Fleet Town 0 King's Lynn 1
20th December 2003
THE long journey south paid dividends for Lynn on Saturday, as they just got the better of lowly Fleet Town, to keep their title challenge on course.
Even without leading scorer Carl Holmes, the Linnets cashed in after David Staff put them ahead in the 30th minute with a brilliant strike from 25 yards out against a side that's now lost its last seven league games.
With leaders Tonbridge rained off and Histon only managing a point at home to Bashley, stand-in boss Darren Bloodworth was pleased to have closed the gap at the top.
"Results are what matter and we needed three points today. Credit must go to the defence for another clean sheet away from home. That's made the difference," Bloodworth said after the match.
"I was also pleased with how much we dominated and the many chances we created, despite the wet and slippery conditions. But I'm very happy to go home with the result we wanted."
Changes were forced on Bloodworth. New signing Gary Setchell was sidelined with a two-match suspension, and with Holmes unavailable, there were starting places for Paul Raynor and Richard Woodrow, leaving Staff to partner Robbie Harris up front.
Both sides started well and the Linnets' defence was soon tested when Fleet wingman and leading scorer, Shaun Hale couldn't quite control the ball when through. on goal, and Adam Jones was able to clear the danger.
Lynn responded strongly and despite the wet conditions were soon able to put the Fleet goal under pressure. The first chance fell to Staff after only six minutes, having been put through by Robbie Harris, but he shot wide.
Disaster struck for Lynn after only nine minutes when Harris went down after what appeared an innocuous challenge, and had to hobble off, to be replaced by Chris Bacon.
On 23 minutes another fine shot by Staff needed an acrobatic save from Fleet keeper Calvin Sparshatt to keep the scores level.
Under considerable pressure, the Fleet defence eventually buckled seven minutes later, when Staff
was given the time to turn and unleashed a powerful right-footed shot from 25 yards, which rocketed into the far corner. It was just reward for the striker, whose probing runs had created huge problems for Fleet.
A booking for Paul Raynor six minutes later didn't seem to slow the Lynn attacks and they continued to dominate for the rest of the first half. Bacon went close with a header just before the break, after another great run from Staff.
The home side started brightly after the break and straight away had their best chance to equalise when striker Eddie Smith rounded Lynn keeper, Steve Wilson, only to see his narrow angle shot cleared from the line by defender Jamie March.
Fleet threatened several more times over the next 20 minutes, with new striker, Craig Leworthy going close with a long-range effort, after spotting Wilson well out of his goal.
But it was Lynn who looked more likely to score, as they finished the game strongly.
Wingman Woodrow just missed with a shot from 15 yards out. Staff hit the post late on and missed the target again a few minutes later. Sub striker Stuart Cobb also went close on several occasions.
: Sparshatt, Buckland (Black 85), Clark, Hare, Jeffery, Saunders, Wood (Whitcher 69), Anstey, Smith, Leworthy, Hale. Subs not used: Proctor, Millerick, Blakely.
: Wilson, Jones, March, Burrows, Fuff, Defty, Camm, Raynor, Harris (Bacon 9, Cobb 67), Staff, Woodrow. Not used: C. Defty, Nobes.
: Alden Jackson (Tooting). Bookings
, Lynn: Raynor 36. Fleet: none. MoM
: David Staff.