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King's Lynn 3 Bromsgrove Rovers 2
16th August 1997
SUPER cool Richard Skelly blasted the Linnets to a first-day victory with a late penalty at a roasting hot Walks on Saturday. And fellow wing-back Martin Matthews weighed in with his second consecutive opening day goal to add to an early strike from new signing Steve Williams. But Lynn made things difficult for themselves after throwing away a 2-0 lead against injury-stricken visitors. Newly-relegated Bromsgrove turned up with only Stewart Brighton as a recognised centre back but he failed to start to game after tearing a calf muscle in his pre-match limbering up. That lack of cover at the heart of the visitors' defence saw Lynn carve out numerous first-half chances but their only goal came after ten minutes. Matthew Wright sent a high ball towards the edge of the area where Lee Hudson rose well to flick the ball over the defence for Williams to steer past Richard Anstiss.
Surprise starter Brett McNamara, still nursing a neck injury, was at the heart of much of the Lynn action. But it was in a providing role he thrived ' Hudson and Russell Stock firing over from tight angles. Jason Pascoe was not so pleased with McNamara after 34 minutes, the striker accidently handling his goal-bound effort on the line and then stabbing the rebound wide. Hudson should have doubled Lynn's lead in first-half injury time when he did well to control a McNamara through ball but he then placed his shot wide with the goal at his mercy. 
Bromsgrove started the second half in spirited style and only a crashing goal-line clearance by Wright prevented an equaliser when James Hollman and Colin Hoyle got in a tangle and allowed Karl Payne a free shot. But it was Lynn who found the net. Williams and Skelly exchanged passes on the halfway line and the wing-back raced clear before delivering an inch-perfect cross for the onrushing Martin Matthews to head powerfully in off the post.
That stirred Bromsgrove into further action and things were soon all square. Mark Peters was allowed space to jink past three challenges before lifting a shot into the roof of the net and then Whitehouse headed on for Payne to send a mis-hit shot spinning past a wrong-footed Hollman. Anstiss pulled off a flying one-handed save to keep another Hudson shot out before Tony Spearing reacted quickly to clear a Whitehouse effort after Hoyle and Hollman were again involved in a mix-up on the edge of the box. Hudson was involved in the winning goal, this time being sent crashing to the ground by Anstiss as he raced on to a Stock through ball. Both players needed lengthy treatment and the keeper was also booked for his troubles. The delay did not seem to affect Skelly and he stepped up confidently to send Anstiss the wrong way from the spot. A scything two-footed tackle by Peters on McNamara ended the game on a sour note with the visiting number seven sent off just before substitute Simon Mead saw Anstiss tip his header over the bar.
Lynn: Hollman, Matthews, Skelly, Wright (Roberts 83), Hoyle, Spearing, Pascoe, Stock, Williams (Mead 83), McNamara, Hudson. Sub (not used): Hopkins
Rovers: Anstiss, Hickman (Smith 64), Darkes, Brighton (Davis k-o), Grocutt, Skelding, Peters, Amos, Whitehouse, Payne, Gardener. Sub (not used): Simpson
Report by permission of the Lynn News
Shots on
Shots off
Free kicks
Bromsgrove662713 Peters (50) dissent
Anstiss (79) foul
Peters (86) foul