Photo gallery & video highlights: Evo-Stik Premier Division: King’s Lynn Town 3, Buxton 1
- Credit: Matthew Usher
Classy winger Jake Jones celebrated his permanent return to Lynn by notching in his new club's fourth successive victory.
The Linnets, who went into the game already enjoying their best run of the season, extended it thanks to goals from Ewan Clarke, George Thomson and a former loanee who on Thursday night signed full-time for The Walks club.
Jones bagged the official man of the match award and dazzled again and his presence should help Lynn continue to threaten a surprise end-of-season place in the Evo-Stik Premier Division play-offs.
The hosts, fifth in the table going into the match, were once again without the long-term banned Massiah McDonald but were also forced into two other changes. Defender Ryan Fryatt missed out due to the one-game suspension he picked up for getting sent off at Stamford on Boxing Day while Sam Mulready was sidelined with a hamstring problem.
Fryatt's omission meant a reshuffle in defence with Peter Bore playing in Ryan Clarke's usual right-back position and Lynn's captain slotting in at centre-back. Elsewhere, new loan signing Charley Sanders took his place alongside Boston United team-mate and temporary Linnet Gary Mills on the bench after completing his move across the Lincolnshire/Norfolk border last night.
It was a good job Gary Setchell's skipper adjusted to his new role immediately because he had to make two excellent early interventions to deny the Derbyshire-based visitors from breaking into the danger area. While Buxton arrived on the back of three defeats they started the brighter zipping the ball around briskly and maintaining a decent spell of possession early on.
Lynn's play flourished until the final third where a number of players' final balls were regularly being misplaced. It meant Dan Quigley had to fire his team's first attempt from way out and it whistled over with plenty of room to spare.
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Alex Street was the first keeper to get his hands dirty and he did well to push away visiting frontman Jacob Hazel's thumping half volley. A few moments later, in the 20th minute, Lee Morris attacked a deep cross at the back post and headed just over Lynn's goal.
A nasty clash of heads between Quigley, which saw him return to the field bandaged up like Terry Butcher, and Derek Niven, caused a lengthy stoppage. When the action returned a clever one-two between Jones – who ripped up his contract at Tamworth this week – and Thomson nearly teed up Ewan Clarke. However, despite his best attempts, the ball was behind him and he couldn't turn it goalwards with a great deal of power.
Thomson forced Andy Warrington into a fine save with one of his customary long-range rockets as Lynn turned the screw. And they broke the deadlock just after the half-hour mark when Jack McGovern's flighted left-footed centre was flick-headed home excellently into the top corner by Ewan Clarke.
Had it not been for the away outfit's number one it would have been 2-0 before the break but he was good enough to tip Thomson's delicious free-kick around the post.
After the interval it was Martin McIntosh's troops who looked the more dangerous from the off. Niven had a free kick deflected wide and from the resulting corner Street had to punch away twice to clear the danger.
But it was the Norfolk club who found the net next when Tim Ryan sliced a clearance and put his team in danger. While Ashley Palmer's block did enough to stop Jones in his tracks the ball fell to Thomson and he lashed it home from just inside the area.
The third came three minutes later when Andy Hall fed Jones and he curled the ball home beautifully into the bottom corner with his right foot. And the goalscorer almost turned provider, of sorts, when he dumped Grant Black on his backside before testing Warrington. The veteran's save teed up Hall but he could only lash the rising ball over the crossbar with most of the goal to hit.
Bux pulled a goal back with just under 20 minutes left when substitute Matt Thornhill beat Street to Steven Istead's cross and headed home. A few inevitable nerves surfaced when Palmer was gifted a free header which he only failed to convert due to the fact he was about 15 yards out.
The anxiety increased as the 11 men in command fell deeper and deeper into their own territory. The away side, invited forward, pressed and Thornhill nearly bagged his second with a shot from 20 yards. Thankfully for Lynn, Street redeemed himself to palm it away.
And had Bore not also done his job and covered around so dilligently from full-back Mark Reed would have had a free path to Lynn's goal after Istead's diagonal ball evaded the stretching Ryan Clarke.
Thomson fired wide twice at the other end as Lynn looked to relieve some late pressure, which wasn't helped by Ryan Clarke leaving the pitch with what looked like a bloody nose. But he was eventually replaced by Chris Ward to ease some of the drama – which still returned in the final few minutes.
Buxton should have had a penalty when Bore clearly handled the ball but almost immediately they received a let off themselves when Chris Francis failed to point to the spot – despite Jones being upended by Palmer.
There was still time for Thornhill to miss a sitter as the side in red returned home pointless wishing they could have made more of their late supremacy.
Lynn (4-2-3-1): Street, Bore, R. Clarke (Ward, 86), Lee, Yong, McGovern, Hall, Quigley (Mills, 65), Thomson, Jones, E. Clarke (Sanders, 64). Subs not used: Stocker, Duffy. Booked: Quigley. Goals: E. Clarke (36), Thomson (51), Jones (54)
Buxton (4-4-2): Warrington, Black, Green, Istead, Palmer, Ryan, Stevens (Thornhill, 55), Niven, Morris, Hazel (Reed, 55), King. Subs not used: Johnson, Stanway. Booked: None. Goal: Thornhill (67).
Referee: C. Francis
- Video highlights provided by King's Lynn Town Football Club's YouTube channel.