FOOTBALL: The roller coaster of football was never more evident than in our last couple of games in the National League, writes Mark Hearle.
From being demolished at Sutton United on Saturday to gaining an outstanding victory at Barnet on Tuesday, the three days provided yet more high and low moments in an already memorable season that is still not two months old.
I’m not a lover of plastic pitches, even more so when they are wet, so Saturday was a nightmare scenario for me.
Added to that was a performance that was more than below par and a five-goal beating.
Take nothing away from our hosts who were superb. They were first to everything; sharp in front of goal and adapted to the conditions very well.
It helps when you play on a 3G surface week in, week out, but we just never adapted to the pitch or conditions and when that happens life will always be a struggle.
Understandably the manager was not best pleased. His comments were cutting and directly to the point, searching for a reaction in the Tuesday trip to north west London.
That duly arrived with a stunning 2-0 win at the London Hive, home of Barnet.
It wasn’t that long ago that the Bees were members of the Football League but they do have had a long affiliation with the National League, notably under the guidance of legendary figures Barry Fry and Stan Flashman at their former Underhill ground.
The pictures of those days are in a prominent position in the boardroom at the new ground and are a flashback to the days when they were never far from the headlines.
However, it was the Linnets who grabbed the headlines the following day, especially Jamar Loza whose double made the news.
That, though, was only half the story as he and his colleagues produced a real ‘team performance’, from back to front, hardly giving the hosts a sight of goal all evening. They returned home with a deserved full haul of points, which moved us into a healthy mid-table position – three points off the play-off places and four clear of the trapdoor.
Attention now switches to tomorrow with Dover in town for another National League battle. The visitors’ position isn’t healthy but with that in mind, and Yeovil below them (who would have thought that?) nothing can be taken for granted in this league, we will have to work as hard again to secure some more points.
Let’s hope we can gain the win ahead of another big day a week tomorrow, when we travel to Portsmouth.
Quick turnaround lifts Linnets
FOOTBALL: What a difference a day makes – or in Kings Lynn Town’s case, what a difference a game makes, reports Chris Milsom.
The Linnets were mauled 5-1 at Sutton United on Saturday but responded with a typically battling display to take all the points in a 2-0 win at Barnet three days later, their first National League clean sheet.
Isaac Olaofe was the star man for Sutton, helping himself to a hat-trick as he gave Lynn a torrid time.
Tobi Sho-Silva and Harry Beautyman were also on target for the hosts.
Dayle Southwell did find the net for the Linnets but that was the only highlight of a poor afternoon at Gander Green Lane in south London.
However, on the opposite side of the capital on Tuesday, manager Ian Culverhouse demanded a response and he got one in emphatic fashion.
A lively opening to the match saw Barnet nearly win themselves a penalty. Archie Mair looked like he had brought down Michael Petrasso but the match official booked the Bees striker for diving.
Minutes later Jamar Loza found the home to give Lynn a perfect start to the game. He robbed a Barnet player of the ball in midfield and kept going until he reached the box when he fired across Bees goalkeeper Scott Loach into the bottom corner of the net.
Lynn had chances to move further in front with Loza going close with a lobbed effort and Kairo Mitchell forcing Loach into a good save.
The hosts were awarded a penalty when Danny Lupano was penalised for a foul. JJ Hooper took the spot kick but skied the ball over the bar and into the empty stand behind.
Lynn moved further ahead in the second half. The hardworking Mitchell won a tussle for the ball that fell kindly into the path of Loza, who curled it into the bottom corner of Loach’s goal.
Delighted Culverhouse spoke of the contrast between the two games.
“What we’ve produced tonight and what we produced on Saturday are chalk and cheese,” he said.
“We were weak on Saturday and I thought we laid down a bit but tonight, to a man, we were excellent.
“We mixed it up; we wanted to be stronger in the back four, so we put an extra defender in there.
“Our distances were too deep in the first half and we were inviting pressure and got lucky a couple of times. Obviously the penalty miss for them was bad as that would have brought them back into the game.
“We had a tinker with the formation at half-time and I thought we looked a lot better in the second half.”