King's Lynn 0 Sittingbourne 1
11th April 1998
A WEAK winning goal epitomised Saturday's uninspiring clash at The Walks.
Darren Smith's tame tenth minute strike found the bottom corner of the net and the visitors held on for a vital three points in their fight against relegation.
But it was another poor performance from the Linnets and they will need to lift themselves if they are to claim a top three place this season.
Promotion finally went out of the window mathematically after this defeat and Forest Green's 3-2 win over Salisbury on Friday night but third place would still be an impressive position for Lynn in a difficult season.
Injuries have hit Peter Morris' side hard this term, he was missing key men again against Sittingbourne.
No player has been ever-present this campaign and Morris has often been unable to call upon a significantly large part of his squad.
Out on Saturday were Duncan Roberts, Leo Cotterell, Martin Matthews and Craig Hopkins. Colin Hoyle was suspended and Lee Hudson was not totally fit but took a place on the bench.
After just 36 minutes, Hudson was summoned on to the pitch when Kevin Ellis was forced out of the action with a hamstring injury.
The changes to the team obviously have not helped and that can be put forward as one excuse to this poor display.
Another is the pitch. A few. years ago, the match would never have taken place because of the heavy rain but groundsman Maurice Bunting did another fantastic job to make the pitch playable although the muddy conditions were never going to make for a spectacle.
Had Lynn taken the lead, the match may have been a totally different affair.
After just four minutes, the home fans were screaming for a penalty when ex-Norwich City defender Paul Haylock appeared to scythe down Steve Williams from behind.
No spot-kick was awarded and six minutes later Sittingbourne grabbed the all-important goal.
Lee Norfolk was penalised for a foul on Lloyd Hume 20 yards from goal. Smith
struck his free-kick at the wall but his second effort slowly bobbled its way into the corner, many believing keeper James Hollman should have reached the shot.
After that, Sittingbourne were happy to defend although they came close to adding to their lead with their rare forays forward.
Lynn huffed and puffed but couldn't find a way to blow the visitors' solid house down.
Williams fired a shot straight at keeper Andy Hough in the home side's best chance of the first half and Mark Paul sent in a looping header that was fielded comfortably by Sittingbourne's stopper.
After the break, Norfolk hit a stinging drive just wide before Steve Riches hammered a shot against the post after a jinking run into the box.
Norfolk dragged another shot wide after good work from Matthew Wright, Hudson and Mark Paul.
Hollman nearly gifted the Kent side a second goal.
He scuffed a goal-kick straight at Tommy Planck, who raced forward and saw his shot blocked by the Lynn keeper.
The rebound fell to Rowland whose shot was cleared off the line by Kori Davis.
Williams volleyed over from close range and Davis headed wide with the keeper well-beaten as Lynn hunted for an equaliser.
But it never came and Sittingbourne substitute Peter Overton came closest to a second half goal, his header trickling across the goalline.
: Hollman, Wright (G Roberts 78), Riches, Davis, Ellis (Hudson 36), Spearing, Pascoe, Norfolk, Williams, McNamara, Paul. Sub (not used): Lewis.
: Hough, Smith, Hodge, Hume, Allen, Taylor, Haylock, Bovis, Planck (Overton 70), Rowland (Pavey 89), Owen. Sub (not used): Clarke.
|Shots on |
|Shots off |
|| Smith (13, foul)