King's Lynn 3 Chippenham Town 1
21st February 2006
A Superb Linnets display blew the Southern League Premier Division title race wide open on Tuesday.
The win leaves The Walks outfit (in third place) one point behind Chippenham and two behind leaders Salisbury, who slipped up 3-1 at home to Banbury to cap a great night for Tommy Taylor's men.
A magnificent first half was Lynn's best performance so far this season in this third versus second clash.
They scored twice and could easily have had double that, hitting the woodwork three times.
Lynn tore into the Wiltshire side from the first whistle and got an early goal in the eighth minute to settle themselves down.
Grant Cooper got his first goal for the club with a free header from a Cedric Anselin corner. Cooper soon rattled the bar, but was ruled offside.
Soon after, Jack Defty won the ball and fed Matt O'Halloran, who delivered the perfect ball for Matt Nolan to head home – or so we thought.
Instead keeper Steve Perrin pulled off the save of the season, a reflex right paw somehow turning it around for a corner.
Nolan fired over when rounding the keeper, but made amends on 26 minutes when setting up Jack Defty to fire a thunderbolt into the net from 22 yards – his first goal of the year.
The closest the Bluebirds came was after the half-hour mark when Mark Badman's long-range effort did not dip enough, while Defty hit the base of the post and Sam McMahon hit the bar.
A relieved Chippenham, who last week had a cheeky bid turned down to land ex-Arsenal and England player Paul Merson after he left Walsall, re-grouped and put Lynn under pressure in the second half.
Cooper cleared off the line as away sub Matt Rawlins caused problems, and as Lynn forgot to pass.
Ian Herring and Sam Allison blazed efforts wide and over respectively.
Gary Thorne pulled a soft goal back from close range after a deep free kick 15 minutes from the end.
Aaron Benstead, with little to do in the first hour, saved well at the second attempt from a Rawlins volley – surely Lynn weren't going to throw it away?
But Defty finished the match in style after 78 minutes, beating the offside trap from a delightful Shaun Carey through ball, waltzing past keeper and a defender before passing the ball into the net for his second goal.
The game turned to farce as Nolan was clearly impeded, but no action was taken, while Lee Charles – making his home debut – had a header tipped over.
Stephen Harvey started the game as Adam Smith had tonsillitis and an achilles strain.
: Benstead, West, Harvey, McMahon, Cooper, Camm, Defty, Anselin, Nolan (Charles 87), Carey, O'Halloran. Subs not used: Heath-Preston, Hammond, Peters, Fell.
: Perrin, Adams (Charity 83), A. Stanley, Thorne, McEntegart, Badman, Allison (N. Stanley 87), Herring, Gilroy, Kirk (Rawlins 53), Wheeler. Subs: Harvey, Jeffries. Booked: Herring.
Referee: Mr P. McCaul (Hunts). Att: 810.