Southern League Premier Division: King’s Lynn Town 1 Hitchin Town 0

John Sands went close with this effort in the second half against Hitchin. Picture: Ian Burt

John Sands went close with this effort in the second half against Hitchin. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Home debutant John Sands struck a classy winner as Lynn refused to give up on their play-off dreams.

The Linnets knew only a victory would do at The Walks last night to keep their ever-fading hopes of securing a top-five finish alive. And it was Sands who ensured that Town remained just, just, in the Southern Premier League Division hunt to reach the end-of-season shootout for promotion.

The loan striker's first goal in his second appearance was enough to settle a nervy encounter against fifth-placed Hitchin. But more importantly it closed the gap between his temporary side and their visitors – who have played a game more – to eight points with eight matches to play.

The game's defining moment came in the 70th minute when Sands proved why he's confident enough to use the name @scoresforfun on Twitter. There looked little on when he collected the ball from Michael Clunan, who had played a neat one-two with Lee Stevenson, but Sands half volleyed into the bottom corner on the turn to announce his arrival at The Walks in style.

It had looked like being a horror evening for Gary Setchell's Lynn with defender Matty Castellan and midfielder Lee Smith being forced off before the interval with injuries. Castellan was taken to hospital with a suspected broken nose while the latter was hit with a quad problem.

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The problems kept mounting when Sam Mulready struck the bar and wasted a great chance for the Linnets – who had failed to win in three matches. But Sands showed his killer instinct to ensure Lynn's bid is not quite dead and buried just yet.

Lynn: Street, R Fryatt, Miller, Castellan (Gaughran, 28), Yong, Clunan, Zielonka (Hurst, 71), Smith (Bridges, 45), Stevenson, Mulready, Sands. Subs not used: Hilliard, Edge. Booked: Bridges. Goal: Sands (70)

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Hitchin: Horlock, Spence, Webb, Rolfe, Walster, Ann, McNamara, C Donnelly, Burns (Wright, 46), Kirkpatrick (Frendo, 75), B Donnelly. Subs not used: MacDevitt, Barnes, Palmiero. Booked: Ann

Referee: M Wilson

Attendance: 366

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