Early goals enough as King’s Lynn Town take valuable three points
PUBLISHED: 17:21 16 March 2019 | UPDATED: 17:21 16 March 2019
Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk
Kings Lynn Town refused to be blown off their promotion course after beating a stubborn Hitchin Town 3-2.
Two goals inside the opening 12 minutes suggested an easy afternoon was on the cards for Lynn.
But Hitchin survived those nervous early moments at a windswept Walks to push Ian Culverhouse’s men all the way.
Lynn were without the suspended Aaron Jones, with Ryan Fryatt moving to right back and Joe Robinson coming in at centre-half.
Lynn were quickly on the front foot and could have gone ahead inside a minute, Michael Clunan playing it wide to Ryan Fryatt whose teed up Adam Marriott, who turned and saw his shot go inches wide.
But the Clunan and Marriott combination worked perfectly on five minutes: the skipper bounded down the right as Lynn broke, clipped the ball into the centre and Marriott had acres of space to pick his spot.
Hitchin were by no means sitting back and were fizzing balls into the home area – and leaving the break on for hosts.
On 12 minutes it was 2-0. The wind played havoc with a clearance, Chris Henderson took control and slipped the ball to Jordan Richards who, from the edge of the area, turned and shot into the far left corner.
Marriott then twisted one way and another only for his shot to be parried by keeper Tiernan Parker.
Hitchin’s Isaac Galliford kept Lynn defenders honest but slid a shot wide of Alex Street’s right-hand post.
Henderson should have made it three on 25 minutes when he moved on to the perfect knock-down by Henderson, but his shot was straight at the keeper.
Frazer Blake-Tracy found himself in on goal but held his head in his hands as his weak effort was touched out for a corner.
But there was a shock three minuets before half-time when Gash gave away a needless free-kick, the ball was floated into the area and nodded down for Ezra Forde, who tapped home from a yard.
Two minutes later the two-goal margin should have been restored when Clunan found Gash at the far post, but the striker’s volley was superbly pushed over for a corner.
Lynn did restore the cushion on 62 minutes when a wind-assisted free-kick floated in from the right caused havoc - and a Hitchin defender inadvertently got his boot to it - a goal that had shades of the Hitchin goal all over it.
Marriott could have put it beyond doubt minutes later but prodded past the post.
And then, out of nowhere, Hitchin hit back again, Jay Bird striking out of the blue from 20 yards on 70 minutes.
It could have been worse, but goalkeeper Street did brilliantly to deny Forde after some excellent close-quarter play by Hitchin.
The visitors were intent on making the final stages nervous ones for the Linnets, but the hosts held out for a valuable three points.
Lynn: Street, Robinson, Fryatt, McAuley, Blake-Tracy, Jarvis, Richards, Clunan, Henderson (Hawkins 80), Marriott, Gash. Subs: Parker, Mellors-Blair, Limb, Congreve. Goal: Marriott 5, Richards 12, 62og
Hitchin: Parker, Green, Chesmain, Dowie, Webb, Bickerstaff, Cain, Draper, Forde (Belgrove 89), Galliford, Bird (Penfold 85). Subs: Cue, Ryan, Mensah. Goal: Forde 42, Bird 70
Ref: A Sannerude (Lowestoft)