FOOTBALL: King’s Lynn Town have suffered a major injury blow as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Blyth Spartans at The Walks.
The home side’s pre-match preparations were dealt a huge setback with the sight of the mercurial Josh Barrett on crutches before the game.
Joint leading scorer Barrett injured his metatarsal in training on Friday and faces a spell of between four and 10 weeks on the sidelines.
On the pitch, Ben Stephens ended a nine-week spell without a goal by firing the home side in front early in the second half before Elliot Forbes equalised for the visitors 20 minutes from time.
It was tough on Lynn who had looked solid at the back until one lapse in concentration cost them.
Manager Adam Lakeland said: “We came into the game with a plan to be tactically quite disciplined today because I think they’re one of the best footballing teams in this league.
“I think because they’re Blyth Spartans, no disrespect to them at all, but I think if they were a Darlington for example, a bigger club, shall we say, in this league, I think they would probably get a lot more plaudits than maybe they do,” he said.
“They play really well. They’re very good in possession of the ball.
“They use the midfield play incredibly well, technically very good, and they just try to carve through the middle of the pitch and it was so important for us today that we were tactically very disciplined.
“I thought the players did that incredibly well, nullified them to very, very few chances whatsoever really.”
Barrett’s place in the starting line-up was taken by late midweek match winner Jack Smith, otherwise, Lynn remained unchanged from their win
Ninth-placed Blyth Spartans arrived at The Walks having just recorded one win in their last six outings.
Nicky Deverdics saw an early free-kick played back to him and deflected wide after Josh Coulson had fouled Will McGowan just outside the box.
Lynn fans had to wait 30 minutes for their first shot on target, courtesy of a Ben Stephens free-kick which was comfortably dealt with by Alex Mitchell between the visiting posts.
The hard-working Bartosz Cybulski set up another opening for Kian Ronan as half-time approached but the defender could only sky his effort high and wide of the target.
Lynn opened the scoring seven minutes after the restart after some fine vision from George Morrison saw him cut the ball back for Stephens to fire home his first goal since August 19.
Lynn had looked pretty watertight at the back until 20 minutes from time when Forbes got in front of Kyle McFadden to head home a sumptuous cross from Deverdics.
Cameron Hargreaves forced Mitchell into a save in the latter stages after good work from Stephens down the right.
King’s Lynn Town: P. Jones, Ronan, Coulson, Crowther, McFadden, Clifford, Hargreaves, Morrison, Smith (B. Jones 68), Cybulski, Stephens (Fatjado 90). Subs not used: Oke, Isaacson, Key.