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King's Lynn 2 Stafford Rangers 0
29th December 2001
THE Linnets received a half-time ticking off from Tommy Wright before opening their disrupted festive programme with three points on Saturday.
Lynn's player-coach was furious with his side's first-half performance, but two goals after the break ensured that Lynn ended the year on a winning note.
Wright said: "There were a few choice words said at the break. I can accept players making mistakes, but there was a lack of passion in the first half and I thought we were lucky to go into the interval at 0-0.
"The players shocked me. Usually once they cross that white line one thing they will give you is passion and play for the club, but in the first 45 minutes we were lazy and didn't look bothered."
He added: "In the end I was pleased to get the points in what were very difficult conditions. It was very important that we got the win, especially after having a couple of matches called off."
The match seemed destined for a goalless draw after Stafford failed to make one of their early chances count.
But the complexion of the match was changed when Danny Bloomfield, who had a relatively quiet game, won a 78th minute penalty, which Adie Hayes tucked away.
Wright said: "Danny did have a quiet game today, but he should have scored with a header in the first half, set up the penalty and then scored our second."
"Danny is very similar to Tony Cottee. He was the best at being quiet but would always score you goals."
Bloomfield sealed the points with his sixth goal in eight games in the dying seconds when he slotted home Lee Hudson's wayward centre from the most acute of angles.
Earlier, Stafford had missed a series of gilt-edged chances to take the lead.
In the first minute, a poor clearance from Steve Wilson cannoned off Joe O'Connor into the path of Anthony Eccleston, who sliced wide with the goal at his mercy.
Two minutes later a fluent move saw Wilson save well from Scott Dundas and in the 18th minute Wilson pulled off another smart stop to deny the impressive Daryl Wilkes.
Lynn's best efforts came towards the end of the first period when Bloomfield saw his header acrobatically tipped over the bar by Stafford keeper Ryan Price from four yards, and Kevin White blazed over the woodwork a minute before the interval.
Four minutes after the restart, Stafford's Dundas agonisingly shot wide of the target after a defence-splitting pass from Paul Harris.
Lynn replaced the ineffective Louis Evans with Zeke Rowe in the 57th minute and the forward's introduction sparked the home side into a new lease of life.
In the 73rd minute Simon Dakin saw his volley scrape the Stafford bar following a delicious cross from Hayes, before Lynn secured their fourth home league win of the season with the late goals.
Lynn: Wilson, Dakin, March, Minett, Fuff, White, Anderson, Hayes, Bloomfield, Clements (Hudson), Evans (Rowe). Subs (not used): Suiter.
Stafford: Price, Everitt, Wilkes (Francis), Rider, Brindley, Simkin, Harris (Boughey), Lovatt, O'Connor, Eccleston (Keily), Dundas.
Att: 749
MoM: Simon Dakin