King's Lynn 0 Halesowen Town 0
20th September 1997
The Linnets hit deadlock as they came up against a Halesowen side playing a virtually identical wing-back formation.
Both sides boasted solid defences and lively forwards - but they lacked any punch and the front men were often left marooned.
It was left to a change of formation in the second half for the Linnets to break clear of the monotony but an outstanding display by keeper Daniel McDonnell ensured the score sheet remained blank.
The first half was yawn-inducing apart from a brief flurry of activity in the opening minutes.
Steve Lewis reacted quickly to keep out Matthew Wright's sliced clearance in the second minute and then was relieved to see Halesowen's Steven Piearce block team-mate John Snape's goal-bound effort a minute later.
Wright came close to redeeming himself with a towering header from Richard Skelly's corner but McDonnell pulled off a fine save at the foot of the post.
Manager Peter Morris switched things around at half-time with Glyn Roberts replacing Steve Williams and Brett McNamara pushed further forward.
The Linnets looked livelier with Roberts' tigerish tackling and defence-splitting passes adding a new dimension.
Twice he released McNamara but the visitors' defence moved quickly to counter the danger.
Tony Spearing hacked clear from the danger area after Lewis parried a full-blooded effort from John Snapes before the Halesowen captain deceived Lewis with a deep cross that Martin Matthews headed away from under the bar.
Lee Hudson almost made the most of defensive uncertainty when he nipped in to beat McDonnell to a back-pass but the ball ran away from him before he could turn it home.
Morris made another change in the closing stages with Craig Hopkins replacing Wright and it was the substitute who looked like prising apart the solid Halesowen rear-guard.
After 87 minutes he ran half the length of the pitch before picking out Hudson with a glorious cross-field ball. Unfortunately for Lynn, McDonnell raced out of his goal to smother Hudson's effort.
A minute later Hopkins' spectacular overhead kick found McNamara and home fans were already celebrating as he sent a header past McDonnell.
But incredibly the keeper managed to twist backwards and push the ball in the air before catching the rebound while lying on the ground.
And McDonnell had the last word, saving from McNamara in injury time.
: Lewis, Matthews, Skelly, Wright (Hopkins 76), Hoyle, Spearing, Pascoe, Mead,
Williams (Roberts 45), McNamara, Hudson. Sub not used - Stock
: McDonnell, Clarke (Owen 76), Gardiner, Wood, Snape, Crisp, Harrison, Bradley, Piearce (Tough 85), Cooper, Sharpe.
Sub not used: Yates.
|Shots on |
|Shots off |
||Pascoe (dissent, 69)
|| Cooper (foul, 24)
Snape (u.g conduct, 79)