Crawley Town 1 King's Lynn 0
4th March 2003
THE Linnets lacked the necessary firepower to book their place in the final as they suffered semi-final heartache at Crawley for the second time in three years.
Peter Morris' side dominated possession in the second half of Tuesday night's clash, but lacked a real cutting edge in the final third of the pitch:
Morris said: "After the first 15 minutes we handled them very well. We had enough possession to hurt them, but weren't bright enough in the final third.
I don't think there was much difference between the sides and, although we lost, the lads can hold their heads up high.
"We fought well and got a foot in when we needed too, but our front players didn't really frighten them."
Despite having the lion's share of the ball, Lynn failed to test Crawley keeper Andy Little - renowned for flapping at crosses - with a centre until midway through the second period.
Other than a couple of headers, Little remained largely redundant throughout the 90 minutes, as did Steve Wilson between the posts for Lynn in a dour second half showing from both sides.
Crawley dictated the early stages and pounded Lynn's box with a number of crosses, with which Glen Fuff and Mark Burrows dealt with admirable ease.
Wilson was called into action in the 14th minute when he parried a Warren Bagnall shot, while two minutes later at the other end the hard-working Jordan Blyth fired wide when well placed in the Reds' box.
A misunderstanding between Carl Holmes and Jack Defty in midfield led to Crawley's opening goal in the 21st minute when Ernie Cooksey played the ball through to Bagnall, who made no mistake with the finish.
The fingertips of Wilson denied the home side a second 11 minutes before the break; when he did well to turn Nigel Brake's header over his woodwork.
Crawley, handed a reprieve in the cup after Chelmsford fielded an ineligible player in the quarter finals, were content to sit back and hold on to their advantage after the break, while Lynn matched their hosts for effort until the ball arrived any where near the home box.
Lynn huffed and puffed their way towards the Crawley goal late on, but never looked capable of sending the contest into an extra 30 minutes.
The closest they came to drawing level was from substitute Chris Bacon's header and a piece of trickery from David Staff, whose 70th minute cross flew across the home box.
With seconds left on the clock, Crawley were reduced to 10 men when Peter Fear - already in the book for an earlier challenge - left Holmes on the floor following a crude two-footed lunge.
Had they scored, the final result could well have been different - but the Linnets will now have to wait until next season when they will look to maintain their fine record in the competition.
: Little, Holmes, Payne, Judqe, Pullan, Fear, Harkin, Cooksey, McDonnell, Bagnell, Brake (Hemsley 83). Subs not used: Hockton, Hooper, McCurdy, Vine. Booked: Fear. Sent-off: Fear.
: Wilson, Jones, Cowling, Burrows, Fuff, Defty (Woodrow 45), Blyth (Bacon 62), Raynor, Watts (Weston 70), Staff, Holmes. Subs not used: Blois, Nobes, Booked: Burrows, Cowling.
: C. Couzens (Hitchin).
: Mark Burrows