MIDFIELDER Carl Holmes bagged a brace as the Linnets stormed to the top of
the Eastern Division in emphatic style.
The Linnets were far from their fluent best, but still had enough in the
tank to see off a poor Banbury outfit at The Walks.
News that title rivals Tonbridge and Histon both lost, while Salisbury
dropped two points at home to struggling Rothwell, soon filtered through on
the final whistle to cap a memorable few days at the club.
On a disappointing note, only 763 spectators, less than a quarter of Lynn's
FA Trophy gate three days earlier, turned up to see the Linnets stretch
their unbeaten league run to nine matches.
The game never promised to be a classic, with Lynn, keen to bounce back
after their Trophy exit, forced to make three changes due to suspensions and
Loan-signing Louis Evans showed some nice touches playing alongside Robbie
Harris, while David Chick, a new work experience signing from Norwich City
on Saturday morning, displayed some promise after coming off the bench for
the final 15 minutes.
Some trickery from Evans nearly forced an opening goal in the third minute
when his cross was met by Banbury defender Wayne Blossom, who forced keeper
Simon Tricker to turn the ball over his bar.
Lynn eventually grabbed the lead in the 16th minute when a delicate chip
from Evans found Holmes, who made no mistake with the sweetest of
Banbury threatened to equalise seconds later when Wilson, who was once again
far from composed between the posts, failed to deal with a free-kick and
Liam O'Neill headed wide.
Lynn doubled their advantage on the half-hour mark when Gary Setchell's
pinpoint cross was met by the head of the unmarked Jack Defty.
Linnets penalty claims were waved away by referee Mr Wade five minutes later
after Evans had been clearly clipped on route to goal.
Four minutes before the break, Lynn conceded another soft goal from a
set-piece when Ollie Stanbridges's nod-down was turned in by George Redknap
for his seventh strike in as many games.
On the stroke of half-time David Staff's in-swinging corner from the left
avoided everyone in the box and found a way into the Banbury net.
The game was pretty much a non-event for long periods of the second half,
but Lynn still added a fourth midway through the half when Holmes nodded
home a Staff corner.
Lynn introduced Chick, nephew of former Norwich United manager Paul, and
young midfielder James McManus for the final few minutes and neither of them
looked out of place.
Chick twice came close to adding a fifth, only to be foiled by Tricker both
times, while McManus belied his years with an assured few minutes after
Lynn: Wilson, Jones, Setchell, Burrows, Fuff, Woodrow, J. Defty (J. McManus
84), Holmes, Staff, Evans (Chick 72), Harris (Bacon 56). Subs not used: C.
Defty and Nobes. Goals: Holmes 17, 69, Defty 30, Staff 44.
Banbury: S. Tricker, W. Blossom (A. Stidder 80), A. Fuller, K. Sullivan, J.
Allen, L. Robinson (L. O'Neill 16), O. Stanbridge, D. Billington (C. Jackson
56), C. Potter, G. Redknap, J. Lee. Not used: K. Brock. Goal: Redknapp
Referee: Mr Wade (Boston).
MoM: Gary Setchell.