MAGIC Matt O’Halloran book-ed Lynn a place in the fourth
qualifying round with a late double – before revealing
that he thought his season was over after a late
challenge from Halesowen’s Matt Lewis.
O’Halloran was on the receiving end of a crude tackle
from Lewis, who was shown a straight red card for his
violent lunge in the 88th minute.
The game was held up for several minutes while Lynn’s
hero received treatment.
O’Halloran, who has been nominated as Player of the
Round, said: "My leg went completely numb and I just
feared the worse. I remember what Shaun Carey said when
he broke his leg and I thought my season could be over.
"Luckily, it seems that the muscle near the side of my
calf took most of the impact and it’s just bruised.
"I’m very sore, but fingers-crossed I’ll be available
for Saturday. We’ve got some very big games and I’d hate
to miss any of them."
David Watters, editor of the Non League Paper, nominated
O’Halloran for the third qualifying round. Ironically Lewis won the award
for the first qualifying round.
O’Halloran’s brace finally ended Lynn’s jinx against
Halesowen after going more than eight hours of football
without a goal against their Midland rivals.
It also eased the pain of Lynn’s opening-day loss –
their only defeat of the campaign so far – at the hands
"We owed the fans, the gaffer and ourselves one after
losing in that fashion on the opening day of the
season," said O’Halloran.
"Our confidence is sky high, the belief is there and the
backing we are getting from the fans is magnificent."
Linnets boss Tommy Taylor said: "I knew we could beat
them. Their biggest danger came with balls into our
Lynn were denied an early goal by the first-half heroics
of home keeper Dan Woodhall, who foiled both Michael
Frew and Alex Notman with superb one-handed saves.
At the other end, Lynn’s inability to confidently deal
with set-pieces was their Achilles-heel as the hosts
forced a succession of quick corners.
Linnets goalkeeper John Higgs also made a crucial stop
when he saved with his legs from Lewis.
After the break Halesowen turned up the heat, with
Lewis’ swerving effort landing in the arms of Higgs.
Halesowen probably realised it wasn’t going to be their
day when Paul Szewczyk’s low drive beat Higgs, but came
back off the right post and Lynn’s shotstopper
gratefully fell onto the rebound.
Lynn defended better at the back with both Mark Warren
and Charlie Defty looking more at ease with Halesowen’s
potent aerial threat.
O’Halloran broke the deadlock in the 82nd minute when he
latched on to substitute Matt Nolan’s pass just inside
the box before drilling home.
Four minutes later the former Boston United player
doubled Lynn’s advantage when he hammered home a rising
effort, which went in off the underside of the home bar.
A hectic finale saw Lewis net from the penalty spot
after Sam McMahon had been harshly-adjudged to have
handled in the box.
There was still time for Lewis to receive his marching
orders as a pulsating cup tie came to an ugly end.
After the game O’Halloran paid tribute to Nolan, who has
changed the last two games after coming off the bench.
"Matty has had a bit of stick from one or two people,
but his overall play has been immense," said O’Halloran.
"He came on and set-up my goal against Mangotsfield and
did the same on Saturday.
"It’s only a matter of time before he scores a goal, but
you can’t argue about his contribution to the team.
"I think that has been the difference between this
season and last.
"We are stringing some good performances together with
more consistency and all of the players are
Halesowen: Woodhall, Warner, Haywood, Pierrepoint,
Knight, Williams, Cowley, Lewis, Szewczyk (Brindley 81),
Amos, Forsdick (Dowdall 84). Subs not used: Cooper,
Goal: Lewis (88). Booked: Williams. Sent off: Lewis.
Lynn: Higgs, West, Smith, Warren, C. Defty, Camm, J.
Defty, McMahon, Frew, Notman (Nolan 70), O’Halloran
(Norris 90). Subs not used: Gaughran, Fry, Harvey.
Goals: O’Halloran (82, 86).
Booked: J. Defty, McMahon, O’Halloran. Attendance: 632.
Referee: B.C. O’Sullivan (Peterborough).