Southern League Premier Division: King’s Lynn Town 1 Kettering Town 2
- Credit: Ian Burt
Patched-up Lynn were put to the sword by a resurgent second-half showing from Kettering.
Gary Setchell's troops put in a heroic shift without a number of key men and deservedly took a one-goal lead into the break thanks to Dylan Edge's instinctive half volley.
Yet the Poppies turned up the heat as the Linnets ran out of steam and ended their run of back-to-back defeats thanks to two goals in 12 minutes.
First, Brett Solkhon headed home to bring the sides level and with the hosts rocking, Wilson Carvalho's tap-in secured a much-needed triumph for the slow-starting title favourites.
The Linnets – missing Leon Mettam, Shaun McWilliams, Ryan and Liam Fryatt though injury – came flying out of the traps for the second home game in a row with Matty Castellan and Jacek Zielonka terrorising the Poppies down the right.
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The latter sent over a couple of inviting early crosses, one of which saw Toby Hilliard try, and fail, to pull off some acrobatics. Edge didn't need to try anything spectacular a couple of minutes later when he lashed Zielonka's centre into the top corner to break the deadlock.
The goal was the least the hosts deserved and they continued to boss proceedings with Gary Mills' calming influence in front of the back four expertly organising those in front, and behind, him. It helped that Lynn also looked more up for it winning almost every first, and second, ball across the park.
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Marcus Law's visitors had offered next to nothing until Carvalho outmuscled Jordan Yong and evaded Mills' rash lunge in the right corner. The wideman picked out Liam Canavan but he could only draw a smart save from Lynn number one Alex Street who got down well.
His opposite number Craig Hill made a real mess of a clearance with 10 minutes of the opening period to go to present Edge with a virtually unguarded net. The goalscorer had distance, and the angle – as well as a couple of covering bodies – to beat yet could only look skywards as the ball eventually came to a rest in the sidenetting.
Some clever covering from Castellan, to block Anthony Howells, resisted any late attempts from Kettering to salvage something from a fairy dire offering.
It didn't improve much for the away side in the early stages of the restart with Lee Stevenson, twice, and Edge flashing long-range efforts just off target.
While the Poppies' urgency and pressing improved, it was Setchell's side who still had the ability to soak up the pressure and carve out another opportunity. Zielonka created the opening himself by bamboozling James Brighton but after cutting inside he could only lash wide.
Kettering were crying out for a bit of quality and it arrived when Liam Bateman delivered a sweet, sweet centre into the box from the touchline which Solkhon guided beyond Street – possible off his face rather than his forehead.
As Lynn started to tire it was another foray down the right, involving Bateman again, that went so, so close to giving the Poppies the lead. Spencer Weir-Daley's centre beat everyone in the middle, including Canavan's outstretched boot by a matter of inches.
As the pressure grew, Street raced off his line to deny Weir-Daley while Dan Quigley hooked Kaid Mohamed's follow up off the line. Law's men were not to be denied though when minutes later the impressive Weir-Daley got in behind and squared for Carvalho who couldn't miss.
Quigley's hopeful header aside, that was the last of the goalmouth action as Lynn's mini unbeaten run came to an end.
Lynn (4-1-4-1): Street, Castellan, Quigley, Gaughran, Yong, Mills (McQuaid, 59), Zielonka (Frohawk, 85), M Clunan, Stevenson, Edge, Hilliard. Subs not used: Pearson, McLeish, A Clunan. Booked: Yong, Castellan, Zielonka. Goal: Edge (9)
Kettering (4-2-3-1): Hill, Bateman (Wilson, 89), Mulligan, Haran, Brighton, Howells (Weir-Daley, 46), Solkhon, Stephens (Hicks, 30), Mohamed, Carvalho, Canavan. Subs not used: Bradshaw, Walker. Goals: Solkhon (67), Carvalho (78)
Referee: Andy Humphries