Hawkins enjoys King’s Lynn Town debut to remember in Banbury win

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Southern League Premier Division

King’s Lynn Town 1 Banbury United 0

New King’s Lynn Town signing Ryan Hawkins enjoyed a debut to remember as the resurgent Linnets made it four league and cup wins on the bounce.

Ten minutes after coming off the bench, Hawkins set up Lynn’s winner for Toby Hilliard to settle an absorbing Southern League encounter at The Walks.

Ten minutes after coming off the bench, Hawkins set up Lynn’s winner for Toby Hilliard to settle an absorbing Southern League encounter at The Walks.

After signing a two-and-a-half deal on Thursday night, the former Dereham Town and St Neots wideman said: “The whole set-up here at King’s Lynn is geared up to winning things.

“I had a plenty of offers on the table from teams in this league and also clubs from the Ryman Premier League.

“However, after speaking with Gary (Setchell) and the chairman they convinced me that King’s Lynn was the club for me.

“This is a club looking to progress, a young team who look to play football and this is a huge part of my game so of course this offer was always going to interest me.”

Hawkins added: “It’s an easy game to play when you know you have the support of the manager and the club.

“I have joined King’s Lynn Town to improve and get better as a player and person which I think will happen under Setch.”

Linnets boss Setchell hailed the exceptional work ethic of his side after their narrow win against The Puritans who tasted defeat on the road in the league for the first time since August.

Setchell said: “That was a massive win. We played it perfect today, but to do that we had to put in a ridiculous shift. I felt we always had their measure.

“Because we worked so hard without the ball when we did get it, especially towards the end of the first half, we weren’t able to string those passes together.

“When it opened up and I was able to throw some serious legs on in Shaun McWilliams, Ryan Hawkins and Dylan Edge it saw us over the finishing line.”

Despite the impact of his second-half substitutions, Setchell was quick to share the plaudits out between the rest of his players.

“The lads who started did a lot of the spade work for the legs to go on and do their bit at the end,” admitted Setchell.

“Metts (Leon Mettam), Smithy (Lee Smith) and Jacek (Zielonka) all had good games today but they’d all run their race by the time I took them off.

“I thought it was a great advert for the Southern League with both sides trying to play the right way.

“They had more possession and were pass, pass, pass but we created the better chances. It was a real game of cat and mouse but we have come out on top.”

Lynn’s winner arrived 15 minutes from time when Hawkins turned a visiting defender inside out before putting the ball on a plate for striker Hilliard to slot home.

Banbury missed an excellent opportunity to level the scores nine minutes from the end when George Jeacock’s centre was flicked just wide of the post by Zac McEachran, but an equaliser would have been harsh on Lynn.

Lynn: Street, Zielonka (Hawkins 65), Yong, Gaughran, Quigley, Smith (McWilliams 52), Clunan, Stevenson, Hilliard, Mettam (Edge 79), Warburton. Subs (not used): Emmington, Congreve.

Booked: Hilliard, Stevenson, Smith.

Banbury: Harding, Westbrook (White 72), Martin, Nash, Carnell, Odhiambo, McEachran, Self, Johnson, McDonagh (Jeacock 56), Browne (Bell 79). Subs (not used): Gunn, Blackstock.

Booked: McEachran.

Referee: Mr G. Laflin (Bury St Edmunds).

Attendance: 587.