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King's Lynn 2 Banbury United 1
4th January 2003
THE Linnets have earned themselves a chance of a New Year promotion push after Lee Stephenson bagged the late winner against second-placed Banbury.
This moves King's Lynn up to seventh.
In a match with a little bit of everything a snow flurry, a penalty, and a sending-off King's Lynn should have had it sewn up by half-time on Saturday.
A fabulous first-half David Staff goal was cancelled out.
Banbury, managed by ex-Newcastle, QPR and Oxford player Kevin Brock, looked
to have escaped with a point but had a man sent off, and the Linnets' pressure wore down the ten men.
It was only hard work by ground staff that meant the game went ahead, and The Walks outfit were grateful.
The Linnets kept quiet leading Dr Martens scorer Norman Sylla (22 league goals).
His best chance came in the eighth minute when he hit the side netting whereupon some home fans questioned his illustrious reputation in explicit and no uncertain terms.
Carl Holmes headed wide and Staff forced a smart save with a typical rasping 20-yarder before he put the hosts ahead in the 19th minute.
Staff, back in the line-up from injury, played a one-two with the hard-working Chris Bacon before expertly lifting the ball over the keeper from the edge of the area.
Another change to the side saw full-back Stephen Harvey make his first senior team start, and it was a toss-up between him and Bacon for the man-of-the-match award.
The Walks outfit should have increased their lead on the half-hour.
Paul Raynor cleared to Bacon, who fed Stephenson, but he elected to shoot rather than return the ball to his better-placed strike partner.
Good play from Holmes and Jack Defty saw Raynor shoot straight at keeper
Simon Tricker, who just before the break denied Stephenson with his legs.
Defty put the loose ball just wide from 40 yards out.
With King's Lynn failing to get that important second goal, Banbury equalised on 56 minutes with their first shot on target.
Mark Burrows left a leg trailing to trip sub Scott Taylor, and Adrian Fuller made no mistake from the penalty spot.
But a minute later a foul by Ollie Stanbridge, who had already been booked for dissent, earned another yellow card from referee Mr Barks, who was very insistent on correct throw-ins but seemed to do little about the visitors' time-wasting tactics.
Persistence by Stephenson saw his cross headed inches wide by the diving Holmes midway through the second half. Soon after Stephenson hit the bar from a Raynor free-kick.
With ten minutes left Sylla managed his only shot on target, which was easily saved by Dean Greygoose.
But King's Lynn sealed the game with just three minutes to go. Defty's effort was blocked and this left a gaping goal for Stephenson, who fired home his 17th strike of the season. Deep in injury time, Sylla bore down on a loose ball, but Greygoose was quick to gather.
Lynn: Greygoose, Harvey, Blois (Blake h-t), Burrows, Fuff, Defty, Staff (Harris 79), Raynor, Bacon, Stephenson, Holmes. Subs not used: Ortega, Weston, Nobes.
Banbury: S. Tricker, A. Fuller, W. Blossom, K. Sullivan (A. Wallbridge 31), J. Allen, J. Simpson, J. Corbett (M. Travers 67), O. Stanbridge, N. Sylla, G. Redknap, L. O'Neill (P. Mason 60). Not used: S. Taylor, K. Brock.
Att: 620.      Referee: C. Barks (Orton Brimbles, Hunts FA).
Shots on
Shots off
Free kicks
Lynn872315 Blois
Harris (90 foul)
Banbury Utd 241516 Stanbridge (16, dissent)
Corbett (23, foul),
Mason (87, dissent)
Stanbridge (57, foul, second yellow card).
Lynn News Man of the Match: Chris Bacon
Report by permission of the Lynn News