Southern League Premier Division: King’s Lynn Town 2 Slough Town 1
- Credit: Ian Burt
Defender Matty Castellan's first Lynn goal secured three hard-earned points against the Rebels.
Liam Hurst lit up a bruising encounter in the early stages with a sublime strike from 25 yards. The former Cambridge United midfielder chested a loose ball into his path before unleashing a stunning half volley that flew into the bottom corner.
However, a defensive horror show allowed Slough back into the game less than 10 minutes later. An embarrassing mix-up between Jordan Yong and goalie Alex Street – who had for some reason charged 30 yards from his goal – allowed the grateful Charlie Mpi to walk the ball into an empty net.
It remained all square, despite Lynn carving out two amazing opportunities, until Castellan met Michael Clunan's corner with a glorious diving header midway through the second period to ensure that the improving Linnets enjoyed their second home win this week.
Gary Setchell restored fit-again defenders Sam Gaughran and Jordan Yong to his starting line-up at the expense of youngsters Castellan and Liam Fryatt. Fellow injury victims Kern Miller and Conor Marshall missed out though as a strengthened Lynn looked to extend their mini unbeaten run.
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Things started excellently with Hurst's cracker opening the scoring inside six minutes. Lee Smith worked Mark Scott as the hosts continued their early dominance. But that momentum was shattered when Mpi benefitted from some shoddy defending to score the simplest of equalisers. Yong perhaps could have done better but appeared to have control of the situation until Street's presence complicated matters and the duo were left pointing fingers as their team's one-goal lead was relinquished.
The frenetic pace continued with Sam Mulready bursting clear only to be stopped in his tracks by Nathan Webb. The Lynn striker should have squared to Hurst but by then the visitors' full-back had regained his position and the opening was wasted.
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A niggly undercurrent threatened to bubble over as the physicality stepped up a notch. Gaughran sought retribution by clattering Charlie Strutton after he'd left one on Mulready and Smith and collected a booking.
Referee Geoffrey Russell's decision not to award a free-kick for Dan Hicks' WWE style takedown of Mulready left Setchell and his players up in arms. Perhaps the man in the middle was aware that had he blown his whistle a red card may have had to follow with the hosts' frontman breaking through on goal.
The needle seemed to slow proceedings with a number of fouls creating a stop-start spell which was only broken by Jacek Zielonka's golden opportunity. Clunan found his team-mate at the back post but the Linnets' left winger could only head straight at Scott from five yards.
Lewis Putman and opposing playmaker Clunan tried their luck from outside the box as both sides searched for a second after the restart. Setchell's side should have found it when Toby Hilliard burned past Hicks and took the Rebels' keeper out the equation to leave Lee Stevenson with a tap-in. Yet he dallied for far too long and Sean Fraser blocked with Hurst's try in the ensuing scramble working Scott.
Castellan saw a header clawed away but didn't have to wait long to open his Lynn account because from the resulting corner he headed home to open his Lynn account.
Yong and Hilliard, excellent again from the bench, tested the away team's shot-stopper as Lynn pressed for a third. The latter screwed wide in the closing stages – while Dylan Edge also went close – and then headed at Scott but was not punished for his wastefulness with the men from Norfolk seeing out the last 10 minutes – albeit with a few scares.
Mpi's looping header drifted over and Guy Hollis found the sidenetting. Yet Slough could feel really hard done by when they saw Warren Harris' equaliser in time added on chalked off for Lewis Putman's foul on Street after Lynn's keeper had made a mess of trying to receive a headed back-pass from Castellan and only served to push the ball into the air.
Lynn (4-2-3-1): Street, Bird, R Fryatt (Castellan, 41), Gaughran, Yong, Clunan, Smith, Hurst, Stevenson, Zielonka (Edge, 73), Mulready (Hilliard, 56). Subs not used: Friend, L Fryatt. Booked: Gaughran. Goals: Hurst (6), Castellan (65)
Slough (4-4-2): Scott, Fraser, Hollis, Hicks, Webb (Clayton, 80), W Harris, Sear (Hope, 71), Rumbold, Putman, Mpi, Strutton (S Harris, 70). Sub not used: Gokmen. Booked: Webb, Putman. Goal: Mpi (14)
Referee: G Russell