AFTER making the running for the majority of the first half, Lynn allowed Wisbech to dictate the play in the second half of Saturday’s game and a penalty ten minutes from the end brought a 1-1 Midland League draw.
Supporters from Lynn spent most of the match in high spirits. Right from the start of this local derby, Lynn pressed and after eight minutes, Terry Ryder found himself in front of the goal — completely unmarked.
He was standing in an offside position, but Wisbech’s centre half had moved to the ball and had played the Lynn leader into an enviable position. Trust Ryder to make sure with such a chance.
So the topic of conversation for the next hour was whether or not Ryder’s goal should have been allowed. If it should not, then the Wisbech equaliser could cause similar queries.
Robust centre forward Church had wandered out to the right. Colin Bunn followed him and as Church swung at the ball, Bunn put up his arms to protect his face. Hand ball! And referee Jack Cope (Peterborough), who did very little to encourage enjoyment in this important game, had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Wisbech skipper Cleary netted from the spot and after that, Lynn were kept on the defensive for the rest of the game.
A draw was, on the whole, a fair reflection. Lynn took the honours — and the lead - In the first half, but after the interval, Lynn’s defence had to bring out Its best to deal with Wisbech’s new
plan of attack — the long all down the middle leaving Church and former Lynn man Bloomer to chase.
Honours from this game go to Lynn’s defenders. Manning stood no chance AL all with Cleary’s perfeCtly taken penalty, but the rest of the time he handled the ball confidently and dominated the penalty area with case. Altogether, he had far more work than Harvey, his Wisbech counterpart.
Perhaps the biggest pat on the back should go to full¬backs Neal and Bannister. Brought in as a late deputy for Hartnett, Wisbech’s Frame worked hard and only the positional knowledge and the hard tackling of Neal kept him subdued.
Lynn fans remember the havoc Wisbech right-winger Hughes caused on the Walks earlier this season? There was no havoc on Saturday. Into the tackle first-time all the while. Bannister was always in control of his flank and Hughes played right into Lynn’s hands by holding on the ball.
Although he never showed up so much as Wisbech’s centre half. Lynn pivot George Heagren kept his first-time clearances well to the fore, while on either side of him former Wisbech men Grant and Bunn were working all the time,
It was the Lynn forward line that fell down. Ryder was kept out of the picture by the brilliance of Reg Foulkes. who was easily the best man on the field. Morris and Downie were kept tinder control ’by Robson and Adamson, while on the left wing Williams showed plenty of speed and dash, but persisted in trying to run right through a man instead of round him.
Another fault of Williams. who could have proved the matchwinner. when Wisbech full-back Hassall was injured, was that he was too reluctant to swing the ball over.
So often he tried to outstrip one extra man as the Wisbech defence became entangled.
No doubt about Lynn’s best forward. Player - manager Paul Todd, getting towards the end of his reign as ’boss’ at the Walks showed more Initiative than the rest of the front line put together. Always moving into the space, and persistently fetching and carrying, he tried to keep the game open and bring out the best of his colleagues.
His battles with Jim Bloomer brought some light-hearted rivalry into the game, while his tussles with the hard-tackling Cleary often became a case of the irresistible force and the immovable object.
Lynn attacking from the start, went ahead in the 8th minute. Downie beat Adamson and pushed the ball down the wing to Morris. As the winger sent over a centre. Ryder ran forward into a space and a mis-kick by Foulkes put the ball right to his foot. RYDER made no mistake in beating Harvey. In one of Wisbech’s few first-half raids, Bannister headed a high cross from Frame over the bar with the rest of the forwards watching. From the corner, Grant coolly cleared from the penalty area and moved up to take a neat return pass from Todd. But Grant’s long-range shot gave Harvey no trouble.
Foulkes deflected a Downie cross over Ills own bar and then Robson headed off the line — once again from Downie.
Williams cut through. but was slow to distribute the ball and Ryder’s final effort was blocked by the close-watching Foulkes.
A hand-ball on the edge of the area brought Lynn a free-kick. A quick pass to Williams, but his shot was held by Harvey. The free-kick had to be re-taken — why, only the referee knows! — but this time Grant fired into a crowd of players.
Right from the start of the second half, Wisbech came more into the game and adopted a policy which was only combatted by the accurate first-time clearances of Lynn’s defence.
Heagren was kept busy, but he gave Church little scope. All the Wisbech players mov¬ed into the attack for a corner from Frame. Foulkes headed the ball to Hughes. who stubbed his toe and touched the ball tamely to Manning. Hassell was injured in a clash with Williams, and the Wisbech full-back moved to the wing with Cleary at fullback. Throwing everything into attack, Wisbech saw a Church shot roll along the bar, while Foulkes went close with a header from another left-wing corner.
Then came the 80th minute hand-ball. Wisbech’s equalising penalty goal.
Altogether, not a great game. There were plenty of thrills for supporters of both sides. but what football was played certainly came froth Lynn who, with more force in the forward line, could have
taken both points.