AFTER going ten league games unbeaten, Linnets came back to earth with a bump with their biggest defeat for more than two-and-a-half years.
King’s Lynn last lost by four goals with a 4-0 reverse at Nuneaton in September 1998.
Keeper Chuck Martini contributed another goal, but blame should go to all of the side for a poor overall performance.
Manager Tony Spearing was so incensed by the display he kept his side – who clearly missed the suspended Paul Raynor – locked in the dressing-room afterwards to let his assistant Darren Bloodworth face the press.
Bloodworth highlighted a continuing problem that, again, in front of The Walks’ biggest league crowd of the season, the team let itself down. When they get an attendance of around the 1,000 mark, disappointment ensues.
“What hurt was the manner in which we lost. Collectively it was a very poor team performance, as poor as any since I’ve been back here” he said.
“Every time we get a big crowd we shoot ourselves in the foot.
“For 25 minutes we played very well. But Cambridge were very well-organised, they did their homework on us.
“Craig Clark and Dave Robinson made more runs towards their own goal than they did going the other way.
“The second goal, due to lack of talking, was the killer. Then Chuck dribbled when he should have hit it into the A47.”
Martini had made an excellent close-range point-blank save in the third minute from former Wisbech forward Adam Wilde after he was let through by Lynn captain Dave Robinson slipping.
For the first half-hour King’s Lynn dominated play but they could not turn their bountiful possession around the City box into many clear-cut chances, whereas Cambridge – fielding former Linnet Richard Skelly – usually threatened to score on the break.
Glen Fuff had the hosts’ best effort when his half-volley from a corner looked to be going in, but it bounced over keeper Martin Davis and flew inches over the bar in the sixth minute.
However, the Lilywhites went ahead when the dangerous Dan Chillingworth got behind the King’s Lynn defence down the right and Wilde side-footed home his low cross from close range.
Chillingworth then went close twice before the break.
Defensive indecision led to City’s second goal on the hour. A long ball went over Craig Clark, but no-one called for it as he and Martini chased it. Fuff headed weakly out to Wilde, who chipped into an empty net with Martini in no man’s land.
Spearing immediately sent on two substitutes, one of whom, Dave Puttnam, recorded King’s Lynn’s only two efforts on target of the half.
The game turned farcical with ten minutes left when Martini, who had already suffered a close shave when doing his usual shimmy-and-clearance, attempted one dribble too many.
Cambridge’s hero Wilde dispossessed him to tap-in what will surely be the easiest way he will complete a hat-trick.
Lynn’s misery was completed when a long hoof by the keeper eluded the defence and sub Matt Hann was left clear to slot home the fourth.
The display was ironic as Spearing had just missed out on the manager of the month award, losing to Weymouth’s Andy Mason on goal difference.
Good news is that Jamie March, who broke his arm at Stamford in the League Cup in February, had a kick-about before the game and could figure by the end of the season.
Lynn: Martini, Dakin, Clark, Robinson, Fuff, Palmer, Anderson, Hayes, Rowe, Rowland (Jones 61), Wright, (Puttnam 61). Not used: McNeil.
City: Davies, Wooding, Skelly, Kenna, Girling, Randall, Nightingale, Challinor, Chillingworth (Cambridge 86), Wilde (Hann 86), Wenlock. Sub not used: Tovey.