Photo gallery: Evo-Stik Premier Division: King’s Lynn Town 2, Droylesden 1
- Credit: IAN BURT
Substitute Rob Duffy made an instant impact by scoring inside 30 seconds of his debut to help Lynn edge Droylesden.
Phil Gulliver had given the Linnets the lead in the second-half before Dylan Moloney reduced the arreas with a clever finish to leave the game on a knife-edge.
On came the former Wales Under-21 striker, who has played for a string of top non-league clubs, immediately with the stage set for him to be the hero.
And he wasted no time in grabbing the opportunity by scoring with his first chance, and second touch, to get his life at Lynn off to a flier and maintain his side's unbeaten home start to the campaign.
While the back-to-back promoted Linnets have had a decent start to the term, the same couldn't be said for the Bloods going into today's match. The relegated Skrill (Conference) North outfit had failed to win in all of their six matches so far and were looking for an improved showing.
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Boss David Pace handed debuts to midweek signings Carlos Rouse-Edmundson, Enes Firmino and James Holden in the hope of inflicting the Linnets first home defeat of the Evo-Stik Premier Division campaign.
Gary Setchell also made changes from the side that drew 1-1 at home to Grantham Town in midweek. In came Richard Bunting, for the injured Gary Mills, while Andy Hall replaced top goalscorer Dan Jacob. He dropped to the bench to rest a toe injury.
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The Manchester-based visitors looked anything like a struggling team in the early stages mind as they zipped the ball about confidently. Some intricate link-up play looked pretty, but they rarely got in behind the hosts' backline.
As a result, the first opening came the way of Lynn after about 10 minutes thanks to Sam Mulready. The striker's clever turn and pass released Bunting but on his weaker left foot he could only force Dale Latham into a comfortable save.
The Linnets captain, often the holding midfielder, found himself breaking into the box more than he usually does to try and get things going for the Division One South champions.
A couple of long-range drives for the Bloods' Moloney and Lynn's George Thomson aside, there was little to get the crowd excited on national Non-League Day. And when they did have something to make some noise about, namely Steve Spriggs appearing to be hauled down in the box by Rouse-Edmundson, their decent penalty shouts were waved away.
Bunting broke forward again and should have been played in by substitute Shane Tolley – who replaced Mulready on the half-hour – but he opted to go for goal instead and could only scuff an effort at Latham. The excellent Bunting, who was everywhere, fizzed one over.
Yet the best chance of the half, just before the break, fell to Droylsden's Luke McCarthy. Played in superbly by Domaine Rouse, he rounded Lynn 'keeper Danny Gay, and steered the ball goalwards. However, Jordan Yong raced back to save the day with a crucial clearance off his own line.
That brought to an end a pretty even first half which, by recent standards at The Walks, was lacking in the entertainment stakes.
Setchell tried to change that at the break by replacing Spriggs with Jacob. He powered forward to help create a half-chance inside 60 seconds which saw Dan Quigley volley Hall's cross straight into the chest of the away outfit's goalie.
Yet it was the men from up north who went closest again when they had another effort cleared off the line. Gay had made a decent save from Matty Ward. But from the resulting corner, Andy Langford's header looked destined for the bottom corner until Hall – who stuck to his post – hooked away.
His concentration was rewarded a few minutes later when the Linnets finally put in a telling delivery. Thomson's delicious centre was inviting and Gulliver wanted it more than anyone else in the box. He got across a host of defenders, while unmarked, and thumped the ball home with his head.
Rouse-Edmunson nearly turned through his own net, when tackling Tolley, as the hosts pressed for a second. Thomson and Hall had decent efforts saved. And Jacob looked set to make it two when he was played in by the outstanding Ryan Clarke who had strode forward powerfully from right-back. However, the hitman known as Breezy trod on top of the ball and fell over.
With the score at 1-0, an air of nervousness engulfed The Walks. Those worries were heightened when Moloney scuffed a shot goalwards. But Gay was equal to it.
Yet after Clarke's cross was smashed against the bar by Tolley, their fears were soon realised. Sixty seconds after Lynn had struck the woodwork, Moloney stepped over the ball, waltzed into the box and bent a sweet shot into the far corner to make it 1-1.
On came Duffy and he didn't take long to show why he's played at a higher level. He latched onto Jason Lee's diagonal through ball, brought the ball down with his knee in such a manner as to deceive Droylsden's defenders and 'keeper, and cooly rolled the ball into a near empty-net. What a moment it was for a man who has barely kicked a ball for a year after dislocating his ankle while playing for Lincoln City.
Duffy showed some expert touches in the remaining minutes, especially to hold the ball-up, as Lynn saw the game out to pick up three more very valuable points.
Lynn (4-3-3): Gay, R. Clarke, Gulliver, Lee, Yong, Spriggs (Jacob, 46), Bunting, Quigley, Thomson, Hall (Duffy, 69), Mulready (Tolley, 31). Subs not used: Fernandes, Butt. Booked: Bunting, Lee. Goals: Gulliver (55), Duffy (70)
Droylsden (3-4-3): Latham, Grant (Hibbert, 64), Rouse-Edmundson, Langford, Firmino, Holden, McCarthy (Slaven, 71), Killeen, Rouse, Silveiro (Moloney, 17), Ward. Subs not used: Clarkson, Kinsella. Booked: Rouse, Moloney. Goal: Moloney (68)
Referee: N. Smith