PROMOTION hopes have gone for another season as Lynn manager Peter Morris starts looking ahead to next year. Derby defeat at Cambridge on Tuesday leaves the Linnets 11 points off the title pace. With only seven matches left, Lynn would need a remarkable turn around to get back in the hunt and Morris admits the gap is now too large.
"We've got to face it now - we can't go up," he said after watching his side fail to take their early chances.
Brett McNamara hit the post with a fourth minute penalty and Mark Paul's lightning pace, saw him twice wriggle, his way through the home defence only to be thwarted by keeper Dan Kelly.
Lynn were made to pay after 33 minutes when Neil Cogger's shot was superbly kept out by Colin Hoyle. Unfortunately the Lynn skipper used his arm and was dismissed, Andy Pincher blasting home from the spot.
Former Linnet Russell Stock was impressive up front for City but it was another Lynn old-boy, Jason Carter, who took the plaudits with a solid display to keep the Lynn attack at bay.
The Linnets soon lost their way and the early swift interpassing was replaced with long balls up for Paul and Williams which were quickly returned to put the away defence under pressure. New signing Lee Norfolk, snapped up on Monday from Ipswich Town after ironically turning out for Cambridge on Saturday, had a tidy game but the Lynn game plan bypassed him after the break as he was left stranded.
City played their normal neat football but an added physical streak proved too much for the ten-man visitors and there was no surprise when they added a second after 72 minutes.
Norfolk was harshly adjudged to have fouled Pincher and became the fourth Linnet in referee Hoare's book. Cogger's free kick found the Lynn defence AWOL and Mark Reeder planted a firm header past Roberts.
Morris is already planning for next year and said Norfolk had looked promising.
"He didn't give the ball away and added something we've been missing he said of the New Zealand born player who appeared three times in the Premiership for Ipswich in 1995.
"I've got to look towards next year now," said Morris who promised additions to his back line.
"I don't like the way we've defended this season. We can't keep out dead balls. We need more strength but before I go out and see who's available I need to know who we are keeping.
"The players know what I want of them and they are playing for their futures. Who knows, if we win all our games and the top two fall away, we might just sneak in at the death."
One player Morris would love to stay in West Norfolk but who he admits is destined for greater things is Mark Paul. "He's a real diamond but we're not good enough to service him properly and we won't be able to hold on to him for much longer," he admitted.
Lynn: D Roberts, Matthews, Riches, Hoyle, Pascoe, Ellis, Norfolk, Cotterell (Hudson 67), Williams (Wright 84), McNamara, Paul. Sub (not used) Hollman
Cambridge: Kelly, Jeffrey, Hercock, Carter, Holden, Reeder, Pincher, Cheetham, Brown, Stock, Cogger. Subs (not used) Chapman, Chattoe, Byatt.