Southern League Premier Division: King’s Lynn Town 1, Cambridge City 0
Nine matches. Seven months. 32 weeks. 213 days. More than 5,000 hours.
It didn't matter how you tried to dress it up, those words made for horrible reading for Gary Setchell and anybody connected with Lynn. However, tonight that dreadful stat has finally been erased as Town turned a page in their latest non-league chapter.
Town – reformed in 2010 – chose their first-ever Southern League Premier Division home fixture to end their lengthy wait for a competitive win at The Walks. And the relief was palpable.
During the club's slide down the same-level Northern set-up last term, supporters of the men in blue and gold had seen some horror shows on their own turf. But it was so, so different this evening with a revitalised Town deservedly seeing off Cambridge City.
Setchell's side made all the running, created almost all of the chances, and had at least three quarters of the possession. Yet those facts mattered for little until the final whistle blew and Norfolk's biggest semi-professional outfit had removed the massive monkey from their back – namely not winning on their own patch since New Year's Day.
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Midfielder Liam Hurst's goal early in the second period was enough to get the job done. In truth, it mattered little that his side should have won far more comprehensively than they did.
An opening-day defeat had increased concerns that the search for three points may be extended against a Lilywhites outfit who, unlike Town, had triumphed at the weekend.
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But Setchell was happy with how his troops fared in the second half at Merthyr – presumably the reason he replaced Ross Watson and Jacek Zielonka in the starting line-up for City's visit with weekend substitutes Jackson Ramm and Sam Mulready.
The latter saw an early header disallowed for offside before Ramm, against his former club, wasted a massive opening. Instead of squaring across the box he went for goal from out wide and got it horribly wrong.
Mulready did the same as Lynn took control and then saw a flicked effort cannon the crossbar while under the close attention of covering defender Jon Kaye. Only a poor Michael Clunan back-header had caused any alarm but keeper Alex Street spared his blushes by racing out to smother Buster Harradine.
The dominance of the opening 45 minutes had failed to break the deadlock but it didn't take long once the action resumed. Mulready played in Jake Speight, he showed great trickery to jink his way past two defenders near the touchline on the left, and an inch-perfect cut back was controlled and them rammed into the net by Hurst. Mulready had another finish disallowed before Lynn's goalscoring hero spurned a great chance to double his account for the evening. Yet that – plus one or two nervy moments – mattered a jot, when time was called on the clash.
After all the pain, all the woes, all the days and performances to forget. Lynn finally had something to smile about – other than a string of fine pre-season displays – at their own ground.
Lynn (4-2-3-1): Street, Ramm, Gaughran, Miller, Yong, Marshall, Clunan, Hurst, Stevenson (Bridges, 76), Mulready (Zielonka, 90+1), Speight (Frohawk, 83). Subs not used: Watson, R Fryatt. Booked: None. Goal: Hurst (47)
Cambridge (4-4-2): Barrett, Kaye, Day, Burns, Chaffey, Reynolds, Serrano (Dawkin, 74), Ojapah, Phillips (Murray, 74), Kelly, Harradine (Malcolm, 52). Sub not used: Midgley. Booked: Reynolds. Goal: None
Referee: W Porter