Sands strike keeps King’s Lynn playoff hopes alive

MLNF 12.3.16 ANL-160315-152353001
MLNF 12.3.16 ANL-160315-152353001
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Southern League Premier Division
King’s Lynn Town 1
Hitchin Town 0

A first win in four kept King’s Lynn Town’s playoff hopes alive as they edged out Hitchin Town at the Walks this evening.

On-loan striker John Sands grabbed the crucial goal 20 minutes from time to give Gary Setchell’s team renewed hope going into the crucial Easter fixtures.

The result leaves Lynn eight points off the playoffs with eight games to play and still with a game in hand on their opponents,

But the win was not without cost as both Matthew Castellan and Lee Smith were forced off with first half injuries.

Castellan suffered a suspected broken nose, while Smith was forced off with a quad muscle injury.

Hitchin, who held the last of the playoff positions at the start of the night, edged a tight first period, with Jonny McNamara – who caused the Linnets huge problems during their win in the reverse fixture last August - forcing home keeper Alex Street to save with his feet.

Sam Mulready came closest for Lynn with two curling efforts, with the first tipped away by Charlie Horlock and the second clipping the angle of post and bar.

But the best chance fell to the visitors just past the half-hour, as Alasan Ann sliced wide the best chance.

After the restart, Sands tested Horlock from distance before visiting skipper Callum Donnelly curled a shot over.

Substitute Sam Gaughran then missed a glorious chance to break the deadlock on 65 minutes, heading a Michael Clunan free kick wide.

But that was forgotten five minutes later when good build-up play involving Clunan and Stevenson set up Sands, who turned and shot to find the bottom corner of the net.

That set up an anxious finish as Hitchin searched for a leveller and only a fine Street save kept out substitute John Frendo, despite howls of home protest for a handball in the build-up.

But Lynn clung on to keep their season alive ahead of Saturday’s trip to Chesham United.

King’s Lynn: Street, Fryatt (c), Yong, Miller, Castellan (Gaughran 28), Smith (Bridges 45), Clunan, Stevenson, Zielonka (Hurst 71), Sands, Mulready. Subs not used: Hilliard, Edge.

Scorer: Sands (70)

Hitchin: Horlock, Spence, Walster, Ann, Webb, Rolfe, McNamara, C Donnelly (c), B Donnelly, Burns, Kirkpatrick (Frendo 76). Subs not used: Wright, Mardeviti, Barnes, Palmiero.

Referee: M Wilson.

Attendance: 366