It will be Premier Division football for the Linnets once more at the walks next season. After two terms in the First Division they made certain of promotion on Saturday in beating second-in-the-table Cheltenham by two clear goals.
The top-of-the-table clash attracted 2,540 spectators, among them some Cheltenham supporters and at the end scores of youngsters, one carrying a "Linnet" board, headed a rush of supporters on to the field to congratulate the team. It was an exciting climax to a tense match in which Lynn had always looked likely winners.
Showing less tension than in their midweek' drawn match with Tonbridge. Lynn played the better, more forceful football and would not have been flattered by a bigger victory.
The team is not playing as fluently as during their fine mid-season run, but they fought magnificently and are well worthy of going up. The attack played strongly, if less impressively, than they have done, but in midfield and particularly in defence they played as well, if not better than they have done at any stage.
I give full marks to the defence on their recent performances, and on Saturday they again showed real strength in subduing an enthusiastic Cheltenham attack. Roy Proverbs and Gerry Baker did fine work and Roy Banham tackled strongly to literally closed up the middle
They kept Cheltenham at fairly long range throughout and Jack Walls was not seriously troubled.
At the other end Cheltenham's defence was frequently split, chiefly through some really excellent play by right half Ian Williamson, Rarely have I seen him play better. He was a true link man in midfield and the majority of Lynn's attacks filtered through him.
Skipper Bob Edwards and inside left Dave King also did a lot of fine work, and more was seen of wingers Ronnie Bacon and Dave Partridge than in some matches since Easter. Unfortunately Partridge was no more than a limping passenger on the wing throughout the second half otherwise I feel sure Lynn would have scored more goals.
The first half was indisputably Lynn's. They were quicker on the ball and always forcing the pace. Mike Tooley brought the first cheer when he tried a snap shot which almost beat goalkeeper Barton, and then a terrific cheer went up when Lynn tools the lead after only eight minutes.
Wright and Tooley began the move with Tooley slipping a pass to Bacon who first cut inside then turned towards the by-line before chipping the ball high to the far side of goal. Barton failed to intercept and Dave KING was well-placed to nod the ball in.
Ten minutes later King brought another excited cheer when he shot the ball in after it had rebounded from the goalkeeper, but he was ruled offside,
Lynn had an escape in the first minute of the second half when right half Thorndale beat Walls with a great cross drive only for the ball to rebound from the far post. Then Williamson tried an other shot, this time sending Barton into a full length dive to save.
Tooley missed two chances to score. First, when put through by King he shot straight at the goalkeeper and later he intercepted a back pass only to shoot across goal and wide.
These misses looked likely to be very costly when, Roy Banham let a through ball slip past him to Cheltenham centre-forward Grant, but there were sighs of relief when Grant fired wide with Walls and the Lynn goal at his mercy.
Lynn clinched the match and promotion seven minutes from the end. Bacon swept the ball into the goalmouth and Barton failed to clear properly. The ball fell to Bob EDWARDS to push it home, though there was a tense moment as a defender tried to clear the ball.