Mick Wright, shouting, urging and making sure the game was played as he wanted it to be played, ensured on Saturday that Lynnís F A Cup exit was not to be followed by a slump in their Southern League Division 1 (N) challenge.
After making the long trip to the West Country just four days earlier, Lynn were entitled to look tired at Cheltenham. Not a bit of it.
They became the first team to win at Whaddon Road this season, and only the third team from their division to overcome a Cheltenham side which was beginning to believe it was good enough to get back into the Premier Division this time.
They knew otherwise after Lynn had shown them the way to play on a sticky pitch. Where Cheltenham fussed and flicked the ball about, Lynn were careful and direct, and the difference in approach showed.
The first half gave little glimpse of the ease with which the Linnets were to win. Cheltenham spent most of the time moving towards Lynnís 18 yard box, but they had neither the height nor the invention to stretch Lynnís defence.
For all their threat, the closest they went was when England amateur international Julian Lailey stabbed a strong left footed drive against a post.
At that stage Lynn had to rely on breakaways and from the first of note, Malcolm Lindsay gave notice of intent with a powerful drive which flew past the far post.
Then, four minutes before half time, Graham Ricketts moved up to dispossess winger Richard Wilkes well inside the Cheltenham half. He broke clear and chose his moment to slip pass inside towards the right hand edge of the Cheltenham penalty area.
It was met full flow by Keith Rudd who beat three men to it. His first time drive stayed low and was too quick for goalkeeper Malcolm Jefferies.
After half time, however, Lynn were the masters. They controlled it from the back and relegated Cheltenhamís attack to an impotent and depressed bunch of individuals.
The killer blow, when it came, was in two parts. Mick Wright fired in the second in the 75th minute and Dave Clarke sped away for the third two minutes later.
Wrightís vital score was the end product of a free kick by Clarke just outside the box. Alan Jeffries headed it away, and Wright smashed it straight back in.
Clarkeís goal was the result of a through pass - a move which had caught out Cheltenham several times before - and he reached it before full back Andy Bish to place the ball firmly into the corner of the net.
By the time Dave Lewis turned in his 13th goal of the season for Cheltenham, two minutes of injury time had gone by and even then they scored only because Wilkes had cut out a pass back from well away from goal.
Lynnís record at Cheltenham is as good as any clubís over the last seven or eight years. Malcolm Lindsay who scored four goals there five years ago could afford to miss out this time.
|Cheltenham: M Jefferies: Thorndale, Bish; Moughton, A Jeffries, Lalley; Corr, Cooper, Casey, Lewis, Wilkes. Sub, (for Casey) Bailey.
Lynn: Steele; Ricketts, Kerr; Painter, Robinson, Wright; Clarke, Stewart, Lindsay, Rudd, Bloxham. Sub. McCullum.
Referee:L Mr B Jones (Shrewsbury).