King's Lynn 0 Matlock Town 2
31st January 1998
Richard Johnston, stretchered off in his come-back game for the Linnets on Saturday, is pessimistic about his chances of playing again for several weeks.
"I think I have done my ligaments," he said after this Northern Premier League game, when resting his injured knee.
"It wasn't a tackle or anything like that. I turned and my body went one way and my leg went the other. I was really enjoying the game then that had to happen." he said.
Linnets boss Keith Rudd could not commit himself to comment about Johnston's injury until there had been a fuller examination, but did say: "Richard has got a lot of pain around the knee cap and it could be a lengthy job to get him back to fit."
What a blow it was for the Linnets as Johnston had brought some steel into the Linnets defence in the 56 minutes he was on the field. Although not match fit his arial power and fierce tackling had repulsed many Matlock attacks - and there had been a lot such was the more positive play of the visitors.
Lynn had just gone a goal down when Johnston went off and the necessary rearrangements obviously did little to help the cause in getting an equaliser. It was the third time this season that Johnston has suffered injury to his left leg and it came in only his fifth first team game and his first in the NPL.
And it was not long after his departure that Matlock got their decisive second goal and Lynn finished a well beaten side. Admittedly the pitch did not help to make it a flowing game, but Matlock showed more commitment all round and Lynn can have few complaints.
Rudd said: "The first goal was always going to be important. We had a chance or so and so did they, then the referee made a mistake and Matlock end up getting the goal.
"The referee said later that he had made a mistake and that he should have blown up for offside just before they scored.
"Yet Matlock took their chances and we did not. They were tighter in defence and midfield than I had expected and really we did not have much at all in midfield against them."
In fact Lynn did not offer much throughout the 90 minutes. There were no midfield moves of any note, few good passes going forward to set up attacks and not enough players getting forward at the right times. Quite an indictment.
Lynn's best chances came midway through the first half when a long centre by Chico
Neale found Martyn Wiles at the far post. Wiles got the ball under control and his blistering shot was somehow turned aside by David Barker.
Before this, however, Matlock had hit the Lynn crossbar through John Whiteley and afterwards it took a one-handed save by Andy Claxton to turn over a shot from Alan Lukasik.
But Lukasik had better luck in the 54th minute when he moved forward for Whiteley's corner and, unmarked, shot in from 10 yards. It was the third goal in succession that Lynn had conceded from a corner, following the two at Goole the previous week.
Claxton made a flying save to keep out Neil Lovell's header but was beaten when Graham Hoyland's shot hit a divot and went under his dive. That was in the 72nd minute and sealed Lynn's fate even though Chris Watts had one drive which was deflected just wide.
|Lynn: Claxton, Neale, Johnston (sub Rider 56), Adams, Wilson, Wright, Watts, Moyses, Wiles, Rudd, Chapman.
Referee: R. Gaunt (Burton on Trent)
Lynn 19th P23 W4 D10 L9