King's Lynn 2 Burgess Hill Town 1
20th March 2004
THE Linnets played their get out of jail card at a windswept Walks, as a hurricane final quarter of an hour saw them nick the points in front of the highest Dr Martens League gate of the day.
Dale Watkins finished his Walks loan spell with a vital ice-cool penalty and a free kick special from David Staff the best player going forward completed the comeback.
With Histon dropping two points on Saturday (Tonbridge now moving into second), Lynn stretched their lead in the table to three points.
Joint boss Darren Bloodworth before the match said the Linnets have looked edgy at home, and here they looked more nervous than a team on a ten-a-day extra-strength caffeine coffee habit.
"It's the first time we've got out of jail," said Bloodworth.
"The wind ruined it as a spectacle, but we could have played it on the floor more. We defended so well against the wind in the first 45 minutes, to throw it away in the first 30 seconds was appalling.
"We got away with a penalty that changed the game for us, but I'm pleased we showed a bit of character to go on and win it.
"We've not been given more blatant ones, and I didn't think it was a penalty, the guy didn't have time to get his hand out of the way.
"Performances at this time of the season don't matter too much, although I prefer to play well and win.
"I put Daniel Hammond on the left because the guy on the right hand side had scored 19 goals in the league. Changing it to 3-4-3 (with Mark Camm pushing up from right-back) worked.
"It's the first time we've played with width and looked the better for it."
The less said about the first half the better: Lynn defended manfully and the highlight was Staff racing down the right touchline and
pole-axing the assistant, who needed treatment to a delicate area.
But within 20 seconds of the restart Shaheen Sadough slipped the ball to top scorer Steve Harper, who chipped it over the previously unemployed Steve Wilson to take the lead.
Craig Fishlock went close with a 25-yard free-kick, but Lynn struggled and frequently overhit the ball with the wind at their backs.
A great Hammond tackle thwarted a rare Hillians attack, and Carl Holmes was well wide with a header and shot at the other end.
However, on 78 minutes Camm's centre hit Leo Day's hand, the referee pointed to the spot and Watkins calmly fired into the roof of the net.
Four minutes later Nicky Bridle gave away a free-kick, gaining a badly gashed head, which Staff swerved home via the inside of the post to provoke much joy and relief.
Sub Lee Stevenson was denied by a great save and Lynn comfortably hung on as the match petered out in a somewhat bad-tempered way.
: Wilson, Camm, Hammond, Burrows, Fuff, Butterworth (Stevenson 54), Defty, Holmes, Staff, Watkins, Fishlock (Woodrow 70). Subs not used: Jones, Bacon, Higgs.
Goals: Watkins 78, Staff 82.
: Gannon, Sullivan, Head (Kilpatrick 30), Bridle (Cotton 83), Andrews, Downey, Harper, Smith, Sadough (Dalloway 87), Hurley, Day.
Bookings: Bridle, Andrews, Day. Goal: Harper 46.
: G. Hambling (Norwich). Attendance