This was it, the cruellest blow that could happen to Lynn Football Club this year - knocked out of the F A Cup for the fourth successive time by Eastern Counties Club, March. The score was 4-1. No excuses, Lynn. You should easily have won even though for nearly all the game Patterson was a virtual passenger and for most of the second half Dryburgh was off the field. It was a poor display. The only man in the Lynn team who looked like a footballer was Dryburgh. Seldom have the defence played so badly, and the forwards . . .
Words could not express what some of the 1,250 Lynn supporters who travelled to see this debacle thought as they rode home. The blame could not be laid at the feet of anyone in particular. Why Lynn did not win still remains a mystery to me. Young Valentine, who according to March supporters, played a shocking game the previous Saturday, reached new heights. He did all the saving, March did all the scoring.
Lynn provided nearly all the good football, and their midfield play was very pretty. A hefty, husky March defence were not put off by this, though. They went straight in to the tackle and never dilly-dallied with the ball. A big wallop, and the ball was among the March forwards who at least knew in which direction was the goal-mouth.
It was yet another new Lynn forward line-up Grant returned to half-hack in place of Bunn and the forward-line read Patterson, Vickers, Ryan, Ryder, Dryburgh. According to reports, Downie had tonsillitis, Todd had leg trouble, Edwards was rested. Much interest was centred on Vickers, the surprise inclusion. He certainly did not tear up any trees but was quite effective Three times he put through extremely good balls, all of which should have produced goals, and three times he shot hard, and accurately but somebody's foot was in the way.
Patterson, of course was never in the game after his collision. Ryder tried to play the correct inside-forward game, but never looked like the Ryder of two years ago. Ryan was the biggest forward-line failure and did practically nothing of consequence.
The defence looked shaky from the start. Despite two pointless handlings of the ball in the first half, Neal was as good as any, while Eddie Grant played himself to a standstill with mixed success. Henderson started off badly but Improved
as the game progressed.
Robinson, Bannister, Crookes? Not very successful.
March kicked off into a strong breeze but Robinson gained possession, winged to Patterson, whose centre was driven goalwards by Grant The shot was blocked.
Henderson tackled from the rear and, for a not-very-serious offence, a free kick was awarded just inside the Lynn half. The kick was headed out into the middle by Henderson but Davey fastened on and passed to BEACH, who scored for March in the second minute.
"They'll never win now." growled a Lynn follower behind the Press box. How right he was.
Bannister came a long way into the March half, tried to centre, but screwed the ball out of play. A grand Grant free-kick was fired goalwards but Valentine just managed to cover it, and shook his hands when he had cleared.
Then Ryder gathered the ball from Neal and his shot was turned round. Good work by Ryder and Dryburgh resulted in Patterson heading over a flying dive.
That was unfortunate for the next minute Patterson lay groaning in the goalmouth. After about three minutes he resumed play, but obviously was in pain. His right hand never strayed from his damaged ribs and whenever he received the ball the best he could do was gently pass to another player. Apparently his flying dive resulted in him smashing into the goal-post. A free kick awarded against Robinson resulted in Crookes fisting the ball over. Then March failed to take advantage of two corners.
Ryder ran on to a pass and lobbed the ball over the advancing 'keeper's head inches wide of the post. The same player sent a good ball over from the wing which beat Valentine. Despite slipping, he managed to get to it in time.
There was then a period of quiet.
Suddenly a Vickers-Ryan movement took the March defence by surprise. It looked promising, but Ryder's return pass to Ryan went astray.
Lynn now looked more settled and spectators began to see some good football tactics from them. They were good to watch, but nothing ever came from them and there seemed a lack of organised attack. Occasionally a couple of forwards inter-passed but always, when they came within shooting range, something went wrong.
All this time March still looked dangerous. A good kick upfield and their forwards were away, with the Lynn defence chasing after them. They forced a corner which offered a scoring chance, but Robinson-tackled well.
A pass from Dryburgh found Ryan well placed. He shot across the goalmouth and Ryder, running in, looked sure to score. His shot was wide.
Then Vickers tried a low one for a change but Valentine managed to get down to it. The next minute, Vickers got in another gold shot, but Valentine turned it round the post.
Ryder was playing a different game to usual and was a constant worry to March defenders.
Lynn were having 80 per cent of the play and all the shots were at the March end. At half-time the crowd still gave Lynn a good chance, and March were far from sure of victory.
On the re-start Vickers started a good movement but Dryburgh's centre was cleared and then the inside forward's shot was stopped by Valentine's boot.
Scenes of joy.
Never, this season, have the Lynn players looked so pleased and relieved as in the fifth minute of the second half when DRYBURGH notched the equaliser. They jumped up and down, waved their hands and patted one another on the back. And how the Lynn fans cheered.
The goal had come when Bannister put one through and Tommy ran on to it, dribbled by two men and fired hard into the net from just outside the penalty area - a good goal.
Now Lynn looked ready for the kill. It seemed as though it would be a matter of how many they would win by, but the dogged, rugged Hares had other ideas. First-time tacking, first time kicking, first-time clearing kept the ball away from their penalty box Vickers went close again with a shot which skimmed by the base of the upright.
March forced a corner, but Beach, who looked rather clumsy but was effective, headed over. Then another Beach shot was punched out by Crookes.
Reagan, the best footballer by any standards in the March team, took a free kick on the halfway line. Aided by the wind it almost fell on MATTHEWS’ head. He was standing on the edge on the penalty area and just touched the ball sufficiently to divert it by Crookes. That was just about halfway through the second half.
Dryburgh, in a tackle with Tinkler, an amateur, fell heavily, but nobody paid much attention, as Tinkler pushed the ball away down-field and forced a corner.
Just as it was going to be taken, the referee noticed Tommy lying on the ground, on his own at the other end.
The stretcher men came on and carried him off the field with his ankle broken. Lynn were now without any wings at all.
When the corner was taken BEACH calmly nodded the ball downwards and it bounced into the back of the Lynn net. That was the fatal blow to the Linnets.
They threw everything into attack. This way they might easily score a couple or else let March score again, So what? they might as well lose 4-1 as 3-1.
Neal took a Lynn corner on the left and then Henderson one on the right. Usually only two Lynn defenders were to be seen. The rest joined in the attack.
Ryder put the ball on Ryan's toes but he blinded it over the bar.
Strangely enough Lynn were more dangerous now than they were when they had a full team and March were trying anything to keep the ball out of their goalmouth area. The game, which had not been too clean from the start, became even rougher and players were knocked down like ninepins on both sides. Usually it was Lynn who came off worst.
Grant and Vickers both had a go and then Ryder took a free kick. It found Ryan who headed weakly into touch. During time allowed for injuries MATTHEWS tagged on to a Campbell cross and headed another goal, bouncing it by Crookes.