THE Linnets opened their Southern League account
on Tuesday thanks to Jack Defty's 50th goal for the club in a 1-0 win at
The side responded to manager Tommy Taylor's criticism after their opening
day defeat to Halesowen with an improved display.
As promised, Taylor made five changes from the side that faced Halesowen,
strikers Matt Nolan and Paul Atkins (in favour of Defty and Michael Frew)
plus midfielders Sam McMahon and Matt O'Halloran dropping to the bench.
Mark Camm moved into midfield, where ex-Barnet wide man Fraser Toms and Luke
Kennedy also started.
Mark Warren, skipper for the night, made his league debut, while fellow
first choice centre-half Grant Cooper also returned from a one-match ban.
Taylor said: "We played well. About ten minutes we stepped off the gas
and let them into the game. We gave it away too easily, and they missed a
"The Warren and Cooper pairing were ever so solid, they were excellent.
Smithy and Westy were good.
"Cammy gave us more legs in midfield, while I don't know if Shaun Carey
has the legs to get up and down the pitch for us all game.
"For the first 35 minutes I thought Fraser Toms was outstanding, but he
went missing for 15 minutes. We didn't get the ball out wide, and they
ganged up on him.
"Both teams tried to play football and for a little spell we passed the
The Walks outfit started and finished well – Defty's assured strike coming
in the 84th minute – whereas Hitchin couldn't finish at all. The Canaries
wasted good opportunities at the end of each half.
Lynn had a bright start, dominating possession, but the first ten minutes of
the match saw no chances until David Deeney broke down the middle and from
20 yards shot into Shaun Marshall's arms.
Lynn's first opportunity on 18 minutes saw Defty's seemingly goalbound
effort deflected for a corner.
Defty then expertly held the ball up and played in Toms, whose shot home
stopper Michael Parkin turned around the post. Frew turned and shot from 25
yards, which was saved.
But the hosts ended the first half on top. A good build up saw Daniel French
curl one over the bar.
Then came two identical chances from through-balls: firstly dangerman Chris
Dillon rolled the ball past Marshall's left post, then Wayne Mills rolled it
past the right stick.
Lynn went down the Top Field slope in the second half, but neither side
could make an impression before the hour mark, and the substitutions
Hitchin dominated but their final ball was poor, and usually gave Marshall
catching practice. A rare quality cross midway through saw Dillon head it
woefully over, and soon after the striker was denied superbly by Marshall.
French robbed Cooper, but somehow the sliding Neil Pugh failed to connect
with the centre.
Lynn got their second wind in the final quarter-hour. Defty volleyed wide,
had a header from a corner saved, and he and sub Atkins had shots saved.
Toms had a goal ruled out for offside.
But with time running out, Defty (pictured left) performed a smash-and-grab,
bursting through a hole in the defence, shrugging off two challenges,
rounding the keeper and calmly rolling the ball into the far corner of the
In injury time Hitchin rued yet another missed chance as Lynn somehow kept
out a goalmouth scramble.
Hitchin: Parkin, Cretton (J. Taylor 49), Ducket, Hammonds, Folds, Deeney,
Pugh, Ross (Lamacraft 86), Dillon, Mills (Bridge 86), French. Subs not used:
Lynn: Marshall, West, Smith, Warren, Camm, Cooper, J. Defty, Carey, Frew
(Atkins 62), Kennedy (McMahon 76), Toms (O'Halloran 89). Not used: Nolan, C.
Defty. Booked: Warren 36min, Frew 42.
Referee: M. Blackledge.
MoM: Mark Warren. Att: 314.