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Crawley Town 2 King's Lynn 0
4th April 1998
Shot-shy Lynn will have their destiny confirmed this weekend when Merthyr and Forest Green should get the points that will condemn the Linnets to another season in the Dr Martens League.
An embarrassingly disjointed display in Sussex saw Lynn manage just two shots at the home goal with only Brett McNamara's header, five minutes from time. on target but easily saved by Colin Hunwick. And the experienced Tony Spearing recognises that the team must buck up their ideas if the club is not to slip to mid-table obscurity after a season that promised so much.
"We just didn't perform. The goals were sloppy individual mistakes," he said after his return to action following injury.
But Spearing is confident the team can still finish the season on a high.
"It's up to us to bounce back and make sure we don't finish with a bad run. All the boys are extremely upset about it and it's up to us to put it right no-one else can do it," added Spearing who reported no ill effects despite missing two weeks' training.
But third place is all Lynn can now aim for. The Linnets lie 12 points behind Merthyr and Forest Green with only 15 left to play for. Forest Green should put themselves out of reach at home to Salisbury on Friday while Monday brings the first leg of the title-challengers' head-to head.
At Crawley, Lynn looked like a side going through the motions and even the poor quality of the pitch offered few excuses. The forward line was lethargic, the defence failed to work as a unit and midfield was by-passed.
A dire first half was memorable only for a mix-up between Colin Hoyle and James Hollman outside the area which put John Richardson clean through but he shot into the side-netting.
Lynn's only effort saw Lee Norfolk's 35-yard free kick drift narrowly over the angle of bar and post five minutes before the break. The other entertainment was provided by 100s of local school children who rejoiced in counting the number of balls cleared over the stands unfortunately accompanied by a cacophony of air-horns.
But, whereas the first half was shun of good quality, the second was significant for some woeful defending by the Linnets as they handed Crawley their first win in six games.
Steve Riches was caught out of position on the wing and Justin Gregory dummied his way past Hollman to place the ball in the net.
The second goal was even worse with Matthew Wright's back pass failing woefully short and allowing Simon Ullathorne to lob Hollman from the edge of the area.
Riches and Wright provided several teasing crosses at the other end but the visiting attack looked uninterested with Mark Paul lacking his spark and Lee Hudson and Brett McNamara similarly leaden-footed.
Twenty-goal top scorer Steve Williams missed the game after being served with a one-match suspension following his trip to the FA on Friday after amounting 12 bookings.
Manager Peter Morris was angry with the lack of urgency shown by his team.
"It looks as if we've settled for fourth or fifth place and that's not good enough." he blasted. We performed as if we had nothing to play for. The goals we conceded were very sloppy and our front three were static."
Lynn: Hollman, Matthews, Riches (Mead 79), Hoyle, Pascoe, Spearing, Norfolk, Wright, Paul, McNamara, Hudson. Subs (not used) Davis, Lewis
Crawley: Hunwick, Stevens, Riley, Pullan, Mackie, Gregory, Barber, Anderson, Richardson, Ullathorn, Hawthorne. Subs (not used) Warden, Abbey, Payne.
Shots on
Shots off
Free kicks
Crawley625616 Hawthorne (foul, 39)
Report by permission of the Lynn News