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King's Lynn 0 Merthyr Tydfil 3
8th April 2006
Back to earth with a bump.
The Linnets suffered their second home defeat in five days, and on this evidence it's a good job that they have already secured a play-off spot.
The Walks outfit will be hoping it was just a bad day at the office, rather than the Salisbury defeat a few days earlier having had a deeper effect on the side's confidence.
It was one of those days where nothing went right for the players, their passing and attacking moves invariably breaking down.
The more the game went on, the more you felt the only way a Lynn team would score at The Walks this weekend would be during the Sunday League final on Sunday morning.
Lynn manager Tommy Taylor said that it was not doing the things the side had done well – that had got them into the play-offs in the first place – that had cost them: "I'm not worried. You don't have hangovers from games. We've just got to get on the bike and start pedalling.
"We couldn't pass water. If you give the ball away in the wrong areas it kills you.
"I said at half-time: 'You haven't got in a good position as you have because you've been playing badly, you've been playing well. Don't stuff it up now.'"
Taylor wasn't unduly concerned about the effect the two defeats had on his side. "We're not a bad team. We've had two bad games and in both have let three goals in.
"Any team here will hurt you if you let them play. They picked us off because we were sloppy.
"I took Coops off to play two at the back, the quickest two we've got. I didn't want Coops there with his hamstring, as we knew they'd be banging balls over the top and he'd just be sprinting back.
"Harvey's got bullied off the ball for their last goal and Westy's headed it down straight instead of wide.
"Everything was dropping over Jack Defty's shoulder."
Defender Grant Cooper returned from a hamstring strain, but Lynn missed the passing of Sam McMahon, who was out with a knee injury.
The only Linnet to threaten in a very flat first half was Adam Smith, who struck the post from 30 yards early on.
Keeper Arron Benstead could only push out a 20-yard effort by Martyrs skipper Michael Fowler into the path of Gary Shephard, who made no mistake with the visitors' first chance of the match.
Benstead, due to a back injury, was soon replaced by Jon Higgs, who had his first senior team game since the first game of the year.
Early into the second half, Cooper's effort bobbled wide and the stretching Smith volleyed well off-target, while at the other end Shephard should have done better with a header.
Lynn wasted their best opportunity of the game when Matt Nolan's shot was directed in eventually by sub Lee Charles on the line, but it was ruled offside.
Just three minutes later when Stephen Harvey needlessly gave the ball away, Shephard, who featured little in the game but showed a killer touch, outmuscled Harvey and slotted past Higgs.
A minute later with the Lynn defence outnumbered, Paul Keddle expertly volleyed home the third to complete Lynn's misery.
Taylor said there would be extra training this week: "I'll get them in Tuesday and Thursday."
It wasn't all doom-and-gloom as Bath City were beaten 1-0 at Cheshunt on Saturday. Chippenham were held to a goalless draw at Rugby, but Bedford Town won 2-1 at home to Cirencester Town.
Salisbury realistically need two wins from their final five games to seal the title following their win over Hitchin.
Lynn: Benstead (Higgs 20), West, Smith, Harvey, Cooper (Peters 65), Camm, Defty, Anselin, Nolan, Carey, O'Halloran (Charles 59). Subs not used: Hyde, Hammond.
Merthyr: Morris, S. Williams, Keddle, Lewis, Wharton, Welsh, Thomas, Fowler (D. Williams 57) Shephard, Moses, Dimond. Not used: Chappell, Colvin-Owen, Jones.
Goals: Shephard 13, 76, Keddle 77. Booked: Thomas.
Referee: A. Sannerude (Suffolk). Att: 843. MoM: Adam Smith.
Report by permission of the Lynn News