KING'S Lynn Town striker Jack Defty bagged a hat-trick as the Linnets climbed up to second spot in the table with an emphatic win at Irchester.
Defty took his season's tally to 20 goals with his treble, but it was Town's all-round performance which caught the eye as they delivered their best performance of the campaign so far.
The Walks outfit dominated matters from start-to-finish and only some fine goalkeeping from Irchester goalkeeper Tom Cross and the woodwork denied the Linnets an even bigger win.
Joint boss Gary Setchell was delighted with the response of his players after Town's management team reverted from a 4-4-2 formation to a 4-3-3 with hat-trick hero Defty playing on his own down the middle and Jamie Thurlbourne and Steve Spriggs supporting the big frontman from out wide.
Setchell said: "We knew something wasn't right with our midfield and defence being compact enough so we challenged the players by deciding to play a 4-3-3 formation and packing the midfield.
"With Pax (Bexfield) moving into the midfield with Luke (Thurlbourne) and Danny (White) we had unbelievable legs in the middle of the park and still had a lot of quality going forward.
"If we play like that every week, it doesn't matter what other teams do, we will be hard to beat every week.
"We've been doing a lot of work in training on getting the ball back. We did that well from the first minute today and Irchester couldn't cope with it.
"Today was a potential banana skin but it was our most complete performance of the season right throughout the team."
Defty opened the scoring after nine minutes when he powered home a header from Jamie Thurlbourne’s centre.
Two minutes later Defty produced almost a carbon-copy header, this time from the delivery of Spriggs.
The Irchester goal lived a charmed life at times and shortly before the break Jamie Thurlbourne’s delightful free-kick crashed against the post with cross well beaten.
Lynn’s third goal arrived in the 51st minute when Pat Bexfield teed up Defty to complete his treble before Danny White’s long-range effort cannoned back off the Irchester crossbar.
Irchester were reduced to ten men midway through the second period when Alan Campbell was shown a straight red card for foul and abusive language towards the referee.
The Linnets remained in control and 18 minutes from time substitute Kieran Doherty played in Defty who, after a call from Spriggs, back-heeled the ball to Spriggs to drill the ball home.
Hard-working midfielder Luke Thurlbourne saved the best goal of the until last when he smashed home a 30-yard howitzer past Cross, who pulled off a string of fine saves during the 90 minutes.
Irchester failed to seriously test a solid Lynn defence, which was bolstered by the return of Brady Stone.
Referee M. Connolly did his best to disrupt the flow of a stunning Linnets display by awarding more than 40 free-kicks in a game where there wasn’t one malicious challenge.
|Lynn: Street, Buhlemann, Alsop, L.Thurlbourne, McNeil, Stone, Spriggs, White (Doherty 65), Defty (Harris 73), Bexfield, J.Thurlbourne (Cubberley 63). Subs not used: Hails, Smith.