Brave Lynn’s ten-match unbeaten run came crashing to an end in a pulsating game
which was marred by an injury to goalkeeper John Higgs.
A heavy fall saw Higgs leave the field after 12 minutes of yesterday’s New Year
clash with a dislocated shoulder after contributing to the Linnets’ first defeat
since the end of October.
The Lynn keeper was at fault for the hosts’ second strike after defender Dean
West had gifted the Puritans the lead with a suicidal back pass.
Lynn, 3-0 down and seemingly well beaten at the interval, fought back strongly,
but their stirring comeback was ended with a fourth home goal 19 minutes from
The Linnets were forced to make three changes, two of which were expected, from
Saturday’s 3-0 over Hitchin.
Grant Cooper, who needed 20 stitches in a head wound from the weekend, was
replaced by Danny Hammond.
Midfielder Shaun Carey was handed his first start in place of the injured Cedric
Anselin, while Matt O’Halloran was named on the bench with a dead leg, giving
Stephen Harvey a surprise start.
Before the game Lynn boss Tommy Taylor denied recent national press speculation
linking him with the managerial position at Rushden & Diamonds.
Play off-chasing Banbury included former Linnet Paul Lamb in their starting
A moment of madness from West saw the home side take the lead as early as the
third minute when Andy Baird nipped in to score.
Four minutes later Baird’s header from an Ady Fuller free-kick was comfortably
dealt with by Higgs as the Puritans bossed the early stages.
But the home faithful didn’t have to wait too much longer before seeing their
side double their advantage when Higgs dropped a routine centre from Matty
Gooderick and Baird pounced to notch his second.
Lynn’s afternoon went from bad to worse in the process with the sight of Higgs
leaving the field with his arm in an emergency splint, after landing heavily on
With no substitute keeper on the bench, Mark Camm went between the posts and
Mark Angel replaced Higgs for his first league start of the season after
returning from his loan spell.
Camm was called into immediate action, pulling off an acrobatic save to his
right to foil Fuller.
A beleaguered Walks outfit battled back against the odds with Matt Nolan forcing
keeper Simon Tricker into two saves in the space of a few minutes.
Nolan stung the fingertips of Tricker with a vicious effort on the volley in the
37th minute which he somehow managed to punch over his woodwork.
Banbury’s two goal hero Baird was the second player to leave the field with a
nasty-looking injury in the 40th minute after an accidental clash of heads with
A glancing header from the busy Nolan saw Tricker produce another fine stop
towards the end of an incident-packed first period, in which Lynn were the
But there was still time for sub Wayne Blossom to head past the stranded Camm in
first half stoppage time.
Lynn replaced Harvey with Mark Heath-Preston at the start of the second period,
and the youngster blazed over from six yards in the 48th minute after Defty’s
initial shot was cleared off the line.
Four minutes later Lynn reduced the arrears when Carey was on target with a
smart finish from a tight angle.
Both Blossom and George Redknap went close to extending Banbury’s lead as Lynn
gallantly pushed forward in search of a second.
Heath-Preston set up a grandstand finish with a cheeky lob on 65 minutes.
Banbury man-of-the-match Tricker denied Bloomfield with another outstanding stop
before Gooderick celebrated his 200th appearance in home colours with his side’s
fourth goal in the 71st minute.
Banbury: Tricker, Fuller, Kinch, Sullivan, Jackson, Redknap, Stanbridge, Lamb, Gooderick (McKay 77), Baird (Blossom 41), Bridges. Not used: Gardner, Nicholls, Foster.
Lynn: Higgs (Angel 12 – Fell 53), West, Smith, McMahon, Harvey (Heath-Preston 45), Camm, Carey, J. Defty, Hammond, Bloomfield, Nolan. Subs not used: O’Halloran, McNeil.
Booked: Defty 89.
MoM: Matt Nolan. Att: 543.
Referee: Mr Chris Banks (Oxford).