The Linnets boosted their chances of home advantage in the play-offs, despite
the second half dismissal of midfielder Sam McMahon, with a slender win over
local rivals Grantham yesterday.
Skipper McMahon received his marching orders for two yellow cards, leaving his
side to hang on for the final 20 minutes of an uninspiring Easter clash.
Matt Nolan’s 13th goal of the campaign proved a lucky one to divide the two
Lynn manager Tommy Taylor was forced into one change from the side that beat
Banbury 2-0 on Saturday.
Defender Grant Cooper was ruled out with a strained hamstring, and was replaced
by Danny Hammond at the back.
Grantham included former Linnet Martin Matthews in their starting XI. Both sides
were greeted by a swirling wind as they took to the field.
The home side were first to threaten when Jason Turner found space inside the
Lynn box, only for Shaun Carey to snuff out the danger with a well-timed
Lynn’s first opportunity came from an in-swinging Adam Smith corner in the sixth
minute, which eluded a crowd of players in the Grantham box.
Shortly after, Matt O’Halloran fired wide just inside the area as the Walks
outfit began to shade a scrappy opening few minutes.
Some sharp interplay between Cedric Anselin and Dean West enabled veteran
full-back West to create an opening in the 17th minute before a last-ditch
Midway through the half Grantham’s Ian Robinson tested John Higgs’ catching
skills from 18 yards.
Three minutes later the deadlock was broken when an inch-perfect centre from
Smith found the head of Matt Nolan, whose effort was helped over the line by
Richard Weale on the far post.
Lynn came close to doubling their advantage minutes before the interval when
Nolan headed a West cross straight into the arms of keeper Mario Ziccardi.
Defender Smith was at the heart of Lynn’s best moves, but a bobbling pitch
combined with the blustery conditions made it difficult for both sides to play
Grantham were a different proposition at the start of the second period, and
Higgs had to be alert to deny Michael Sneddon shortly after the restart.
Some last-ditch defending kept the Gingerbreads at bay as Lynn sat deep and
invited pressure, Weale twice going close in the space of a few seconds.
Lynn’s McMahon talked himself into a booking in the 64th minute, but nearly
redeemed himself two minutes later when his testing free-kick was gratefully
clutched onto by Ziccardi.
Midway through the half Smith’s 20-yard volley crashed off the home woodwork.
The Linnets were left with their backs to the wall for the last quarter when
McMahon was shown his second yellow after looking to have won the ball fairly on
the far touchline.
Grantham piled forward in the latter stages, and Robinson’s shot was deflected
for a corner in the 79th minute.
Reports were coming in that Bath had lost at Chippenham, so bringing Lynn up to
Grantham: Ziccardi, Matthews, Weale, Sturgess, Julian, Brown, Smith,
Robinson, Sneddon, Turner, Popple (Glover 75). Subs not used: Burrows, Maddison,
Lynn: Higgs, West, Smith, McMahon, Hammond, Camm, J. Defty, Anselin (Hyde
87), Nolan (Charles 74), Carey, O’Halloran (C. Defty 70). Not used: Peters,
Booked: McMahon 64, 70; O’Halloran 70. Sent-off: McMahon 70. MoM: Adam
Smith. Goal: Nolan 25.
Referee: W. McIntosh.