FOOTBALL: The Hitchin banana skin claimed King’s Lynn Town’s long unbeaten Central Premier League record on Wednesday, writes Chris Milsom.
The relegation-haunted hosts had ended a run of seven straight defeats on Saturday by beating leaders Stourbridge and proved it was no fluke by following up with a 3-0 win over a below-par Linnets.
It was manager Ian Culverhouse’s first league defeat since returning to The Walks but came at the same venue he witnessed a 5-0 loss in his first game in charge last season.
With centre back Ryan Fryatt ruled out due to illness and Frazer Blake-Tracy recovering from a knock picked up against Barwell on Saturday, it meant a reshuffle of the defensive ranks.
And it was errors at the back that handed the hosts a dream start with a corner not cleared and Harry Draper putting them ahead after just six minutes.
It was 2-0 after 20 minutes when the Lynn defence allowed a cross to bounce about in the box before Scott Belgrove scored.
And the hosts added their second big-name scalp of the week to their belts with nine minutes to go when Kieran Shipp upended Draper and Jay Dowie sent Alex Street the wrong way from the spot to end the Linnets’ 19-match unbeaten run.
Not even the introduction of new signing Will Mellors-Blair could spark a Lynn recovery.
The 18-year-old former Manchester United Academy player has also been at Walsall, Notts County, Carlton Town, Solihull Moors, Halesowen Town, Coalville Town and Long Eaton United, as well as Detroit City in the USA.
Two goals from captain Michael Clunan and another for top scorer Adam Marriott had seen Lynn pick up only their fifth home win of the campaign on Saturday.
Despite dominating long periods of the game, Barwell set up a nervy final few minutes with a late rally.
The Linnets dominated the early exchanges with Marriott stinging the hands of goalkeeper Liam Castle in the sixth minute.
In the 17th minute Marriott was brought down on the edge of the Barwell box and Blake-Tracy’s free-kick was spilled by Castle for Craig Parker to tap the ball into the path of Marriott to score.
A foul on Chris Henderson 25 yards from goal allowed Clunan to bend the resulting free-kick around the Barwell wall and into the corner of Castle’s net to double the home advantage.
After Castle had denied both Marriott and Henderson with saves, substitute Ed Nisevic rose between two Lynn defenders to head Barwell back into the game.
Nerves around The Walks seemed to be settled three minutes later when Ryan Hawkins’ run was halted in the box by Eliot Putman and Clunan sent Castle the wrong way from the spot.
Clunan missed a good chance to complete his hat-trick in the 76th minute but his shot from Marriott’s centre lacked power.
Hawkins was then denied by Castle and Lynn’s failure to grab a fourth goal looked like it might come back to haunt them.
In the 84th minute Brady Hickey headed in Brown-Hill’s free kick after Jake Kerins had fouled Elliot Percival.
Frustration built among the home faithful in stoppage time when Henderson was booked for dissent after a foul on him was not given and in the final minute Barwell had a corner that, thankfully for the hosts, came to nothing as Lynn held on for a 3-2 win.