LYNN F.A. Cup dreams turned into a nightmare in the sleepy Worcestershire village of Alvechurch on Saturday.
The West Midlands League amateurs smashed in three goals in the first nine minutes and that effectively ended this Second Round tie.
Lynn had travelled with high hopes of getting through to a glamour tie, but they were ruthlessly pushed aside, leaving Alvechurch to plan for their match against either Barnsley or Bradford in the New Year.
Player-manager Frank Wignall said sadly: "We were terrible. I was most disappointed with our defence, but that does not excuse the rest of the team."
Alvechurch boss Wyn Bowen said: "All our lads were magnificent. When they got those three quick goals it made it so easy. We were ten feet tall and we could play entertaining football.
"We had watched Kingís Lynn play and I had been impressed with Wignall, Brooks and Rudd. I still hold by that opinion, but 1 would have nightmares about some of the other players.
Lynn had also had Alvechurch watched and knew them to be a solid all-round team. They proved to be much better than any of the 400 Linnets fans expected. The amateurs have a good Cup record (Stourbridge, Bromsgrove, Stafford Rangers and Fourth Division Exeter having fallen already) and these successes have not been flukes.
Although they play in the West Midland League, which overall is not all that strong, Alvechurch would easily hold their own in the Southern League Premier Division. On Saturday they were better organised with more fire and application in their play; so often a yard fast to the ball, invariably finding open spaces to keep moves flowing.
But even Alvechurch were surprised at the way in which the Lynn defence fell apart at the seams. The crowd were chanting "Easy, easy, easy". And it was.
After Lynn had forced a first minute corner which was cleared, Alvechurch broke straight away with an elementary through pass down the middle which found Compton Edwards darting into space and Garry Steel saved at his feet at the edge of the area.
The next three times Steel was to touch the ball was to pick it out of the net. Each goal was provided by tricky winger Graham Allner, Ken Lawrance (4 minutes) and Kevin Palmer (5 minutes) having all the room they needed in the penalty area to hammer in their shots.
The third goal in the ninth minute was quite diabolical. A corner on the left by Allner was low, but not too hard, and went past all the cover to Edwards standing by himself inside the six-yard box. Edwards must have thought Christmas had come a bit early for a gift like that.
It would by easy to point accusing fingers and ask: Why wasnít so-and-so marking more tightly when these goals went in? but collectively Lynn were quite demoralised and Alvechurch were eager to take the pickings.
Lynn had a moment of relief when Wignall shrugged off two mid-field tackles and got through to the penalty area before challenged again and he forced a corner which again came to nothing. Alvechurch replied with even more biting attacks and added to Lynnís misery in the 35th minute when Edwards slotted in the fourth with a
15-yard shot after something of a scramble in front of the Lynn goal . The West Indian player then watched in apparent disbelief when Steel made a superb save to touch over his goal-bound shot.
In the last five minutes of the half Lynn had more success with their attacks and after Ray Elliott had seen Ward save a shot came their solitary goal. A centre from Woolmer on the right was headed back across goal by Rudd to Lindsay who forced the ball in from close range. If Lynn thought this 44th minute goal could lift them to
a better second half they were quickly disappointed. Alvechurch started as if they were in danger of losing and started off at a terrific pace with a flurry of shots being blocked in a packed penalty area.
Example of the skill of Alvechurch came in the 65th minute when Edwards and Allner combined brilliantly in a move down the left touchline and Lawrence finished it off with a flick which Steel saved.
A minute later another Steel - Lawrance confrontation ended with Steel making a rare mistake and dropping a centre at the foot of Lawrence, preventing a goal by fouling the tall forward. There were no protests as referee Mike Kerkhof awarded the penalty which skipper
Kevin Lynn put away.
Lawrence Missed an easy chance after Wright had mis-kicked. but shot straight at Steel; he did not make the same mistake in the 76th minute when Allner (again) deceived Painter and passed accurately across goal for Lawrance to side-foot in.
Alvechurch: Ward, Lyne, Bayliss, Francis, Punsheon, Palmer, Clements, Lawrance, Deehan, Edwards, Allner.
Lynn: Steel, Brooks, Smith, Adams, Painter. Wright, Woolmer (sub Clark 45 mins), Rudd, Lindsay, Wignall, Elliot
Referee: M. Kerkhof (Oxford)