THE LINNETS’ hopes of promotion received a battering at the hands of Eastbourne at Priory Lane on Saturday.
Their ten-game unbeaten run (which includes all their games in 2003) came to an end, and much of the responsibility for that, however, must fall on the shoulders of influential midfielder Paul Raynor, who was sent off after 25 minutes.
Raynor was cautioned for dissent after committing a foul on Matt Crabb but continued to argue with referee Gavin Hoare and was finally shown a straight red card for foul and abusive language.
The referee himself had been in the wars earlier when he needed several minutes’ treatment from both trainers after being struck on the head by a full-blooded clearance from Darren Baker.
Lynn opened the second half by giving Richard Woodrow, who signed on Friday, his debut.
The utility player was on a scholarship with Norwich City, but was told by the Canaries that he would not be offered a contract next season.
Despite the energetic efforts of David Staff, little was seen of the prolific Lynn attack even prior to Raynor’s sending off.
Boro’ had dictated play and only a magnificent save from Steve Wilson, tipping over a Scott Ramsay header, prevented an opening goal in the 13th minute.
But incessant pressure did not reap any reward until the 40th minute when a spectacular overhead effort by Ramsay, after Ben Austin had flicked on John Westcott’s cross, finally broke the deadlock.
But Boro’ looked likely to add to their score and a deft touch from Ramsay provided Matt Crabb with an opening, but the lunging foot of Mark Burrows saved a certain second goal.
In the 55th minute, the inevitable second came when another fine run by Westcott ended with a perfect cross that was hooked in at the far post by Ramsay.
The game seemed set for a tight finish when Carl Holmes pulled a goal back - his 20th of the campaign totally against the run of play in the 64th minute.
Holmes’ superb header from Lee Cowling’s cross from just inside the area looped over home keeper Paul Stark who had little to do throughout the game.
The Linnets played with more heart and for a spell looked capable of salvaging a point with Staff just unable to control a probing ball from Cowling into the box.
But their aspirations were soon shattered when Matt Smart came on for Justin Harris and scored a superb third goal from 25 yards on 82 minutes.
A powerful run and shot from Ben Austin completed the scoring just before the final whistle.
Eastbourne: Stark, Baker, Tuck (Stevens 77), Harris (Smart 79), Price, Austin, Westcott, Pearce, Ramsay, Crabb, Ducille (Goodwin 76).
Lynn: Wilson, Jones (Watts 59), Cowling, Burrows, Fuff, Defty (Blyth 79), Weston, Raynor, Bacon (Woodrow 45 , Staff, Holmes.
MoM: David Staff.
Referee: Gavin Hoare (Strood). Att: 541.
Bookings, Lynn: Fuff, Raynor.
Red card: Raynor.