King’s Lynn Town 2 Hitchin Town 0
Grant Holt and Simon Lappin came off the bench to make their King’s Lynn Town debuts as the Linnets returned to winning ways in front of a bumper midweek crowd at The Walks.
Craig Parker and Michael Gash were on target in the second half of Lynn’s Southern League Premier Division clash against a visiting side who were reduced to 10 men just before half-time.
Both Holt and Lappin, who signed for the club on Monday, got a few minutes of action on the pitch during the second half - much to the delight of the 1,067 spectators packed inside the ground.
The King’s Lynn starting line-up showed one change from Saturday with Sam Gaughran replacing the injured Leon Mettam.
Gaughran’s inclusion saw Lynn change formation with Ryan Fryatt and Tom Ward playing alongside the former Peterborough United defender with Cameron Norman and Fraser Blake-Tracy operating as wing backs.
As expected, Holt and Lappin, Lynn’s marquee arrivals earlier in the week, had to be content with a starting place on the bench.
Despite the summer departures of Matt Lench to Slough, Kane Smith (Boreham Wood), Mason Spence (Biggleswade Town) and Will Wright (Colchester United), Hitchin were still able to name a strong starting line-up.
Both Jonny McNamara and Lucas Kirkpatrick, the scourge of Lynn in recent meetings between the two teams, started for the Canaries who came into the match on the back of a four-game unbeaten run.
The Linnets, looking to bounce straight back from Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Weymouth Town, created the first opportunity of the night after Cameron Norman nutmegged a visiting defender before forcing Michael Johnson into a save at the second attempt.
But Ian Culverhouse’s side lacked the authority and urgency seen in many of their home games in the first 45 minutes and it was the visitors who looked more likely to score early on.
Goalkeeper Alex Street had to be alert to deny Lucas Kirkpatrick an opener before Ryan Jarvis blocked the follow-up.
Street then saved at the feet of McNamara as the Canaries grew in confidence.
Lynn’s best chance of the half came in the 25th minute when some brilliant wing play from Ryan Hawkins saw him pick out Michael Gash in the box but the striker’s volley fell straight into the arms of Johnson.
Four minutes before the break, the game dramatically swung in Lynn’s favour after Lewis Rolfe was shown a straight red card for a late challenge on Street following a corner.
Lynn took the lead 11 minutes after the restart.
A long ball from the back was brilliantly flicked on by Gash for Craig Parker to sidefoot home his sixth goal of the campaign.
The introduction of Holt had an expectant crowd on their feet, but it was Lynn’s other big frontman in Gash who doubled the home side’s advantage 15 minutes from time.
A move that started with Fraser Blake-Tracy down the left eventually saw the ball find Parker who returned the favour by playing in Gash to score.
Lappin replaced Parker in the 81st minute and curled a late free-kick just over the bar, while Holt made his presence felt during his brief cameo on the pitch.
The robust centre forward almost marked his eagerly-awaited debut with a goal when he just failed to get on the end of a Norman cross from the right five minutes from time.
King’s Lynn Town: Street, Norman, Blake-Tracy, Fryatt, Gaughran, Ward, Jarvis, Clunan, Parker (Lappin 81), Gash (Siddons 86), Hawkins (Holt 72).
Hitchin Town: Johnson, Cotter, Walster, Rolfe, Dowie, Bickerstaff, Kirkpatrick, Smith, Vincent (Donnelly 70), Bailey (Charles 70), McNamara (Green 63).
King’s Lynn Town: Street; Gaughran, Fryatt, Ward; Norman, Jarvis, Clunan (C), Hawkins (Holt 72), Blake-Tracy; Parker (Lappin 81); Gash (Siddons 86). Unused subs: McQuaid
Booked: Fryatt, Gaughran.
Goals: Parker (56), Gash (75).
Hitchin: Johnson; Cotter, Rolfe, Dowie, Walster; Bickerstaff, Smith; Kirkpatrick, Bailey (Charles 70), McNamara (Green 63), Vincent (Donnelly 70). Unused subs: Tshikala, Bennett
Booked: Walster, Donnelly.
Referee: Mr C. Reeson.