DRAMA is probably an over-used word by sportswriters when reporting FA Cup-ties.
But is there a better description for this 2nd qualifying round match at a rain-soaked Walks ground on Saturday?
The Linnets, comfortably ahead, suffered a traumatic final 18 minutes with a sequence of events all of their own making. It went like this:
• 72 minutes - goalkeeper Andy Claxton slides out to make a clearance and pulls a cartilage. After lengthy but he carries on, but is obviously in pain.
• 82 minutes - Lynn pay the penalty for not making a prompt substitution its Lowestoft get back into the game when Andy Bircumshaw concedes an own goal.
• 83 minutes - Claxton now goes off with midfielder Craig Thompson taking over in goal.
• 88 minutes - a buoyant Lowestoft on the attack again and when Bircumshaw deliberately handles to cut out a pass he is sent off.
• 90 minutes - three shots in quick succession fly towards Thompson's goal as Lynn nervously hold out.
What a finish to a game that Lynn had dominated for so lung. Lowestoft had been overawed by Lynn's reputation and had few attacking ideas until Claxton's unfortunate injury gave them belated and undeserved hope.
This surpassed the excitement of the previous round at Gorleston Where Lynn had trailed by two goals before winning 3-2.
Lowestoft are plainly not in the same class as their Eastern Counties League seaside neighbours and were forced into desperate defence in the opening sages. It's tempting to, say they soaked up the
pressure, with the rain not relenting at sill and turning parts of the pitch into a paddy field.
Lynn could have eased (heir own worries had two clear chances in the first half
been put away, but Gordon Hodgson shot high and Freddie Easthall shot wide when both only had the keeper to beat. Lowestoft with a defensive attitude never gave Lynn much room, but it was disappointing that Lynn did not get more men and the ball into the penalty area with more determination. The slippery conditions were difficult enough for the attacking side and appositive nightmare for defenders.
Lynn looked secure at the back where Richard Johnson was again strongly
effective and it was not until the 30th minute that Lowestoft posed any threat, when some good footwork by Richard Atterton gave him an opening which was promptly closed by Bircumshaw's quick recovery in blocking the shut.
The interval chances saw Lowestoft bring on their "sub" - an apt name under the wet circumstances - David Dunthorne for the limping Kevin Jones. The Lynn team except for Hodgson switched to their "Skoda" shirts.
There was also a more positive approach by Lynn and Elliott, effective-in midfield, won two tackles before putting in a near post cross which Easthall headed narrowly over the lop.
In the 57th minute Easthall and Wiles opened up the Lowestoft defence on the left. Wiles got in the cross which reached.
Craig Thompson at the far post and he carefully stuck out his boot to get the necessary deflection.
A vital, if workmanlike breakthrough with Thompson getting his first goal in his best game of the season for the club.
Lynn's second goat in the 61st minute will be long remembered for its mixture of impudence and skill. Lowestoft defender Paul Hartle, carelessly gave the ball away to Easthall who was at least 30 yards out under the shadow of the main stand.
Easthall looked up, saw the Brian Northcott was standing near the penalty spot, and without considering other options looped in a long-range shot over the keeper tin d into the net. A brilliant individual effort.
That was surely it, but the final drama was' still to be played. Lynn's advantage looked fragile when. Claxton was injured and had he been fit he .would surely have cut out Dunthorne's low cross which led to
Bircumshaw turning the ball into his own net.
Claxton at last went off with Craig Thompson taking the jersey and Keith Rudd going on as an attacking substitute.
Lynn wanted to keep possession and keep play in the Lowestoft half. They nearly succeeded in getting a third goal with Rudd and winger Brian Thomson running menacingly at the visitors.
The unfortunate Bircumshaw was then guilty of a "professional foul" when deliberately handling a through pass, probably not realising there was cover behind him: the referee had to send him off under the new interpretations of the laws.
There was time for Lowestoft to make a final effort to get an equaliser. Two shots went wide of the target and Thompson safely held the third.
Lynn: Claxton (sub Rudd 83 mins), Watts, Johnston, Bircumshaw, Wiles, Thompson, Elliot, Hodgson, Keeley, Easthall, Thomson.
Lowestoft: Northcutt. Hartle. Twaits, Chick, Bottomley, Atterton, Sadd, Ward, Barratt, Thorpe, Jones (sub Dunthorne 45).
Referee: C. Twigger (Spalding). Attendance. 307