Photo galleries: King’s Lynn Town 5 Stafford Rangers 1
- Credit: IAN BURT
Captain Ryan Clarke bagged his first goal for Lynn as they continued their rampant home form.
Despite going undeservedly behind, courtesy of George Thomson's own goal, The Walks' faithful were treated to another flurry of strikes from their team – just like they were last time out on their own turf during a 4-0 Norfolk Senior Cup victory over Dereham Town.
Rob Duffy made it 1-1 before centre-back Ryan Fryatt's third strike in four games, and his fourth in six, gave Lynn the lead their play warranted. Thomson made up for his earlier misfortune by making it three with a sweet set piece before new skipper Ryan Clarke provided a finish his brother, and Linnets striker Ewan, would have been proud of by making it four late on. And there was still time for Andy Hall to strike in injury time to round off a five-star display.
Gary Setchell's men went into the game as favourites with their opponents sitting just one place off the bottom at the foot of the Evo-Stik Premier Division table. And they certainly looked to be the team with more confidence as they started brightly.
Loanee Jake Jones was the leading light in the early exchanges as he danced across the pitch with all the grace of a higher-level winger. The Tamworth starlet's bag of tricks and direct style was hurting Rangers down their left-hand side.
It was the 20-year-old who spurned his side's first opportunity of the game, and he really should have done better than he did. Released by Hall, he powered up the right only to drag his effort across Jonathan Brain's goal and just wide.
Minutes later Hall was found by Ryan Clarke and he did exactly the same with his attempt. However, in his defence he was outside of the area.
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The Walks outfit kept coming and Jones – showing he has more than just one side to his game – won a tackle against Darren Bullock he should never have done and squared to frontman Duffy. Yet, the Linnets' number nine shanked his shot.
Marc Goodfellow drew a decent save from Brain with another trademark free-kick and there only looked to be one team on the ascendency. Even James McCarthy's header, which was comfortably saved by Alex Street in the home goal, failed to raise any concern.
But against the run of play Rangers took a fortuitous lead. Mark Kinsella's set-piece was glanced home inadvertently by Thomson and the away side had a shock advantage.
It took less than a minute for the Norfolk outfit to restore parity when Dan Quigley's mis-hit drive was thumped home by Duffy. Lynn were the level and it was the least they deserved.
The game entered something of a scrappy stage with Stafford eeking their way back into the fixture. Long-range efforts by Thomson and the visitors Louis Harris and the impressive Sean Kinsella threatened the scoresheet.
However, the closest either team came to taking a lead into the break was Setchell's troops on the stroke of half-time. Jones hit the post, Hall's rebound was blocked and Goodfellow's follow-up was just poked around the post by the toe of Rangers' goalie.
Lynn would have taken a lead into the interval had they of been more ruthless. And it didn't take them long to finally go in front after the restart.
Kinsella went close for Stafford, as did Goodfellow for the Linnets, with the pair drawing decent saves from their opposing goalkeepers. But Brain was powerless to prevent Fryatt – such a danger from set pieces – thumping a header home in the 50th minute. It was a sweet delivery from Goodfellow and an even better finish from Setchell's contracted youngster.
The same combination nearly paid off a few minutes later. Unfortunately this time the centre-back's header lacked the direction of his earlier one and whistled just off target.
If the men in yellow thought the game was over they were given a swift warning when Harris tricked his way through the hosts' defence to open up a clear sight of goal. Inexplicably, after a slight touch from Ryan Clarke, he decided to stop rather than shoot and Lynn's number one raced off his line to smother the ball.
That error proved costly as Thomson classily stroked the home side into a two-goal lead not long after as he beautifully flighted a free-kick around the wall and into the net with about 20 minutes left.
And Clarke put the icing on the cake by netting in a Lynn shirt for the first time to make it 4-1 in the 81st minute by sliding home Hall's clever cutback. But there was more to come as Hall turned home substitute Jack McGovern's miscued shot as Lynn went nap.
Lynn (4-2-3-1): Street, R. Clarke, Fryatt, Lee, Yong, Jones, Quigley (E. Clarke, 85), Thomson, Hall, Goodfellow (McDonald, 65), Duffy (McGovern, 79). Subs not used: Ward, Mulready. Booked: None. Goals: Duffy (22), Fryatt (50), Thomson (72), R. Clarke (81). Hall (90+2)
Stafford (4-4-2): Brain, Bateman, Chadwick, Morris, Bullock (Davies, 9), Johnson, McCarthy, Burke, Woolery, Kinsella (Lees, 73), Harris. Subs not used: Healy, Alcock. Booked: Burke. Goal: Thomson (og, 21).
Referee: D. Robathan