we say ‘what if?’ - if we’d had that urgency and that sort of desire... oppositions dictate a lot of what you have to do and I changed my mind within the last hour and a half before the game to change the team. Made one change because I felt if we just sat back against these guys that we’d find it really difficult to keep them out.
“So we tried to play on the front foot, much like we did against Halifax, and I didn’t think we had a weak link in the side, including the lads that came off the bench. So that’s really important for me going forward.
“Bromley have got a cup final at Wembley. We’ve got seven more cup finals, and if we give that sort of energy, effort and enthusiasm – and quality at times on a difficult surface – then we will go very close.”
If the team of recent seasons reflected Ian Culverhouse, then this team is beginning more and more to reflect Tommy Widdrington. There is something of a chalk and cheese difference between the two – the football reflects that – which makes the recent revival of fortunes more laudable.
“They are starting to reflect my personality as a group and that means they don’t want to lose,” said Widdrington. “And from that point of view I also want them to win.”
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What Widdrington has also done is change the atmosphere at The Walks: one disappointment of the season has been the poor attendances. That may be due to a number of factors, not all directly to do with football, but the crowd got behind the players on Tuesday night and there was a sense that they would be pushing the players along until the battle is resolved, one way or another.
Widdrington’s personality has a lot to do with that: they enjoy joining in the celebrations with him. They enjoy him sharing their frustration after a setback.
But it mustn’t be forgotten that they are enjoying impressive player performances. Skipper Michael Clunan was at the top of his game in midweek – a non-stop bundle of energy laced with lashings of talent and attitude; Josh Coulson is a colossus in defence – a man who passes the ball with his head as well as some of his predecessors can do with their feet; Tyler Denton a Rolls-Royce at left back. Brett McGavin has a pass of the game in his feet, if he can beat Josh Barrett to it.
It’s not all rosy in the garden – in-form striker Malachi Linton is out for the rest of the season after ankle surgery - but it smells an awful lot more pleasant that it did a short while ago. For once, the general atmosphere that surrounds the club isn’t one of full-on negativity. And any feelgood factor has to be taken advantage of.
Twelfth-placed Yeovil head to Lynn with something quite the opposite: they are in good form on the pitch, with 10 points from their last 12, but off the pitch it is a different story. Manager Darren Sarll resigned at the end of last month after three successive league wins, to take over at Woking. With Charlie Lee in charge, the Glovers drew 2-2 last weekend at Barnet, who were then thrashed 6-0 at Wrexham on Tuesday.