Witton 1 King's Lynn 0
31st August 2013
NOT even Lynn, untroubled and on course towards a point, could stop Shaun Tuck from grabbing a moment of glory, writes Andrew Simpson.
No stranger to seeing his name in a headline after serving a custodial sentence for sending malicious messages on the Internet, his late winner denied the Linnets a deserved draw.
That this was his first appearance since leaving prison less than a fortnight ago, though he wasted little time reminding Witton fans what they have been missing - on the pitch at least.
He sped into a space behind King's Lynn's backline when a lofted through-ball was sent there with three minutes left, the visitors for a split second switching off.
Goalkeeper Danny Gay appeared to have averted the danger when he blocked Tuck's initial shot, but the front man - Albion's top-scorer last season - made his the loose ball.
He did not hurry his next move, stepping past the Linnets' prone custodian before blasting it past a back-marker on the line.
Lynn, without a goal on their previous league trips to Cheshire to play Witton, were unable to improve that statistic in the seconds that remained.
Theirs were the best chances before the break in a first half that promised much.
They survived a scare when Josh Hancock's low drive brushed a post, responding immediately when Phil Gulliver steered a header off target from Jason Lee's scooped cross after Witton failed to clear a free-kick.
Dan Jacob, the Linnets' man of the moment after scoring seven times in the previous three games, had a clearer sight of goal shortly afterwards.
Faced only with Albion goalkeeper Matt Cooper, his attempt - hit with power - was deflected to safety by the net-minder's left leg.
In-keeping with the contest's open nature, Kyle Wilson headed too high at the other end after sneaking between two defenders at the near post to meet Anthony Gardner's cross.
But it was Jacob, making the same movement that earned him his earlier chance, who ought to have scored when one-on-one again with Cooper on 33 minutes.
Having to think more quickly with the glove-man closer to him, the attacker's shot was diverted by a boot for a second time.
Witton were happier to reach half time unscathed.
They were better after it, Danny Andrews' deflected shot forcing Gay to tip over within minutes of the restart.
But hosts Albion, while applying more pressure and able to keep the ball for longer in Linnets' half following the introduction of striker
Neville Thompson, did not call him into action again.
That is until Tuck arrived.
Substitute Steve Spriggs and Jordan Yong both forced Cooper to smother shots from distance, but Witton - play-offs semi finalists last term - were not to be denied.
(4-5-1): Cooper, Gardner, Harrison, Joseph, Moyo, Andrews, James, Platt (Thompson 60), Powell, Hancock, Wilson (Tuck 72). Subs not used: Grocott, Dawson, Sheehan. Goal: Tuck (87). Booked: James (foul), Powell (kicking the ball away).
(4-3-3): Gay, Clarke, Lee, Gulliver, Yong, Quigley, Bunting, Thomson (Mulready 78), Hall (Spriggs 58), Tolley (Mills 58), Jacob. Subs not used: Watson, Fryatt. Booked: Lee (foul).
: Michael Denton.