King's Lynn 1 Eastleigh 1
13th March 2004
LETHARGIC Lynn missed the chance to increase their lead at the top of the table after stuttering their way to their second successive home draw against 10-men on Saturday.
The Linnets enjoyed good spells at the start of the first and the end of the second half, but rarely looked like taking three points off a strong Eastleigh side who won few friends with their physical approach.
With Histon sharing the points with Tonbridge in a 1-1 draw, Lynn knew they had missed a golden opportunity to boost their title chances by dropping two points.
Joint boss Darren Bloodworth said: "It was a very nervy performance from start to finish and the players seemed frightened to express themselves.
"Too many off them had an off-day. Afterwards, we told them it's the team which remains strong mentally, as well as physically, that will come out on top.
"We missed Glen Fuff and Gary Setchell, our two most experienced players. The lads who came in didn't let anyone, down, but you need a bit of know-how in these games. We're good enough to win this league, but we're a young side and that showed at times."
Young side maybe, but the performance of Daniel Hammond was one of the few positives to come out of the game.
Hammond was outstanding at the heart of the Linnets defence with Mark Burrows, while Mark Camm battled for everything.
Take those three players out of the equation, there was little to get excited about.
Eastleigh had two players booked in the opening 13 minutes -as they tried to bully Lynn out of their stride.
Lynn had good claims for a penalty turned down in the fifth minute when Christer Warren clearly looked guilty of handling Dale Watkins' cross.
The deadlock was broken in the 20th minute when Watkins pierced open the Eastleigh rearguard with a delightful pass and David Staff made no mistake with the finish.
Four minutes later, Staff found himself in an identical position following a through ball from Jack Defty, but contrived to drag his effort wide.
Steve Wilson was called upon for the first time to deny Rob Matthews in the 34th minute, while at the other end the giant frame of Colin Matthews foiled Gary Butterworth's 25-yard drive.
Eastleigh levelled on the stroke of the interval when Neil Davis fired the ball past Wilson.
The first 30 minutes of the second period was probably the worst witnessed at The Walks for some months.
Eastleigh looked the more likely to score before Davis was dismissed for his second bookable offence after a late tackle on Carl Holmes in the 63rd minute.
It took Lynn another 12 minutes to finally start showing some urgency when Mark Burrows clipped the bar from just inside the box.
Substitute Chris Bacon was denied by a last-gasp tackle, while Lee Stevenson's long range shot stung the hands of Matthews, who was grateful to cling onto the ball.
Lynn continued to surge forward, but while doing so left gaps at the back, which Eastleigh nearly exploited.
Twice in the closing stages James Thornby burst through the Lynn defence, first of all stopped by Wilson, before scooping another late effort over the bar.
: Wilson, Jones, Butterworth (Stevenson 61), Burrows, Hammond, Fishlock (Bacon 77), Defty, Holmes, Staff, Watkins, Camm. Subs not used: C. Defty, Higgs.
Goal: Staff (20 minutes).
: C. Matthews, Warren, Warner, Richardson, Rofe, Marshall, Bowers, Hughes, R. Matthews (Chamberlain 79), Davis, Beck (Thornby 79). Subs not used: Sales, Shaw.
Goal: Davis (45).
: M. George (North Walsham). Attendance
Lynn News Man of the Match -
file||Shots on |
|Shots off |
|| Richardson, Hughes,
Davis (two bookings)