Photo gallery: FA Cup fourth qualifying round: King’s Lynn Town 3, AFC Fylde 4
- Credit: Matthew Usher
A host of individual errors cost battling Lynn dearly as their dreams of reaching the FA Cup first round fell at the final hurdle.
A near 1,500 crowd were eyeing a huge fourth qualifying round upset when George Thomson's lobbed finish gave the Linnets hope of being in Monday's draw. But some kamikaze defending after the break undone all of the hosts' fine work as they blew their chances of being in the competition when Football League teams enter the hat.
Keeper Alex Street and Ryan Fryatt were the main culprits with each making a couple of mistakes to allow the big-spending Coasters to find the net four times. Richie Allen was the main beneficiary and his hat-trick in the end wrapped things up.
But Lynn didn't go down without a brave effort, twice reducing two-goal advantages through Thomson and Steve Spriggs, in a pulsating encounter. Michael Frew even saw a header at the death go agonisingly over. Yet in the end a match that had almost everything – including Spriggs being sent off for a late off-the-ball incident and Brad Barnes see red for a couple of bookings – failed to get the result it desired.
And at the end of the day Lynn only had themselves to blame as they pushed the Conference North leaders all the way yet ultimately came out on the wrong side of a seven-goal thriller.
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Gary Setchell's men went into the match knowing the odds were stacked against them despite being in the midst of a stunning seven-game unbeaten run. The Coasters have enjoyed a similar, but lengthier, spell of dominance having not tasted defeat in 13 matches and are leading the way in Conference North less than five months after gaining promotion from the Linnets' league.
In the corresponding fixture last term the men from Norfolk sprung a surprise by winning 2-0 thanks to goals from Mark Goodfellow and Sam Mulready. But a victory this afternoon would have been considerably more unexpected than it was almost a year ago.
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The air of excitement had been building pre-game as home fans dreamed of a fourth victory in front of their eyes during this term's competition. And that level of good feeling only continued when the club announced they had signed powerful centre-forward Gregg Smith from Grantham Town less than an hour before kick-off. However, despite the impressive piece of business the cup-tied player had to make do with a watching brief.
He'd have been impressed with his new team-mates' opening as David Bridges saw an early effort deflected just over after keeper Ben Hinchliffe had failed to collected David Bell's in-swinging corner. The men in blue and gold were up for it and so were the four-figure crowd that had filled the stadium.
The match soon settled with Fylde starting to display their obvious Conference set-up class. The visitors were keen to get the ball out to former Manchester United youngster Michael Barnes yet his centres were held well by Street and his opposite number, left-back Jordan Yong, won his fair share of duels between the two pacy operators.
The Coasters' territorial advantage gradually grew as Setchell's charges worked hard to maintain their shape and composure. But they were finding it hard to retain possession when they eventually got hold of it.
A couple of great interception-come-challenges from centre-back Ross Watson ensured it remained goalless after Fylde had got in behind twice in quick succession. The second time saw the defender clear after Richie Allen had forced Street into a save which he could only palm back out into the danger area.
That pressure didn't matter a jot though when against the run of play the underdogs took the lead. A long kick from Street evaded Michael Frew as he tried to flick the ball on allowing Thomson's gamble in behind to pay off as a result. The unmarked midfielder burst beyond the lone striker and lifted the ball over Hinchliffe as he tried to narrow the angle.
A second almost followed when Fryatt met Bell's latest flag kick but unfortunately bulleted his header wide. But the main thing was the lower-level Linnets were pressurising higher up the pitch and that helped ensure they took an advantage into the interval.
Impressive Fleetwood Town loanee Jamie Allen continued to terrorise Fryatt a few minutes into the restart as he left the centre-back for dead out wide. Thankfully for all connected with Town he failed to find any of the four incoming attackers, one of which was captain Brad Barnes.
Fryatt wasn't so fortunate in the 50th minute when he was punished fully for another error. The young defender missed a vital header which created danger at the heart of his team's back-line. Although Watson covered well he could only play the ball to Michael Barnes who raced clear and showed quality in picking out his man. Jamie Allen stepped over the ball to allow his cousin Richie to tuck the ball into the bottom corner and make it all square.
It was panic stations thereafter as only Jackson Ramm on his own line denied Jamie Allen a clear second after Liam Tomsett had rounded Street. Yet the Coasters didn't have to wait long to take control. Michael Potts' sensational piece of improvisation beat Street at his near post as Michael Barnes claimed his second assist. Fryatt's sliced clearance didn't cover his disjointed display in any glory.
And the third was even worse to watch as Fryatt looped the ball up into his own area and Street allowed Richie Allen to hold him off and volley home on the turn. It was never a foul and Lynn's keeper had to be stronger.
That looked game over until Thomson's hot streak continued when he tapped in from close range after substitute Jake Jones' shot had been palmed straight into his path by Hinchliffe.
Any hopes of a comeback were dashed and once again Lynn only had themselves to blame. Another poor piece of work by Street who strangely tried to save at his near post with his feet secured Richie Allen's hat-trick. He brushed off Ramm far too easily out wide but the hosts' goalie should have never been beaten like he was.
Spriggs' header with five minutes restored some hope but he received his marching orders for throwing Danny Lloyd-McGoldrick down following a bit of needle between the Fylde defender and Ramm in the far corner. Brad Barnes' followed him down the tunnel as he halted Ramm to pick up a second yellow.
And that still wasn't the end of things as Frew saw a header miss the target – although it looked for all the world like it had found the net – with his team failing to keep their fine cup run alive.
Lynn (4-4-1-1): Street, Ramm, Watson, Fryatt (Mulready, 75), Yong, Spriggs, Bell, Quigley (Jones, 56), Thomson, Bridges, Frew. Subs not used: Pearson, Stocker, Ward. Booked: Frew, Quigley, Ramm. Sent off: Spriggs (87) Goals: Thomson (33, 67), Spriggs (85)
Fylde (4-1-3-2): Hinchliffe, Hughes, Sumner, Langley, Hannigan, B. Barnes, Tomsett, Potts (Denson, 89), J. Allen, M. Barnes (Rowe, 83), R. Allen (Lloyd-McGoldrick, 75). Subs not used: Dootson, Booth, Charles, Blinkhorn. Booked: B. Barnes (x2), Lloyd-McGoldrick. Sent off: B. Barnes (91). Goals: R. Allen (50, 61, 72), Potts (55)
Referee: C. Fitch