THE LINNETS were put through a searching test of their defence qualities at Banbury on Saturday — and came through successfully
In doing so, they gained their first Southern League win of the season. It was one achieved through resilience and hard work.
Had the Linnets lost they would have been left stranded at the foot of the division but now they have climbed towards the mid- table area.
Banbury it is who are bottom. But Banbury's record this season is not that bad, for they have twice beaten Bury Town (in the Southern League Cup) who until Saturday were the only team in the section with a 100 per cent record.
Manager Jim White gave his players full praise for their performance. They played magnificently. They ran themselves into the ground for 90 minutes and it's a pity that some of their critics were not here to see them.
"I told the team to expect a lot of early pressure from Banbury. It was important that we soaked it up and then grabbed the chances that
came our way.-
That is exactly what the Linnets did. In the first half they made only two serious attacks on the Banbury goal and scored from one of them.
Banbury attacked relentlessly in the first 20 minutes. But apart from a second- minute centre that swung over Ivan Haistead and bounced off the top of the bar, the home side could not break through. The Lynn
back four tackled and bloCked fiercely whenever danger threatened around their penalty area.
It was a completely one- sided game. Then in their first attack, in the 21st minute, Lynn scored.
It stemmed from a right wing move by Reynolds who pushed forward a pass to Lindsay. Banbury. keeper Thomas rushed out recklessly and handled the ball outside the penalty area conceding a free kick.
Lynn quickly pushed up players and when Reynolds floated over the centre, Mel Green timed his jump perfectly to head in, with Thomas left stranded in no man's land.
This was an excellent example of smash football and clearly stunned Banbury.
A few minutes later the Linnets moved forward purposefully again. Chandler went darting towards the goal, but with Banbury's defence exposed, he could not keep the ball under control and Kearns gladly conceded a corner.
The home side desperately sought an equaliser before half time and Lynn had some fortunate escapes. Once Spooner blocked a goal- mouth shot by Evans and the ball bounced straight into Haistead's arms.
Lindsay and Easthall were both frequently back helping Smith and Co repulse the Banbury attacks.
Captain Mick Wright was missing from the line-up at the start of the second half and it was revealed that for much of the opening 45 minutes he had been suffering with black-outs.
His place in the back four was taken by Green, with substitute McCallum going into mid-field with Stewart.
Defensively, Lynn still looked strong and McCallum brought extra flair into their play especially when building up attacks.
In the 48th minute Banbury nearly conceded a needless second goal. There was a mix-up between Kearns and his goalkeeper Thomas who both anticipated that the other would clear and Chandler way quick to move in, eventually forcing a corner in a goalmouth scramble.
In the 53rd minute Lynn did score their second, A throw-in by Johnston on the left was flicked on by Lindsay to Reynolds who went past one defender before jubilantly cracking in his shot.
Now two goals up, the game was for the taking by Lynn. They had an escape, however, when Haistead appeared to misjudge a gentle shot from Unitt which bounced off a post back to him.
Apart from that, Lynn did dictate the game for a long period. A shot from Spooner dipped just over the bar and Reynolds set up a chance for Stewart who pushed his shot wide of the far post.
It was not until the last ten minutes that Banbury came back into it. Their goal, in the 82nd minute, was an unusual one. Good work by Terry Evans opened a path down the right wing and Peter Burgess took over, lashing in a shot from the narrowest of angles which beat Haistead by its speed.
But after this. Lynn were in no mood to surrender another goal and held on to their two hard-earned points.
|Banbury: Thomas, D. Evans, Casey, Matthews, Kearns, Svenson, Cassidy (sub Duester 74), Burgess, T. Evans, Unitt, Pollard.
Lynn: Haistead, Spooner, Johnston, Smith, Wright (sub McCallum 45), Stewart, Green, Reynolds, Chandler, Easthall.