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Stafford Rangers 3 King's Lynn 2
30th March 2002
LINNETS coach Peter Morris could not win his first game back in charge of team affairs.
Morris, manager from 1995 to 1998, returned to the club on Thursday.
Saturday's defeat was new look Lynn's fifth league game without a victory and dropped them into the relegation zone for the first time in the campaign.
Three former Linnets players returned after signing in the previous couple of days, and two of them scored, but they could not prevent a defeat.
This was a game that both sides needed to win and unfortunately it was Stafford who claimed all three points.
The home side scored twice through Robert Heath in the first half either side of a goal by Linnets' new recruit Paul Raynor and Stafford's leading scorer Paul Kiely added a third early in the second half.
Andrew Stanhope gave Lynn a lifeline, but they could not find an equaliser.
Morris said: "We had enough of the play to come away with a point. The lads have shown a lot of character and discipline, but didn't come away with what they deserved."
Lynn were slightly the better side during the opening spell but the front two of Lee Hudson and Brett McNamara - new recruit number three made little progress against an experienced Stafford defence.
Paul Raynor directed play from the centre of midfield and Jamie March on the left caused problems going forward.
But the home side went ahead on 19 minutes with their first attempt on goal. Shaun Wray threaded a quick free-kick though the static Lynn defence for Heath to lift the ball over Steve Wilson from the edge of the area.
Four minutes before the break Scott Dundas should have scored the second, but took the ball too far with only Wilson to beat and shot across goal from a narrow angle.
This miss was punished a minute later when the Stafford defence couldn't clear
a Linnets attack and Raynor fired past Ryan Price from 15 yards. The scores were level for just a minute as Heath
hammered home his second of the game from the edge of the area.
Lynn made a bright start to the second half and both Hudson and Stanhope went close. The latter forced home keeper Price into a full-length fingertip save to keep out a 15 yard drive.
But Stafford increased their advantage on 53 minutes when Kiely gave Wilson no chance with a spectacular first-time volley.
The two-goal cushion lasted just four minutes as the Linnets profited from a lucky break. A shot from Hudson inside a crowded area took a deflection off Simkin and beat Price, allowing Stanhope to head into an empty net from almost on the line.
There was a tense last, half-hour as the visitors pressed hard for an equaliser.
Ryder headed a Stanhope shot off the line and McNamara fired over the bar when unmarked in a good position ten yards out. But Stafford held on and claimed three vital points to deepen Lynn's relegation worries.
Rangers: R. Price, L. Everritt, D. Shaw, S. Ryder, C. Brindley, D. Simkin, S. Wray (D. Wiles 82), R. Heath, C. Lovatt, P. Kiely, S. Dundas (T. Eccleston 70). Sub not used: P. Howard. Booking: Wray (45)
Lynn Wilson, Dakin (Anderson 81), March, Minett, Fuff, Welsh, Stanhope, Raynor, Hudson (Watts 65), McNamara, Hayes. Sub not used: Martin McNeil. Booking: Raynor (69)
Referee: Mr S. Ainge (Cheslyn Hay). Att: 599. Lynn News MoM: Simon Dakin
Report by permission of the Lynn News