Photo gallery: Peter Swales Challenge Shield final: King’s Lynn Town 1, Skelmersdale United 6
- Credit: IAN BURT
Lynn ended a memorable campaign with a deserved home defeat in a clash between two Evo-Stik champions.
The end-of-season match between two Step Four title-winners was comfortably won by Division One North kings Skelmersdale as they passed an understrength Lynn off the park.
First-half goals from Mark Jackson, Josh Hine and Adam Morning put Skem into a convincing lead before George Thomson's second-half penalty reduced the deficit. However, Hine claimed a second-half hat-trick to complete his team's rout and take the Peter Swales Challenge Shield back up north.
In glorious Bank Holiday sunshine, the game certainly had a pre-season feel to it before kick-off. Both sides had secured their league titles so the match had little riding on it compared to the pressure of their recent promotion chases.
Skelmersdale travelled all the way down from Lancashire as Evo-Stik Division One North champions having collected a huge 102 points. The Linnets, who won 3-0 in their final league game at Belper Town on Saturday, ended the league campaign as the kings of Evo-Stik Division One South having moved up to Step Three of the non-league ladder at the first possible opportunity.
Lynn boss Gary Setchell shuffled his pack and included some reserve-team youngsters in his squad for the afternoon's game while Skem field a near full-strength team – hardly a surprise after being forced to travel almost 200 miles for the 'cup final'.
The visitors perhaps started in slightly better fashion with midfield pair Matty Hughes and Antony Hickey driving forward. But Lynn also seemed keen to attack on a day of relaxed football.
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Linnets' left-back Jordan Yong never needs an invitation to get forward and he did just that after about 10 minutes. His vicious shot from 30 yards matched the power of his drive into Skem's half but it whistled just past Sam Ashton's upright.
United continued to get into some dangerous positions but their final ball missed its intended target on a couple of occasions, with Jason Lee and Ryan Fryatt snuffing out any other danger.
There was a decent tempo to the match with plenty of spaces for both sides to attack. Thomson charged into one such hole but drove his attempt over Skem's crossbar.
The pretty passing on show soon paid dividends though as the visitors scored two goals – the second a carbon-copy of the first.
Dale Wright poked the ball through to Hine and he squared for Jackson to roll the ball home from six yards out. Then, this time down Lynn's right, Hickey released Morning and he laid it on a plate for Hine to turn from provider to goalscorer in the space of 180 seconds.
Lynn fashioned an almost identical chance minutes later to reduce the deficit but Shane Tolley opted to square for Sam Mulready, rather than shoot, and the ball was cleared comfortably.
Charlie Butt saw a sight of an opening but his scuffed shot was easily saved. And at the other end, Skem hit back immediately in clinical fashion.
Left-winger Morning cut in from his flank to latch onto a through ball before dispatching home expertly with his supposedly weaker right foot. It was a great finish, which gave his side a huge chance of leaving Norfolk with some silverware by going 3-0 up inside 35 minutes.
They looked hungrier, better in possession, and incisive in the final third. Hine should have made the game safe when he latched onto Wright's defence-splitting pass but saw his shot saved by the legs of Alex Street.
The half-time whistle soon blew and it probably came as a welcome relief for the Linnets who looked tired from their excursions of recent weeks which saw them pip Coalville Town to the title.
Butt had a 30-yarder well saved by the visitors' 'keeper as Lynn looked to press home an early advantage after the re-start. Yet the lively Hine soon nearly made it four when he crashed at shot goalwards – which Street parried over well.
Reserve-team trio Shaun Stocker, Luke Biles and Chris Ward were given their chance to show off why they're so highly-rated. And Stocker certainly did that by spraying some nice passes about. However, the equally impressive Hughes continued to display great ability as he cut back onto his left foot and curled a shot inches from Street's top corner. It clipped the top of the cross bar on the way to safety.
It had been better from The Walks' club after the break and they got the goal their improvement deserved just after the hour mark. Mulready was charge in the back by Ken Strickland while going for a header and the man in the middle pointed to the penalty spot.
Thomson stepped up and calmly stroked the ball home to restore some pride, and give his side hope of completing a comeback. However, Hine soon removed any danger of that happening by heading home Strickland's outstanding cross at the back post to score his second and Skem's fourth. He bagged his third by turning home Mike Phenix's cross-come shot.
And then, to add salt to Lynn's wounds, notched a fourth when he pounced upon Lee's short header back to Street and lobbed Lynn's keeper cooly from 20 yards.
Lynn: Street, Watson (Biles, 50), Fryatt, Lee, Yong (Ward, 61), Butt, Thomson, Jepson (Stocker, 50), Beaumont, Tolley, Mulready. Subs not used: Dunkley, Spriggs. Goal: Thomson (pen, 65)
Skelmersdale: Ashton, Strickland, Holden, Hardwick, McIntosh, Wright, Hughes, Hickey, Jackson (Griffiths, 83), Hine, Morning (Phenix, 67). Subs not used: Woolcott, Field, Burgess. Goals: Jackson (22), Hine (24, 75, 86, 87), Morning (36)
Referee: S. Meredith