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King's Lynn Lynn 0 Exeter City 3
3rd February 2001
Three second half goals ended the Linnets' hopes of producing a giant-killing and making the fifth round for the first time in their history.
A sea of yellow and blue washed over The Walks in Wednesday's re-arranged match, but Exeter took the £5,000 prize for winning the tie - equivalent to a couple of days' stay in King's Lynn for the Conference club.
Lynn, for an hour, did the bumper 3,127 crowd proud - it doubled the best-ever FA Trophy attendance at The Walks and was the best for eight years since more than 3,600 saw the April 1996 promotion clash with Nuneaton.
Lynn brilliantly held their illustrious former Football League visitors for most of the game, and thoughts were wandering onto a possible replay.
But the Grecians put on prolific experienced ex-League frontmen Sean Devine and Steve Flack, and two goals in two minutes killed the tie as Lynn ended up well beaten in the second half and gave the ball away far too much.
It was always going to be a tough mission. The Walks outfit were meeting a high-flying Conference side who were taking the tie deadly seriously and who had travelled up on Tuesday morning.
Not for the part-time Lynn players the luxury of training on Hunstanton beach in a leisurely build-up to the big match!
As expected, Mark Burrows resumed his place in the heart of the Lynn defence after injury against his old club.
Lynn played superbly in a tight first half, defended very solidly as a unit and started positively.
Their attempt to seize the initiative almost paid off when a brilliant ball over the top from Gary Setchell in the 12th minute found David Staff, who did not connect properly and shot weakly at keeper James Bittner.
Staff's golden opportunity, as it turned out was Lynn's only clear-cut one of the game.
Staff had two free-kicks which Bittner had to deal with, and with Exeter using mainly crosses in attack both goals were rarely threatened in the opening half.
The loss of midfield dynamo Mark Camm to injury at half-time was a real blow.
Jamie March replaced him on the left, but it was the visitors who stepped up a gear in the second half.
They put their trump cards on after the hour mark and within seven minutes scored as City's superior full-time fitness training told in the remainder of the game.
With Lynn hastily tracking back on a counter-attack, Gareth Sheldon put away a 69th minute left-wing cross.
Shortly after a misplaced pass by Paul Raynor led to Devine being put through on the left of the Lynn box and he finished superbly past Steve Wilson into the top of the net. As Lynn tired the game opened up. Staff was not finished and a typical mazy run on 73 minutes looked to have created an opening with players available, but he tried to beat one man too many.
The Linnets used all three subs to try and rescue the game, one of these, Robbie Harris sending a first-time shot well wide.
But two minutes later Devine had an effort tipped over. From the resulting corner Flack fired from point-blank range and, despite Wilson's best attempts, the ball was adjudged to have squirmed over the line.
The fans were unfortunately denied a home goal, as Staff had a volley blocked by Bittner at the end.
The margin of victory was harsh but the home side got an ovation at the end from The Walks faithful.
City now meet Ryman Division One North side Arlesey Town, who caused a shock in Tuesday's replay by beating Conference boys Dagenham 4-2 to reach the last 16.
Linnets: Wilson, Jones, Setchell, Burrows, Fuff, Raynor (Woodrow 79), Defty, Holmes, Staff, Watkins (Harris 68), Camm (March h-t). Subs not used: Bacon, Nobes.
Grecians: Bittner, Hiley, Jeannin, Cronin, Canham (Flack 62), Ampadu (Taylor 88), Coppinger, Sheldon, Todd, Afful (Devine 62), Moxey. Not used: Rice, Gaia. Booking: Ampadu (foul 21). Goals: Sheldon 69, Devine 71, Flack 85.
Referee: Russell Booth (Sutton-in-Ashfield). Attendance: 3,127
FACTfileShots on
Shots off
Free kicks
Exeter774115 Ampadu (foul 21)
Lynn News Man of the Match - Gary Setchell
Report by permission of the Lynn News