THIS monumental performance from the Linnets sent out a clear message to their big rivals for the title: Money doesn’t buy you spirit.
When it came down to it, St Neots couldn’t match the desire and passion shown by Lynn when the going got tough.
A scintillating second half display saw the Linnets deservedly bring an end to the big-spenders’ 46-match unbeaten run which, before Saturday, extended back to October 2009.
Joint Linnets boss Gary Setchell said: "We had to take St Neots into the trenches.
"It was plain for everyone to see that when it went to 2-2 it was the first time that they had been in that position all season.
"They hadn’t had a team like us come at them and keep the ball like we did all season and they clearly panicked." Fellow manager Kevin Boon hailed Setchell after seeing his side enhance their title dreams at the expense of the Saints in front of the biggest UCL crowd for more than 35 years.
Boon revealed Setchell’s half-time team talk inspired the Linnets to their best display of the season, saying: "Gary (Setchell) is so professional in the changing rooms and he is the only one who talks to the players before, during and after the game.
"At half-time he gave one of the most inspired team talks he has delivered all season and the players took on board what he said and responded in such a fantastic manner in the second half." Boon drew comparison with the club’s final-day Eastern Division title triumph at Fisher back in 2004 after more than 900 travelling fans saw Town stun the team widely-known as `St Notes’.
"Our fans were absolutely fantastic and our performance and them reminded me of the day at Fisher, but better," said Boon.
"That crowd was worth at least a goal to us. In the second half the atmosphere lifted the players and they responded.
"They are such a massive asset to this club and I hope they will make as much noise when we play them at home in the FA Vase next Saturday." Fellow joint boss Gary Setchell admitted his side continue to set the standards when it comes to the big games.
"Over the last few weeks we’ve continued to raise the bar every big game we’ve played in, "said Setchell.
"We did it at Beckenham, raised it again at both Wroxham and Norton and Stockton and have raised it even further by beating St Neots today. "I felt we showed St Neots too much respect in the first half but Kevin and myself still felt we had the players who could hurt them with Jack, Spriggsy and people like that. We felt we could get at them.
"At half-time we said to them we didn’t look like we believed in ourselves enough. I know we’d been against the wind, but I said if we had a real go at them second half we can win the game."
After an early effort from Jack Defty had been ruled out for a clear hand ball, St Neots swiftly broke up field and Town defender Ross Watson took out Stefan Moore in the box and Lewis Webb fired home the resulting spot kick.
Alex Street pulled off a fine double
save to deny both Stefan Moore and Webb’s follow-up as the Saints looked to double their early advantage.
The Linnets levelled matters when Chris Bacon, a surprise inclusion in the side ahead of Robbie Harris, picked out Spriggs on the right and the winger made no mistake with the finish.
Three minutes before the interval Moore produced a clinical finish to fire St Neots back in front.
But the Linnets, encouraged by some magnificent travelling support, were far from finished.
Spriggs calmly beat Hogan, who remained glued to his line, for his and Town’s second after Defty flicked-on Ross Watson’s throw.
Fifteen minutes into the second half. a long goal-kick from Street found Defty, who outpaced the leggy-looking Glen Fuff before sidefooting the ball past a hesitant Hogan.
Defty headed against the post but, shortly after, Spriggs completed his hat-trick when he drilled past a bemused Hogan just inside the box. Street’s magnificent reaction stop foiled Kieron Davies but Lynn were so in control there were few scares for The Walks outfit in the final 25 minutes.
|St Neots: Hogan, D. Moore, Davis, Webb, Fuff, Fordham, Hilliard, Konadu (Davies 65), S. Moore, Tolley, Jacob (Essandoh 77). Subs: Gent, Hyem, Scully, Trebes.
Booking: Tolley. Goals: Webb (13), Moore (42).
King’s Lynn Town: Street, Bexfield, Alsop, L. Thurlbourne, Watson, Buhlemann, Spriggs (Doherty 75), White, Defty, Bacon (Harris 77), J. Thurlbourne. Subs: McNeil, Moriera, Hails. Booking: Alsop.
Goals: Spriggs (32, 53, 65), Defty (60).
Referee: G. Kinnear. Attendance: 1,481.