THEY'D had plenty to shout about in the first half Shepshed supporters that is - taken a pasting in the second, and in the 89th minute there wasn't a man among them not praying for the referee to blow for full lime. And blow that whistle he certainly should have done - right there and then, not to finish the match but to penalise :t blatant foul by awarding Lynn a penalty kick.
Big Andy Bircumshaw, scorer of Lynn's only goal and second half thorn in Shepshed's side, was sent sprawling on the postage stamp sited pitch by ex-Notts Forest man Sammy Chapman, Even the home supporters looked a bit sheepish when the ref ignored all appeals, sprinted off up the pitch and shortly afterwards put the Linnets out of their misery and the Midlanders through to the first round proper of the FA Cup for the first time in their history.
But for two tragic mistakes early in the game, it could well have been Lynn's name in the hat yesterday lunchtime for a potentially money-spinning giant-killing draw. Playing down the slope, Shepshed set off at a fierce pace and the Linnets were trapped in their own half for almost the first five minutes of the game.
When they eventually broke free, McJannet. Bircumshaw and Keeley launched a useful looking attack down the right that ended with a hall' chance in the air for Thomson. .Then came disaster in the ninth minute. An appalling cross-field ball from Elliott fell straight into the path of Dennis Jenas.
He raced towards the barely protected Lynn goal with the s cad of a greyhound, rode a Chris Watts tackle and coolly Totted home to give Shepshed a dream start to the proceedings.
Lynn replied by creating a few more half chances, but too often their crosses were wildly inaccurate and they wanted too much lime on the ball. Bircumshaw put an acutely angled lob just over the cross par and Easthall had the bah taken off his roc when ht: looked certain to blast home from ten yards for the equaliser.
Lynn had a lucky escape after 34 minutes when slack marking left Lissaman in the clear at the far post, but he wasted the chance. Six minutes later they, weren't so lucky. Former! Derby striker Kevin Hector was given acres of room and plenty of time on the edge of the Linnets' penalty area to slide it pass through to Jenas to score his second of the match from close range.
And so ended a pretty disastrous first-half for the linnets, in which only Richard Johnston and Les McJannet stood out. Johnston in particular had a splendid match, winning 99 per cent of everything in the air and frustrating a number of dangerous attacks by the home side and launching counter attacks for the visitors.
The Linnets looked an entirely different proposition after the break and swarmed all over Shepshed. Brian Thomson rifled a shot just wide of the post following a Bircumshaw knockdown from a Wiles cross. Then came the 63rd minute Foal that put fresh hope into the hearts of the many travelling Lynn supporters.
A Keeley pass found the busy Eastlhall. who pushed the ball through to Bircurnshaw on the edge of the Shepshed area. lie stumbled past some desperate tackles before-sending a powerful low shot past the keeper. There followed an intense spell of Lynn pressure, with Wiles and McJannet supporting the attack well.
Shepshed looked nothing like the composed and well organised team of the first half and there were definite signs of panic among even their most .experienced players. An Easthall cross seemed to be handled by Chapman, but
the penalty appeals were turned down by Gainsborough referee Mr T. Johnson. Burrows then came on for Keeley.
And it was Easthall who came close again to getting the equaliser when his glancing header from a Wiles cross just flashed past the wrong side of the upright. Brian Thomson then has a fine shot well saved and there were numerous other chances that fell Lynn's way, but they were either fired wide or blocked by the sheer weight of numbers in the Shepshed area.
It looked all over for the Linnets until Chapman's foul on Bircumshaw in the last minute, but the referee turned a blind eye on the incident, and then it was.
Lynn: Drewery, McJannet, Wiles, Watts, Thompson . Johnston, Easthall, Keeley, Bircumshaw, Elliott, Thomson. Sub: Burrows.
Shepshed: King. Block, Mitchell, Chapman, Kendrick, Matthams, Lissaman. Hector, Jenas, Gourd, Kirk. Sub: Williams.