Double blow for King’s Lynn Town boss Ian Culverhouse

PUBLISHED: 22:17 01 September 2020 | UPDATED: 10:22 02 September 2020

King's Lynn Town's Rory McAuley slides into a tackle during the game against Norwich City U23s at The Walks Picture: Ian Burt

King's Lynn Town's Rory McAuley slides into a tackle during the game against Norwich City U23s at The Walks Picture: Ian Burt

Ian Burt Photography

King’s Lynn Town have been dealt a double blow with their two main strikers major doubts for the start of the season.

Adam Marriott and Michael Gash are both set to miss several weeks of pre-season, with injury and illness respectively.

Hot shot Marriott suffered ankle ligament damage in the friendly at Stowmarket Town 11 days ago, while Gash is in hospital with a gall bladder infection.

Linnets boss Ian Culverhouse admits their participation in the opening National League game on October 3 is now touch and go.

“Mazz did his ankle and it was worse than what we thought,” said the Lynn boss. “He’s lucky there was no break in it, but he is going to be about a month, so he is touch and go for the start of the season, which is a bad one, and Gashy’s in hospital.

King's Lynn Town striker Dayle Southwell Picture: Ian BurtKing's Lynn Town striker Dayle Southwell Picture: Ian Burt

“He has been in hospital for the last four days and hopefully he can recover quite quickly. It took us by surprise – he didn’t come training because he didn’t feel well and obviously with what is happening around the world, we were careful there, but he was taken into hospital quickly and they’re looking after him.”

Marriott was at The Walks on Tuesday night to watch Lynn go down 1-0 to Norwich City Under 23s.

“He has come in today and he is walking on it and says he feels a lot better, so the last week it has improved considerably and we have just got to be careful to push him on. We have our fingers crossed.”

It left Lynn with just Dayle Southwell in attack, although Culverhouse does have the option of playing wide men Jamar Loza or Ryan Hawkins down the middle.

It was only the third outing of the summer for Lynn for a game that really deserved an audience that it was not allowed to have, because of Covid restrictions.

“It was very good, two good teams,” said Culverhouse. “I was really proud of our boys, we handled the ball really well, missing the sharpness in the final third but it is only our third game and that will come.

“I thought we were good at times, good combination play down the sides at times, pressed really high, so some really good points.”

The game was settled in the 69th minute when one of City’s summer signings, Matt Dennis, from Arsenal, slotted the ball past thee goalkeeper – the ubiquitous summer character known as A Triallist, who turned out to be Dion-Curtis Henry, a free agent after leaving Crystal Palace, but only helping Lynn out, rather than being a potential recruit.

Action from King's Lynn Town's 1-0 home defeat to Norwich U23s Picture: Ian BurtAction from King's Lynn Town's 1-0 home defeat to Norwich U23s Picture: Ian Burt

For Lynn and Culverhouse it is about preparing a team for the new National League campaign. For City, it’s about preparing players to challenge for first team action at a higher level. All of which made for an intriguing encounter.

Jordan Richards shot straight at City keeper Jon McCracken, while at the other end Tyrese Omotoye forced Lynn keeper Alex Street, nursing a knee injury, to save sharply down to his right. Street will be under pressure from another City loan player, Archie Mair – although the youngster was absent as he is on duty with Scotland Under-23s.

Street, though, proved that he has more than enough to offer and pulled off a string of defiant saves in the first half. He was happy to see Reece McAlear’s left-foot strike from 20 yards come back off his left post. Moments later William Hondermack played in Dennis, and again Street had to react quickly.

Omotoye forced Street into another smothering save and when he fired in the loose ball, Aaron Jones was there to steer the ball to the relative safety of a corner,

Action from The Walks, where King's Lynn Town went down to Norwich City U23s Picture: Ian BurtAction from The Walks, where King's Lynn Town went down to Norwich City U23s Picture: Ian Burt

It was a good spell by the young Canaries and there might have been more problems when Ethan Vaughan was set free down the right, only for Loza to track back and nick the ball away for a corner.

The surprise was that there were no goals at half-time, with Culverhouse opting to change keepers for the second half while his opposite number David Wright, kept the same XI.

Culverhouse made another half dozen changes just past the hour mark, with a first appearance for Cameron King after his return to the club this summer.

Sam Kelly was another change, and almost made an immediate impression with a left-foot shot from distance that was only a foot wide.

Action from The Walks Picture: Ian BurtAction from The Walks Picture: Ian Burt

But it was the visitors who broke the deadlock when Hondermack played it forward to Dennis who advanced towards goal and slipped it past the keeper.

King’s Lynn Town: Street (A Trialist 46), Browne (Clunan 62), McAuley (Smith 62), Fleming, Jones, Lozar (Kelly 62), Richards (Barrows 62), Jarvis (Henderson 62), Carey, Hawkins, Southwell (King 62). Norwich City U23s: McCracken, Vaughan, Tomkinson, Omobamidele, Dronfield, Nizet, McAlear, Giurgi (Springett 65), Hondermack, Omotoye, Dennis. Subs: Hutchinson, Warner, Dickenson-Peters, Rowe, Khumbeni, Blair (GK)

Goal: Dennis 69

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