Linnets pay price for lack of firepower

King's Lynn 1, Mangotsfield 1Keith Webb will be hoping that Santa delivers some new shooting boots to his charges this Christmas as Mangotsfield were let off the hook at The Walks on Saturday.

King's Lynn 1, Mangotsfield 1

Keith Webb will be hoping that Santa delivers some new shooting boots to his charges this Christmas as Mangotsfield were let off the hook at The Walks on Saturday.

Despite controlling the game for long spells, Lynn's defence handed Mangotsfield's Dave Morrisey a gift-wrapped opener on the hour and were grateful to Danny Bloomfield, who restored parity to proceedings five minutes later.

However, the festive goodwill shown towards their opponents did not stop the Linnets from claiming the Christmas number one spot in the Premier Division by a point. But afterwards boss Webb was disappointed that it wasn't a three-point mark that had been laid down.

"We've played some good stuff today but again we haven't been ruthless enough in the areas where we must hurt teams.

"With saying that I know that we have the players here who can do that for me and I have no doubt that they will be doing it again for me in the very near future."

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Webb made no less than four changes to the line-up that bowed out of the FA Trophy at Cambridge United the previous week.

Skipper Mark Warren returned along with Michael Frew, the pair both having recovered from a bout of flu. Bloomfield returned following his tactical exclusion and there was a full Lynn debut for central midfield trialist Ben Sedgemore.

As a result Steve Melton, Andrew Fisk and John Turner all took bench places but there was no space in the 16 for Phil Mulryne.

The Linnets launched themselves at Field from the off as Joe Francis found Bloomfield, who shook off the attentions of the portly Gary Thorne before sending a bobbling shot past John Rendell's post. A delightful Sedgemore pass located Francis whose teasing cross-shot was inches away from its target and Sedgemore had a drive blocked by a defender as the visitors grimly held firm.

Frew appeared to be tripped in the box but the home side's appeals were waved aside and then Dean West joined the attacking fray as he cut inside his marker and sent a 20-yard swirling shot over Rendell's bar.

Frew then somehow missed from two yards after Francis, Bloomfield and Jack Defty had all resisted the chance to have a dig.

Just before the interval, Morrisey shot across goal as Mangotsfield had a rare visit into Lynn territory.

Sedgemore and Mark Camm produced a midfield mix-up which allowed Morrisey a glimpse of a chance before the former fizzed the ball over Rendell's bar following impressive Linnets approach work.

Mangotsfield took the lead on the hour as Morrisey produced a controlled back-post finish following Luke Ballinger's low centre.

That was harsh on Lynn but it took them barely five minutes to level as Bloomfield took Defty's bait to send the ball under Rendell from an acute angle.

Defty then spurned a couple of half chances to win it for the Linnets but failed to work Rendell on either occasion.

It was however the visitors who had one final chance to secure an undeserved victory. The hard-working Alan Griffin won the ball and set away Ballinger whose 25-yard screamer completely deceived Scott Howie before crashing against the crossbar and bouncing away to safety with the bemused keeper a motionless spectator.

King's Lynn: Howie, West, Chapman, Warren, Crane, Camm (Fisk 81), Frew (Melton 54), Sedgemore, Defty, Bloomfield (Nolan 81), Francis. Unused subs: Turner, Murray.

Bookings: Warren (80).

Mangotsfield: Rendell, Arndale, Allwood (Kilgour 39), Thorne, Milsolm, Criddle, Willmott, Mowatt, Griffin, Ballinger, Morrisey. Unused subs: Stewart, Douglas, French.

Bookings: Griffin (62), Morrisey (27).

Referee: Richard Beevor (Hedenham).

Attendance: 916.