CAPTAIN courageous Paul Cousins led by example as Lynn toughed out a victory at Westwood Road on Saturday.
The former Wisbech centre back played most of the match bandaged after a collision left him bleeding from the forehead, but he won header after header as the Linnets ground out three points.
The bumpy pitch, exposed windy conditions and poor referee served up the ingredients that would have seen the visitors crumble last season, but they are now made of sterner stuff.
Apart from a missed penalty, St Ives didn't manage a shot of note during the whole game and Danny White's cool finish after a piece of Robbie Harris brilliance saw Lynn deserved winners.
Delighted joint manager Gary Setchell said after the match: "This was the kind of game we would have lost last year.
"That's why we brought in defenders like Cousins and Stuart Wall – they are leaders of men, just like Jack Defty. They show that extra courage and the others are inspired by them. We got them here for games like this.
" We gave a lot of free kicks away towards the end but we never looked like conceding. It was a real squad effort. Danny Beaumont played out of position at wide left and put in a tremendous shift."
To be honest, Lynn were no more than workmanlike on the day and missed the silky skills of injured winger Jamie Thurlbourne, but Cousins adds something they didn't have last term.
He nearly opened the scoring after seven minutes when his thunderous header from a Stephen Spriggs corner was brilliantly saved. Spriggs himself then ballooned over when well placed before Defty headed just wide.
On 25 minutes The Saints had an unexpected chance to take the lead from a ridiculously soft penalty after Defty put hands on Washington, but justice was done when Ellison steered the spot kick wide.
Lynn scored their goal on 36 minutes when Harris' delightful flick on the edge of the box was slotted home by White, and the result was never in doubt after that.
In a dull second half the out-of-sorts Spriggs saw a volley blocked just in front of goal and blasted wide when well placed and Beaumont struck the post after good work from busy substitute Craig Calver.
The hard-working Defty nearly put some gloss on the victory in the dying moments, trapping, turning and volleying from the edge of the area, only to be denied by an excellent Conroy save.
But to sum up, Setchell said: “This was the first ugly 1-0 away win we have had in the UCL. That's how you win leagues, by winning away like this.”
|Lynn: Street, L Thurlbourne (Fryatt 60 mins), Yong, Cousins, Wall, White, Spriggs (Coe 78), Bexfield, Defty, Harris (Calver 66), Beaumont. Sub (not used): Johnson.