LINNETS’ dream of reaching the Dr Martens League final for the first time in 40 years ended at the last hurdle on Tuesday.
Despite their best efforts on a glorious pitch which rewarded both sides’ passing football, they faded and succumbed to a goal in each half by a slick team led by Nigel Clough.
Manager Gary Mills admitted the hosts were the better side, saying: "We were second best on the night. It’s disappointing to lose in the semi-final. We just couldn’t produce the performance, but we’ll bounce back on Saturday.
"Burton have good players, they’re in a different league financially. They can afford to bring in those type of players. It’s a massive difference."
Mills thanked the 200-plus fans who made the journey, adding "I’m just sorry we couldn’t win it for them."
Linnets shaded the early exchanges and in the fifth minute a long ball from Simon Dakin was flicked on by Lyndon Rowland to the pacy new signing Darren Bogan, who just beat keeper Nick Goodwin to the ball. But the ball rebounded off Goodwin and Bogan could not get another shot in.
Then it was Dave Puttnam’s turn to burst into the box after a neat one-two with Rowland, but his first touch let him down.
The Brewers went ahead after the quarter-hour, Dale Anderson flicking on David Holmes’ cross and Darren Stride fired into the roof of the net at the far post.
After Emeka Nwadike lost the ball in an otherwise excellent game, Chuck Martini had to save from Holmes to prevent a second goal.
Tony Spearing had a fizzing 35-yarder go over, while just before half-time Puttnam centred and Glen Fuff’s far post header was brilliantly blocked by Goodwin.
Early in the second period Martini saved Holmes’ stinging effort at the second attempt.
After a good build-up, Jon Palmer’s shot was turned around the post and on the hour Mark Turner blazed over on the turn.
The Staffordshire side killed the game with 10 minutes left when Pat Lyons rifled in a screamer from 20 yards, but only after Christian Moore had pushed Fuff.
After coming through three penalty shoot-outs, perhaps Lynn’s luck had run out.
"It was a push, but it wouldn’t have made a difference," said Mills. "If anything it needs to be a two-legged semi-final and then find a venue halfway between the finalists."
Lynn: Martini, Dakin, Spearing, Clark, Fuff, Nwadike, Palmer, Turner, Rowland, Bogan (Richardson 64), Puttnam. Subs not used: Gibson, Marsden.
Burton: Goodwin, Henshaw, March, Lyons, Blount. Wall, Stride, Anderson (Garner 90), Moore (Thomas 90), Clough, Holmes. Sub (not used) George.