The Linnets’ dreams of Conference football were
shattered at the first playoff hurdle by Chippenham
Despite home advantage, boss Tommy Taylor’s side were
second best in most departments in a game which saw
defender Grant Cooper sent off for two yellow cards.
Cooper’s early bath had little effect on the final
outcome, with the Wiltshire side holding onto a lead 3-1
and thus reversing the result of the league encounter at
The Walks in February.
To make matters worse, a large group of police and
stewards dashed under the players’ tunnel to deal with
an unsavoury incident near the dressing-room after the
Taylor rang the changes for the crunch clash.
The fit-again Cooper replaced Danny Hammond in the heart
of the defence, while Matthew Peters came in for the
Lynn’s other changes came in the middle of the park
where Charlie Defty came in for the suspended Sam
McMahon, while Arron Benstead replaced John Higgs (who
had made a couple of mistakes in Saturday’s home defeat
to Bath City) in goal, with Duncan McAnally named on the
The Linnets, bidding to be promoted to the Conference
set-up for the first time in their history, got off to
the ideal start when they took the lead from the penalty
spot in the third minute.
Striker Matt Nolan was bundled over in the box, before
Cooper stepped up to blast in the resulting spot-kick.
Cooper was booked in the subsequent celebrations for
taking off his shirt.
Chippenham threatened to level almost immediately
through Steve Winter, whose hurried shot cleared
Jack Defty tried his luck from 25 yards 11 minutes into
the contest, before Nolan fluffed his lines when clean
through five minutes later.
The Bluebirds eventually equalised in the 19th minute
through a dubious Ian Herring penalty after Cooper had
been penalised for fouling Ross Adams in the box.
The west country side had further penalty claims turned
away midway through the half when Mark Badman went to
ground under pressure from Matt O’Halloran.
Six minutes before the break Charlie Defty saw his weak
effort cleared off the line by Adams and into the arms
of the grateful Chippenham keeper Ian Perrin.
Chippenham were always a threat in the air, and the tide
turned in the 41st Defender sent off for two bookings as
Lynn lose home semi to Chippenham minute when Ian Harvey
headed home a Herring centre at the far post.
Seconds later Lynn broke down the right, and Nolan
glanced a Peters cross into the arms of Perrin when the
goal was almost at his mercy.
On the stroke of half-time Jack Defty’s header from an
Adam Smith free-kick fell agonisingly wide of the
Lynn surged forward at the start of the second period,
and Nolan saw his drive turned around the post by the
fingertips of Perrin two minutes after the restart.
Perrin was the Chippenham hero again when he denied the
brothers with a smart double save in the space of a few
Chippenham increased their advantage in the 56th minute
when a long throw was nodded home by Adams to leave
Lynn’s season in tatters.
Cooper then turned from hero to zero. He was dismissed
for his second yellow card in the 62nd minute to leave
The Walks outfit with a mountain to climb.
Taylor substituted the ineffective Peters with Anselin
midway through the half in a last throw of the dice.
Play was held up for a few minutes after a bottle of
Coca-Cola appeared to be launched in the direction of
the Chippenham goalkeeper.
The half-empty bottle was immediately handed to the
fourth official by referee Mr Watts.
A sustained spell of Lynn pressure resulted in Jack
Defty crashing a header against the woodwork, but time
was running out with only 16 minutes left.
More substitutions could not alter the result, which
means Lynn have lost a May bank holiday home playoff for
the second time in three seasons.
It was all the more frustrating with the news that
Bedford were winning at Bath City – so if Lynn had got
past Chippenham, they would have been at The Walks again
for the final on Saturday.
Taylor is reported to be meeting with the board within
the next week regarding next season’s side.
After their Conference hopes were dashed, Lynn may still
be playing in a different league next season. A lot of
the talk around the ground was about rumours the club
could switch to the UniBond Northern League.
Lynn: Benstead, West, Smith, C. Defty (Harvey 78),
Cooper, Camm (82), J. Defty, Peters (Anselin 66), Nolan,
Carey, O’Halloran (Hammond 87). Subs not used: Charles, McAnally.
Goal: Cooper (pen) 3 mins. Booked: Cooper 3. Sent-off:
Chippenham: Perrin, Adams, Stanley, Day, McEntegart,
Harvey, Winter (W. Thorne 79), Herring, Gilroy, Allison
78), Badman. Not used: G. Thorne, Rawlins, Kirk.
Booked: Herring, Allison.
Goals: Herring (pen) 19, Harvey 41, Adams 56.
Referee: A.S. Watts (Kidderminster).
MoM: Charlie Defty.