FOOTBALL: What a difference a few days made for King’s Lynn Town, writes Chris Milsom.
Frazer Blake-Tracy’s late equaliser spared the Linnets from an embarrassing FA Cup exit on Saturday when he secured a 2-2 draw with Thurlow Nunn League side Histon at The Walks.
But it was not enough to save manager Simon Clark’s job.
But four days after that, the stand-in management team of Rob Back and Neil Fryatt presided over a superb 7-0 away win in the replay.
The Linnets booked themselves a date with Stafford Rangers in the next round with the rejuvenated Ryan Hawkins helping himself to a hat-trick, Toby Hilliard adding a brace and a fine effort from Craig Parker seeing the Linnets run riot in the opening 45 minutes at the Glassworld Stadium.
The second half was more subdued and the Linnets lost Ryan Hawkins and Ryan Jarvis to injuries.
Nathan Stewart helped himself to a goal in the dying minutes, curling home from outside the box to complete the rout and leave Lynn in good spirits ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Halesowen in the Central Premier League.
Clark’s last game in charge had seen the Linnets struggle against a team from two levels lower in the non-League pyramid.
Nathan Stewart had the best chance of the early exchanges with a curling effort from the edge of the box beating goalkeeper Sam Roach but coming back off the far post.
Two minutes later the visitors took the lead. Dan Brown, whose goal for Mildenhall knocked Lynn out of the FA Trophy last season, broke away and curled an effort past the advancing Alex Street.
Stewart levelled in the 27th minute when he got ahead of his marker to add the finishing touch to Hawkins’ right wing cross.
Five minutes before the break Evan Key took advantage of more generous Lynn defending to pick his spot beyond Street as the home side failed to deal with a corner kick.
Lynn huffed and puffed in the second half as they tried to get back on terms but Histon repelled their attacks.
Hilliard’s strike, which flashed across the face of goal early in the second half, was the only real opening created.
Clark threw on Valter De Rocha and Harry Limb as the Linnets ended the game with four players up front and, with time running out and frustrations building on the sidelines, Blake-Tracy pounced on a loose ball to sidefoot past Roach and level the tie with three minutes of normal time remaining.
There was still time for Hilliard to have a goal ruled out for a foul by Limb in the build-up, and for Michael Clunan’s strike from the edge of the box to force Roach into a good save. But, in truth, a late home winner would have been harsh on the visitors.