Linnets beaten by a touch or two of class from Notts County

Ross Barrows king's lynn notts county

Ross Barrows in action for King's Lynn Town against Notts County - Credit: Ian Burt

Ian Culverhouse praised his players after the Linnets were undone by two moments of brilliance by promotion hopefuls Notts County. 

The visitors’ goal was a spectacular long-range shot by Jake Reeves, but County boss Neil Ardley will be indebted to his keeper, Luke Pilling, for a magnificent save to deny Lynn striker Michael Gash in the second half. 

Ad while Lynn will be disappointed to lose, the Lyunn boss Culverhouse had few complaints about his players, who didn’t stint in their efforts against a team many have had nailed on to return to the Football League this season. 

“It was a great strike - but I thought we were excellent,” said Culverhouse.  

“We wanted to go toe to toe with them and I can’t ask for any more from them. That was a good quality game and we pushed one of the biggies all the way and unfortunately just fell short. 

“We were always a little bit short, especially around the six-yard box, we just needed one to be kind to us. We probably didn’t gamble enough in there but I thought we were excellent, I can’t fault them, they were superb. 

“We got enough bodies forward – last week (against Bromley) we didn’t, we left the centre forward isolated but we got bodies in good positions and sometimes you just have to gamble on a shot.” 

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Culverhouse broke a habit and singled out one of his players for special praise. 

“I thought Cameron King – my god, what a performance that was,” he said. “He was outstanding. I don’t like to single anyone out because I thought the whole team was great but I thought he was head and shoulders above anyone on the pitch. 

“He is a talent, he always has been and we were so grateful when he came back and now you are seeing him as he really is, he is a really talented boy.” 

In the end quality told, although against the background of indecision over the future of the National League, it may all have been for nothing should clubs vote to bring the season to an end. 

Culverhouse made four changes to the team which lost to Bromley – in came Ryan Jarvis, Ross Barrows, Kairo Mitchell and Sonny Carey, with no place in the starting XI for Alex Kiwomya and Michael Gash, who were on the bench, and Sam Kelly and Aaron Jones. 

Jones has a ruptured Achilles injury, which looks likely to keep him out of action for what remains of the season. 

Mitchell was being asked to plough the lonely furrow up front, but Lynn’s immediate worries concerned Jarvis, left limping after a hefty tackle. 

The experienced midfielder ran it off, with Lynn on the front foot in the early stages. 

But County are a dangerous outfit and Chris Smith did well to block a shot from Ruben Rodrigues who moments later directed a free header straight at keeper Archie Mair. 

But the visitors began to impose themselves on the game and there was more than a hint of rearguard action required by Lynn.  

Breaks were rare for Lynn, but Carey did well to turn a couple of opponents in the middle of the park before slotting a ball through for Mitchell, only for keeper Luke Pilling to fly out and clear. 

Former Coventry midfielder Michael Doyle was pulling the strings for County, but it was Jordan Barnett who went closest, with a left-footed free-kick from 20 yards which went inches wide of Mair’s left-hand post. 

Moments later Carey’s left-footed effort from just outside the area took a slight deflection but Pilling got down well to gather. 

It was a patient approach by the visitors, who were more than happy to pass it around before an opening arrived – with Lynn doing the chasing. 

Mitchell had half a chance when he chased down Pilling, whose clearance hit him but went out for a goal kick. 

Mitchell then had a much better opportunity when Cameron King took advantage of a slip, slid the ball to the striker in the area but his shot skidded across the area and past the far post. 

Lynn’s most dangerous first-half play came as the interval approached - Mitchell dispossessed Alex Lacey down the right flank, headed for goal, but saw Pilling turn his shot around the post – the County player atoning for his slackness by clearing Rory McAuley’s header off the line from the resulting corner, the closest either side had come to breaking the deadlock. 

Considering the respective positions and current form of the teams, Lynn will have been pleased with their first-half performance, which was full of commitment to the cause. 

But that hard work was undone on 54 minutes, and in spectacular style – Jake Reeves, from 30 yards out, hit a right-footed belter that sailed over Mair’s head. 

The big question for Lynn was how they would respond.  Carey tried his luck from the edge of the area but his decent effort was wide. 

Culverhouse still had his big guns on the bench, and soon after the hour mark called them on, Gash replacing McAuley and Marriott for Mitchell, who deserved the few handclaps that greeted his departure. 

Alex Kiwomya soon joined them as Culverhouse bravely went in search of an equaliser. 

It didn’t take long for Gash to make an impact, with a right-footed shot that looked to have given Lynn the equaliser only for Pilling to stretch and stretch to his right and palm the ball away. 

Gash then drove a shot across the face of goal as Lynn pressed, but despite the most concerted of efforts, Lynn fell just short. 

Lynn: Mair, Barrows, Callan-McFadden, Smith, McAuley (Gash 64), Denton, Richards, Jarvis (Kiwomya 71), King, Carey, Mitchell (Marriott 764). Subs not used: Clunan, Southwell. 

Notts County: Pilling, Reeves, Barnett, Doyle, Wootton, Boldewijn (Turner 84), Rawlinson, Kelly-Evans, Knowles (Miller 69), Rodrigues (Effiong 84), Lacey. Subs not used: O’Brien, Sam. 

Goal: Reeves 54