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King's Lynn 1 Halesowen Town 1
23rd February 2008
It was advantage Team Bath at 4.45pm on Saturday night after this big promotion clash finished all-square in front of Lynn's biggest crowd of the season.
This was probably the result neither side – and the majority of the 1,442 crowd – wanted as the BGB Southern League title race continues to heat up.
Linnets' boss Keith Webb said: "To me, it feels like a defeat and I think we've been hard done by. The frustrating thing is we've conceded another late goal.
"It's a cruel deflection because Scotty had it covered. When you don't get that second goal to kill teams off you're always vulnerable and that's what happened.
"We took the game to Halesowen in the second half and got the goal.
"I thought we deserved to win the match. You saw the reaction of the supporters at the end how much they appreciated what the lads had done."
Morell Maison, Webb's opposite number, emerged the happier of the two managers.
Maison said: "I think both sides showed each other a little too much respect and we didn't play as well as I know we can.
"It was certainly a game of two halves. We had some good chances in the first half, but Lynn were the better side after the break. I always thought we'd score a goal, even after Lynn had taken the lead."
On the title race, Maison said: "There's still a long way to go and it's too close to call.
"You could put a fag paper between the top four sides in the table."
Lynn handed debuts to loan signings Gavin Hoyte and Rikki Bains and the pair combined superbly to snuff out the threat of a Halesowen side which looked full of goals in the first half.
Dean Brennan missed a golden chance to put the Yeltz ahead in the opening minutes after Scott Howie parried away Darren Caskey's shot before recovering to make a fine save after the ball fell for Brennan to tap home the rebound from a a few yards out. In the 17th minute, Danny Bloomfield's shot was tipped over the bar by Halesowen shotstopper Mark Osborn before Hoyte stabbed the resulting corner wide of the target.
Sixteen minutes before the interval Stuart Pierpoint's goal-bound shot was then cleared off the line by Mark Camm, who had another magnificent game for Lynn.
At the other end, Francis' shot flashed across the face of the Halesowen goal in the 34th minute and shortly before the break Osborn foiled Bloomfield again by turning his effort around his left post for a corner.
Lynn came out all guns blazing in the second period, with Decio Gomes making a vital interception to deny Jack Defty early in the half.
Ten minutes in, a Francis free-kick was headed back at the far post by Defty for Bains to nod home as Lynn registered their first goal against The Yeltz in four meetings.
It almost became 2-0 three minutes later when Defty's shot struck the inside of the post and Francis somehow guided the loose ball wide of the target.
Lynn began to sit back and became increasingly nervous as Brennan twice went close to grabbing an equaliser.
Halesowen's efforts were eventually rewarded in the 86th minute from a Davion Hamilton corner.
Substitute Patrick Peters saw his header cleared off the line, but the ball fell kindly to Caskey, who rifled a 20-yard drive towards Howie's goal before the ball deflected off Jay Denny's chest and into the empty net.
Halesowen have now only lost on two of their last 12 visits to West Norfolk.
Lynn: Howie, West, Chapman, Bains, Hoyte, Frew (Turner 80), Camm, Sedgemore, J. Defty, Bloomfield (Nolan 72), Francis. Subs (not used): Murray, C. Defty, Fisk. Booking: Chapman.
Halesowen: Osborn, Gomes, Perpetuini, Pearce, Pierpoint, Denny, Paul (Hamilton 56), Caskey, Brennan, Maquemba (Peter 76), Anya. Subs (not used): Unjaque, Lycett, Abbassi. Bookings: Caskey, Perpetuini, Maquemba, Hamilton.
Referee: C. Miller. Attendance: 1,442. MoM: Mark Camm
Stats, Lynn first: shots on target 4, 5; off target 5, 4; corners 6, 7; offside 3, 4; free-kicks 11, 19.
Report by permission of the Lynn News