Photo gallery: Evo-Stik Premier Division: King’s Lynn Town 0, Halesowen Town 0
- Credit: Matthew Usher
Lynn recorded back-to-back league clean sheets for the first time this season but had to settle for a point after striking the woodwork twice.
Gregg Smith's header hit a post while Ross Watson's late 40-yard blockbuster crashed against the bar as they looked to profit from another improved defensive display.
But it wasn't to be as the hosts – who had Jackson Ramm deservedly sent off for two second-half bookings with 20 minutes to go – had to make do with four points from six to start their 2015.
Lynn went into the game looking to build on a hard-fought home 1-0 New Year's Day over Stamford which boss Gary Setchell hoped would instigate a play-off push.
The Linnets' manager, unsurprisingly, made three changes for his men's second game in 48 hours. But, two of those were enforced with Dan Quigley suspended and Steve Spriggs being taken ill during the warm-up, which saved Sam Mulready from missing out. Elsewhere, Shaun Stocker dropped to the bench on a day when Ramm, David Bridges and January 1 matchwinner Smith – who scored with his first touch after coming on in the second period against the Daniels – made the 11.
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Mulready and Smith played as a front two with usual number 10 George Thomson being utilised on the left of a four-man midfield. He flashed a couple of excellent efforts goalwards in the opening five minutes with one stinging keeper Samuel Pearson's fingertips and the other drifting just wide of the far post.
The hosts' bright start on a very boggy pitch also saw Michael Frew nearly play in Mulready but he failed to connect despite being at full stretch.
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The derby triumph also provided a welcome unbreached backline and Setchell's troops seemed determined to record successive shut-outs. Centre-backs Ryan Fryatt and Henry Eze, twice, made excellent interventions to deny the visitors a shot on target. Their only effort of the opening quarter, courtesy of Daniel Bragoli, was well off target.
The rest of the half remained pretty heavy going in tough conditions with Smith going by far the closest to breaking the deadlock. His excellent header from Jordan Yong's sweet centre struck the upright while a stretched effort from inside the six-yard-box on the stroke of half time was lifted over the bar.
The rock-solid displays of Eze, in particular, and the rest of the back four - especially his centre-back partner Fryatt - restricted the Yeltz to mainly long shots – one of which from right-back Kristian Green had shot-stopper Alex Street scrambling across his goal in panic.
That drive going just wide meant Halesowen – who nearly benefitted from Street's earlier fumble until Ramm's block with his back to deny Aaron Griffiths spared his blushes – went in at the interval without having troubled the shots on target column.
A couple of minutes after the restart Mulready flashed a David Bell set piece across the goal as the home club tried to gain an early ascendency. Other forays forward were cut off by excellent defensive headers as attacking players prepared to pounce.
Halesowen's forward play was usually stopped in its tracks long before any serious panic was caused. Just the once, Eze and Fryatt were second best again Aaron Daniels but Bridges' sensational tracking back from midfield, and recovery challenge, averted the trouble.
The Yeltz finally worked goalie Street in the 68th minute when defender Joel Kettle found himself in an advanced position from a free-kick. He, despite the close attentions of marker Fryatt, managed to turn and fire but Lynn's keeper had closed the gap at his near post sufficiently.
Ramm soon recieved his marching orders for smashing through Griffiths after being beaten to a loose ball. There appeared to be not one ounce of malice in it but it was certainly a booking – and the right-back's second of the afternoon.
Watson rattled the woodwork from distance with a worldy for Lynn while Daniels worked Street as the search for a winner stepped up in the last 10 minutes.
Sponsor's man of the match Eze produced a great tackle in time added on to stop Green in his tracks as Halesowen pressed. But both teams had to make do with a point.
Lynn (4-4-2): Street, Ramm, Eze, Fryatt, Yong, Frew, Bell, Bridges, Mulready (Watson, 74), Thomson, Smith. Subs not used: Pearson, Ward, Stocker. Booked: Smith, Frew. Sent off: Ramm (2 yellows, 70) Goal: None
Halesowen (3-5-2): Pearson, Green, Griffiths (Thompson-Brown, 71), Forde (Turner, 66), Kettle, Tilt, Charlton, Tonks, Daniels, Haseley (Christie, 79), Bragoli. Subs not used: Hull, Sargant. Booked: Bragoli. Goal: None
Referee: N. Cooper