Culverhouse bemoans lack of finishing quality as Saints hold Linnets
- Credit: Archant
King's Lynn Town were held to a 1-1 Southern Premier Central draw at St Ives – CHRIS LAKEY looks at a game not of two halves, but two very different teams
It's easy to fall into a snobby appraisal of a football game, when one side is chalk and the other cheese, but if ever a match summed up two opposites, this was it.
The game's economics may have dictated that King's Lynn were the team with the willingness and ability to pass their way to success, while St Ives relied on a never-say-die attitude to earn their rewards in 1-1 draw. The perception was evident as the teams walked off the pitch after 90 minutes, the local fans expressing the view that, for all the talk of big earners at Lynn, they were unable to beat their impecunious Saints.
How much truth there is in that assertion only the clubs' owners will know, but for 90 minutes Lynn almost exclusively tried to play proper football, while St Ives stuck to their homework plan and attempted disruption. Needs must, and all that, but when you see a side kicking off by thumping the ball as far as possible, rugby-style, with no one to aim for, just to gain yards or their long-throw expert booked after 47 minutes for time wasting at an attacking throw-in, you know there's chalk and cheese on the menu.
And yet St Ives could have been 3-1 up by then ... and could have been 3-1 down by the end of as game that made up for in entertainment value what it lacked in quality.
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The Saints led through Ollie Snaith's 19th-minute goal, the striker given too much time to turn and shoot, before Adam Marriott levelled on 62 minutes. When keeper Alex Street was adjudged to have pulled down Jake Newman with two minutes to go, it looked like St Ives' efforts were to be rewarded, but when the two men stood 12 yards apart, it was the keeper who came out on top, diving left to turn away the spot-kick.
Justice, according to Street, who was sure the match official – who by this stage was making decisions based on the rock, paper scissors method – got it wrong.
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'He literally just ran, left his foot in, kicked me in the head and dived down,' said the keeper. 'I couldn't believe the ref gave it to be honest. But when the left-footer steps up I thought, I am going left. I looked at his run-up and I fancied left and he has hit it to my left. He hit it well, but the power helped me push it further away.'
It had been like the Alamo at times as St Ives were clearly happy enough to keep a point: Lynn should have profited from some of the crosses that went into the home area, but all told, a share of the spoils was arguably fair enough.
Linnets boss Ian Culverhouse had no arguments and, having seen the Linnets league unbeaten run ended at 19 last week in a disappointing performance at Hitchin, was happy enough to have avoided a London bus result.
'I was proud of the boys in the first half,' said Culverhouse, who dropped Ryan Jarvis for Jordan Richards in the midfield holding role. 'I though we controlled the game but fell asleep on a really sloppy goal – the fella has just got in between the two centre-halves and finished well.
'But on the ball I thought we were very, very good. We just lacked a bit of quality in the final third where our end pass wasn't good enough, or a cross wasn't good enough, but from box to box I thought we were very, very good.'
While his keeper was dubious about the penalty award, Culverhouse was less surprised.
'I thought it was (a penalty),' he said. 'He was always going to go down there anyway. They had an early shout in the first half which I didn't think was, then we have a half one in there as well.'
More concerning was that it wasn't until the 59th minute that home keeper Martin Conway had to make a save, tipping over a Marriott effort.
'I just thought we didn't have the sharpness around the 18-yard box today,' he said. 'We took an extra touch when we should just have a touch, shift it and shoot, we were trying to be too precise on our finishing and we have got to be a little bit better in that final third and we have to get shots off a little bit earlier.
'For all our dominance in the first half we never really tested the goalkeeper. I can't remember him making many saves and that is a shame because I thought our build-up was excellent. It is the old cliche that what happens in both boxes wins games.'
Perhaps not the only cliche that was applicable on the day.
St Ives: Conway, Coulson, Toseland, Sundire, De'ath, Kelly, Bailey (Baker 70), Parker, Newman. Osel-Bonsu, Snaith (Seymour-Shove 70). Sub not used: Patrick. Goal: Snaith 19
Lynn: Street, Kerins (Hawkins 46), Blake-Tracy, Richards (Jarvis 81), Fryatt, McAuley, Clunan, Parker (Mellors-Blair 55), Gash, Marriott, Henderson. Subs not used: Robinson, Bastock. Goal: Marriott 62
Ref: T Donnellan; Att: 322.