Photo gallery: Evo-Stik Premier Division: King’s Lynn Town 0, FC United 0
- Credit: Matthew Usher
Lynn shook off their leaky tag for a second week by holding big-name FC United to a draw at The Walks.
The back-to-back promoted Linnets kept their second successive clean sheet – against the league's most famous team – to banish memories of some miserable defensive displays a few weeks ago.
The Norfolk outfit put in a brave shift to keep FC at bay and even threatened their illustrious visitors in the second half. But despite the men from Manchester having Dean Stott sent off with about 15 minutes left, Lynn couldn't turn their well-earned draw into a hard-fought victory.
With Ryan Clarke suspended, Lynn boss Gary Setchell was forced into making one change to his side that ended a run of three straight home defeats by beating Whitby Town 3-0 last time out. Midfielder George Thomson was restored to the starting line-up in an unfamiliar right-back role to compensate for the banned player's absence.
FC, formed by disillusioned Manchester United fans in 2005, arrived with a huge reputation. They've shot up the non-league ladder, much like reformed Lynn, and have a fanbase that dwarfs that of even the well-supported Linnets.
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With a hearty contingent singing loud and proud in the side opposite the main stand, the reds showed why they have reached three Evo-Stik Premier Division play-off finals on the bounce.
They looked slick, moved the ball around expertly, and controlled proceedings. Stott in front of the back four looked a classy operator and was the instigator to much of the visitors' fine early work.
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They fashioned the first sight of goal when Astley Mulholland cut in front the left and unleashed a long-range drive which crashed off the outside of Alex Street's post. Try as they might – and they really did – the Linnets couldn't get hold of the ball. But they retained possession when Jason Lee made an expert tackle to deny Mulholland in the area after he had been released exquisitely by Stott.
Yet the hosts kept their shape, kept working, maintained their discipline, and soon started to find their feet. While they didn't take control, Dan Jacob stung the palms of Jon Worsnop.
Lone frontman Rob Duffy – who was starved of service – finally saw an opening on the half-hour. But the experienced frontman's excitement got the better of him and he lashed over.
For all their fine shape and defending across the park, with Andy Hall buzzing around like a man possessed, Setchell's troops nearly undone their good work by marking sloppily from a cross and a corner.
First, Matthew Wolfenden's centre found an unmarked Greg Daniels just six yards from goal. But he headed over what was easily the best chance of the game so far. Then, Tom Davies' headed was flicked goalwards by Michael Norton but Street made an amazing reaction save to deny his attempt from close range.
Lynn's new number one, with Danny Gay leaving the club in the week, continued his fantastic form after the break to keep the scores level. Davies played in Mulholland early on but the shot-stopper known as Pedro showed strong wrists to keep out his sidefooted shot.
With the match opening up, Lynn centre-back Ryan Fryatt crashed a header against the post, Wolfenden dragged a drive wide at the other end, and Hall saw a left-footed cracker kept out well by FC's goalie.
Fryatt had another header stopped by Worsnop – who got up quickly to tip over the ball which had looped into the air from the initial save – while United substitute Matthew Walwyn screwed wide.
It looked like a goal was coming. It felt like an FA Trophy game from last term when Lynn kept in it during the opening period and expanded their play in the second 45. Their cause appeared to have been helped when Stott, FC's skipper, was sent off for a second bookable offence after a rash challenge on Gary Mills near the touchline.
But despite Setchell making a raft of attacking substitutions, he couldn't help his men find a winner.
Lynn (4-5-1): Street, Thomson, Fryatt, Lee, Yong, Hall (Spriggs, 80), Mills (E. Clarke, 85), Quigley, Jones, Jacob, Duffy (Bunting, 46). Subs not used: Butt, Ward. Booked: None. Goals: None
FC United (4-2-3-1): Worsnop, Brownhill, Daniels (Byrne, 84), Stott, Davies, Neville, Wolfenden (Rodriguez, 77), Worsley, Norton, Wright, Mulholland (Walwyn, 57). Subs not used: Greaves, Pearson. Booked: Stott (x2), Worsley. Sent off: Stott (74th min) Goals: None.
Referee: N. Smith