Southern League Premier Division: King’s Lynn Town 0 Kettering Town 3

Liam Hurst, left, and Lynn endured a Boxing Day to forget. Picture: MATTHEW USHER

Liam Hurst, left, and Lynn endured a Boxing Day to forget. Picture: MATTHEW USHER

Lynn slumped to a deserved defeat in front of their biggest crowd of the season as the in-form Poppies continued their play-off push.

The Linnets failed to build on a bright start and faded dreadfully as Kettering enjoyed a brilliant Boxing Day at the home of their old rivals.

James Brighton's 43rd-minute opener had been coming and some more shoddy defending after the break ensured that the away side's excellent run of form was never going to be halted.

Wilson Carvalho bagged a brace in the second period – both times after being granted acres of space – to send a sizeable travelling support back to Northamptonshire in high spirits while at least 600 Lynn fans trudged off unhappily.

Teenage striker Dylan Edge had received a delayed Christmas present from boss Gary Setchell as he was handed his first senior Lynn start. It couldn't have come in a bigger game either with a larger than usual crowd coming through the turnstiles to get their taste of festive football.

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Home supporters must have been impressed by what they witnessed early on as the vibrant Linnets took control. David Bridges tried his luck twice while Lee Stevenson and Liam Hurst also let fly as the result of some inventive play.

The first warning sign of the visitors' cutting edge came on the quarter-hour mark when Alex Street had to be alert to end Gary Mulligan's bundling run. An even better intervention from Sam Gaughran saw him spare Michael Clunan's blushes after the Lynn midfielder played a loose ball beyond his back four.

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Luckily for the playmaker, his captain won an outstanding covering tackle to halt Brighton which would have resulted in a sending off had the centre-back not made contact with the ball first.

The same Kettering player was causing trouble again five minutes later when the hosts' backline was cut apart once more. This time he got into the box and tried to draw a foul from Street while dashing across his outstretched body. Brighton went to ground but referee Sean Feerick wasn't fooled and booked the wideman for diving, much to the anger of the visiting bench.

The Poppies' momentum grew as Mulligan – who flashed a header wide – and Brighton failed to make the most of decent sighters. The latter had all the time in the world to finish off a sweeping move involving Rene Howe and Carvalho but took too long and Ryan Fryatt got back to make a timely block.

Just as it looked like Marcus Law's men had failed to make the most of an encouraging end to the opening 45 minutes, Brighton got it right in front of goal.

Lynn's rearguard was pulled apart and the Kettering number eleven found himself with acres of space as he cut in from the left to make the most of Liam Canavan's through ball. Street rushed off his line but couldn't prevent the clever dinking finish from crossing the line and sending a sizeable travelling support into raptures.

They were concerned early after the restart when a rapid Lynn counter was almost finished off by Edge. However, the youngster couldn't apply the final touch to Stevenson's centre. From the resulting corner, Kern Miller headed over.

Hopes of a home comeback suffered a massive blow when Kettering made it two around the hour mark. Left-back Jordan Yong played Howe onside as Gaughran and Miller surged forward and all the striker had to do was trot forward, take Street out by squaring the ball, and watch Carvalho do the rest.

Two instinctive Stevenson shots and a Sam Mulready header aside, Setchell's troops never really looked like getting back into it. Their misery was compounded with 10 minutes to go when Miller was outwitted by Elliot Sandy and Carvalho exposed Ryan Fryatt's poor positioning before bending the ball into the bottom corner.

Lynn (4-2-3-1): Street, R Fryatt (Castellan, 87), Miller, Gaughran (Mulready, 79), Yong, Clunan, Bridges (Smith, 68), Hurst, Stevenson, Hilliard, Edge. Subs not used: L Fryatt, Friend. Booked: R Fryatt. Goal: None.

Kettering (4-2-3-1): Walker, Bateman, Carruthers, Solkhon, Langdon, Pepe-Ngoma, Carvalho, Mulligan, Howe (Stephens, 83), Canavan (Sandy, 79), Brighton (Grocott, 70). Subs not used: Baker-Richardson, Thorne. Booked: Brighton, Carvalho, Canavan. Goals: Brighton (43), Carvalho (62, 80).

Referee: S Feerick

Attendance: 816

For more reaction from today's game, see Monday's paper.

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