THE Linnets suffered their first home league defeat since October with a lacklustre performance against a Salisbury outfit who became the latest side, along with Eastleigh, to throw their names into the title equation.
Ironically, all of Lynn's title rivals lost, while Salisbury, still with all of the top three left to play at home, and Eastleigh closed the gap on the leading pack.
Joint boss Kevin Boon offered no excuses for his side's poor showing, saying: "Looking back through the whole season there aren't many games when you could question the effort and commitment of the players, but today was one of them.
"If we don't perform better than that in our remaining games then we can forget about winning the league.
"Some of the players looked tired, the work rate was missing and the simple fact of the matter was that our midfield simply wasn't good enough."
Boon's brutal remarks were matched by Keith Rudd, who assisted on the bench with other joint boss Darren Bloodworth away in Italy with the academy.
Rudd said: "Sometimes the imagination and passion just isn't there. They scored, sat in and we started to get anxious. The lads seemed to be waiting for something to happen and we ended up going down blind alleys.
"Players don't intentionally go out there not wanting to try and our midfield will need to show much more in the matches ahead than they did today."
Saturday marked the first time in nearly two years that Lynn had failed to score at home in a league game, but in the opening minutes it looked more a question of how many Lynn would go on to score.
They dominated the early exchanges, Carl Holmes going close after some trickery from David Staff, while Watkins glanced a Staff centre wide.
Staff blazed over in the 12th minute and soon after a delightful four-man move saw Lee Stevenson drill an effort wide.
Salisbury immediately broke upfield to take the lead with their first attack when Wayne Turk scored with an exquisite lob over Steve Wilson from all of 20 yards.
Lynn were stunned, but still continued to threaten the Salisbury target. Holmes volleyed wide, Gary Setchell saw his dangerous cross gloved away by Kevin Sawyer and Dale Watkins skied over from six yards when it would have been easier to hit the target.
Frustration grew among the terraces and it soon reached the players on the pitch as Lynn began to fade away as a unit, passes going astray and several players failing to give their all to the cause.
The second period was very much a non-event and Salisbury took advantage of Lynn's inability to break them down in the 72nd minute when Matt Tubbs stabbed home a John Purchase cross from the left.
Lynn: Wilson, Camm, Setchell (C Defty 51), Hammond, Fuff, Stevenson, Fishlock (J Defty 66), Holmes, Harris, Watkins, Staff. Subs not used: Woodrow, Nobes
Salisbury: Sawyer, Bartlett, Holmes, Cook, Thomas, Davis, Turk, Davies, Philips (Wallace 69), Tubbs (Strong 86), Purchase. Subs not used: Bond, harris, Pearce
Att: 936. Referee: D. Bryan (Stamford)