Photo gallery: Evo-Stik Premier Division: King’s Lynn Town 1, Curzon Ashton 3
- Credit: IAN BURT
Ten-man Lynn's six-game unbeaten league run came to an end as Curzon kept up their fine start to life in the Northern League's top-flight.
A Ryan Brooke brace – separated by Linnets defender Henry Eze's straight red card – put the away outfit in control of the clash between fifth and fourth at a rain-lashed Walks.
And even though George Thomson pulled a goal back, Andrew Watson found the net with little more than 10 minutes left to quell any hopes of a fightback and keep Ashton above their hosts in the Evo-Stik Premier Division table.
Not for the first time this term, Gary Setchell had a threadbare squad to choose from going into the clash. Widemen Steve Spriggs and Jake Jones, along with right-back Jackson Ramm, were all suspended while frontman Gregg Smith failed a late fitness test thanks to a back problem.
Lynn were however boosted by the return of eligible-again Michael Frew – who missed Tuesday's 5-1 FA Trophy replay victory over Market Drayton Town – and David Bell, back himself from a short holiday.
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Much like their FA Cup victory in September over Hednesford, the depleted Linnets were up for the fight from the off – even if the first chance fell The Nash's way. Luke Horrocks streaked clear of midfield counterpart Dan Quigley down the left and found Ryan Watson at the back post. But he could only dribble a shot into the grateful arms of Alex Street.
A couple of minutes later Bell's in-swinging corner was headed just wide by the in-form David Bridges as both teams tried to take control of what was an even opening 10 minutes.
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A Thomson half-volley was held by keeper Hakan Burton as he did his best to stop the Lynn midfielder getting his name on the scoresheet for the seventh match in a row. At the other end, Brooke snatched at an opening after he was found by strike partner Niall Cummins in the box.
That man went the closest to breaking the deadlock in the 26th minute when he rattled a shot against the crossbar before Sam Walker stung Street's palms from distance. That pressure paid off within 60 seconds though as a short corner caught the hosts napping and Walker's fierce strike at goal was diverted into the net by the head of Brooke from within the six-yard-box.
Curzon dominated possession for the rest of the opening period but that was pretty much it in terms of decent opportunities as Town went in behind at the break.
A change in formation to 4-3-3 seemed to spark the Linnets into life after the interval with Ryan Fryatt and Thomson working Ashton's keeper. Frew found the net with a clever flick but was correctly adjudged to be offside.
Any hopes of a comeback were further damaged mind when Eze was handed his marching orders for a crunching foul on Walker in the middle of the park. It was similar, if not slightly worse, than the offence which brought Quigley to his knees early in the first half but the furious reaction of the visitors' players probably helped make the man in the middle's mind up.
Just four minutes later a tough task looked thankless however when Walker picked out Brooke expertly and he fired across Street into the bottom corner. It seemed like game over as the rain continued to pour down.
Sam Mulready, forced to eventually leave the pitch with a broken nose, spurned a decent chance as the hosts searched to find a way back into the game while team-mate Chris Ward cleared off his own line, and Cummins hit the woodwork with his rebound, as the men from Manchester chased a third.
Some excellent play from substitute Shaun Stocker gave Setchell's men a way back into the game after he completed a one-two before slipping in Frew. The frontman was hauled down in the box by Simon Lakeland and Thomson did the rest from the penalty spot to keep up his hot streak – and give the Linnets hope. The Curzon defender was arguably last man and could have joined Eze for an early bath.
Street kept any thoughts of a comeback alive when he raced off his line to deny Darren Thornton but with little more than 10 minutes the goalie was at fault as Ashton wrapped up their win. Andrew Watson beat the shot-stopper to a Walker flag-kick and powered the ball home to restore his men's two-goal advantage.
Ross Watson missed a late sighter to make it 3-2 as the game petered out with Ashton returning home three points to the good and gaining further belief they can challenge for back-to-back promotions.
Lynn (4-4-2): Street, Watson, Fryatt, Eze, Yong, Thomson, Quigley (Stocker, 56), Bridges, Bell, Frew, Mulready (Ward, 63). Subs not used: Stannard. Booked: Quigley. Sent off: Eze (51) Goal: Thomson (pen, 67)
Curzon (4-3-3): Burton, Lakeland (Crothers, 85), Thornton, Hunt, A. Watson, Rowney, R. Watson (Fitzgerald, 90+1), Walker, Cummins, Brooke (Woodford, 78), Horrocks. Subs not used: Shaw, Mason. Booked: Hunt, Lakeland. Goals: Brooke (28, 55), A. Watson (78).
Referee: N. Guest