SKIPPER Mick Wright turned in a five star performance to help Lynn overcome the strong challenge of highly-rated amateur side Harwich in this thrilling FA Cup third qualifying round tie on Saturday.
Ten years ago Wright was a member of the unhappy Lynn team that crashed 4-0 in a disastrous cup-tie at Harwich.
So this fighting win by the Linnets gave Wright in particular a lot of satisfaction. But he was the victim of a harsh piece of refereeing which could have led to another shock result.
Early in the second half, with the Linnets in command with a two-goal lead, Wright and winger Billy Tyrell were involved in a chase down to the by-line. It seemed that Wright slid the ball out for a corner with Tyrell tumbling over him, but Ipswich referee Mr J. Chamberlain ruled it a foul which meant a penalty.
When Bobby Duffett calmly placed his shot low into the corner past John Willis it meant Harwich were back in the game with a bang.
For the next 15 minutes they gave Lynn a testing time, but Wright and Nigel Smith stayed cool in the middle of the rearranged defence, getting good support from John Richardson and 17-year-old debut boy Richard Johnston.
When Lynn came through this sticky period without conceding an equalising goal the Isthmian League side lost heart and they could not keep up the fierce pace.
At the finish Lynn were threatening to add to their score with some well controlled breakaways.
The result vindicated the decision of player-manager Frank Wignall to keep Paul Shoemark in the front line and to plunge Johnston straight into the FA Cup cauldron after Trevor Painter had called off with flu.
Johnston, who plays Sunday football for Docksiders and Gaywood Athletic is a former Gaywood Park schoolboy who showed a lot of promise in Reserve team games.
Last month he received a 'bad leg injury which needed six stitches and put him on the sidelines. He made his comeback# on Thursday for the Reserves and learnt that night that he would be getting promotion to the first team.
There were signs of nerves early in the game, but soon Johnston was winning applause from the Lynn supporters for his determined tackling and good interceptions.
Wignall, who seemed to be feeling the effects of his recent thigh injury, was often alongside the youngster giving him.. encouragement.
Behind Johnston; 16-year-old goalkeeper Willis had his best game, since coming to Lynn on loan from Norwich a month ago. Garry Steel had a fitness test with the Reserves on Thursday, but was obviously still troubled by his knee injury and could not be risked for this important cup match. He watched froth the stand as Willis played his part in stopping Harwich.
The Linnets had made a golden start with a goal in the second minute.
A right-wing corner by Shoemark put defender James under pressure at the near post and he headed weakly out to David Clarke who promptly placed the ball past a defender covering on the goal-line for his first goal of the season.
It was the sort of finishing that made Clarke the Linnets top scorer last season and he was submerged by delighted
team-mates giving their, congratulations.
Harwich replied with mid-field player John French getting in a testing header which Willis turned over the bar as it dropped menacingly over him.
But the Harwich defence were not so sure as their forwards and they were easily split by a scorching run by Shoemark, who was showing the form that a few years ago had taken him Into the Spurs camp.
Chances were falling to Lynn and both Keith Rudd and Clarke could have increased the lead before Malcolm Lindsay finally put one between the posts. Shoemark set it up winning a mid-field challenge against Duffett and putting Lindsay through to beat the onrushing Tony Armstrong.
This goal came in the 36th minute and shortly after Clarke took a gild pass from Rudd and swerved past Page only to hook his close-range shot wide.
This was certainly Lynn's half, especially with Wright and Smith blocking the potentially dangerous strikers Clarke and Wallace.
But after Duffett had put Harwich back at 2-1 with his 52nd minute penalty, the big two front men led the revival. In the 63rd minute Wallace got in a goal-bound header which Wignall - yes, Wignall headed off the line, then French dived acrobatically but was off-target with his header.
Gradually there were signs that Rudd and Brooks in mid-field were putting Lynn back- into the game and Lindsay with a first-time shot was not far wide. A brilliant through pass from Wignall sent Shoemark streaking away, but from his centre Lindsay could not get enough power into his back-heel which Armstrong recovered to save.
Willis kept cool under pressure as play swung back the other end and he silenced Harwich shouts for a goal with on. agile save to keep out another header from French.
In the ding minutes of the game Lynn were less tan a foot from having a penalty themselves after Shoemark was brought, down. It was a perfect opportunity for s Wignall "special , but this time he put the free kick just over the bar.
Harwich: Armstrong, James, Smith, Duflett, Page, Duley, French,. Parkinson. Clarke. Wallace, 'Tyre11, (Sub McDolald).
Lynn: Willis, Richardson, Johnston , Brooks, Smith, Wright, Shoemark,
Rudd, Lindsay, Wignall, Clarke. (Sub Woolmer).
Referee: Mr J. Chamberlain (Ipswich).