Southern League Premier Division King’s Lynn Town 1 Redditch United 0
King’s Lynn Town manager Gary Setchell felt his play-off pushing side had come of age after winning an explosive Southern League encounter at the Walks.
Lee Stevenson scored the only goal of the game 14 minutes from time before being sent off, along with two visiting players, a few minutes later after an ugly 30-man melee involving both sets of players and benches.
The victory moves the Linnets within two points of a play-off berth.
A delighted Setchell, who has seen his side beat three of the top-five teams in the table at home this season, said: “I really think our team has come of age today.
“We’ve had to dig in during a scrappy affair against a very good Redditch team who are extremely difficult to play against.
“Redditch are very physical and put it right on top of you, but we kept our discipline and shape and tried to play.”
Setchell also praised the performance of goalkeeper Alex Street, who kept the Reds at bay with a series of excellent saves.
“Alex has saved us more than he has cost us this season. Yes he has made mistakes but he also makes saves that other goalkeeper’s can’t make, that’s fact.”
Street’s heroics to deny both Rob Thompson-Brown and Jazz Luckie were particularly impressive in the first half before another spectacular stop to foil the former early in the second period.
The only goal of a tactical battle came in the final third of the proceedings.
Stevenson shrugged off the attentions of three visiting players, who were left feeling aggrieved at not winning a free-kick in the build up to the goal, before unleashing a stunning 25-yard effort past Jose Veiga and into the top corner for his 12th goal of the campaign.
It was Lynn’s only noteworthy effort on target in the 90 minutes as they found it difficult to create clear-cut opportunities against the meanest defence in the league.
Six minutes later, tempers flared after Stevenson was wrestled to the ground by James Mutton.
A brief brawl involving both sets of players and benches ensued before Stevenson was shown his second yellow card of the game and both Luckie and Mutton were shown straight reds for the visitors.
Redditch boss Liam McDonald felt the game turned after referee Paul Burnham left the field injured midway through the second half and was replaced in the middle by linesman Nigel Howes.
With Howes taking over with the whistle, spectator Paul Tomlinson, a former referee in the Eastern Counties League, took over running the line wearing a Manchester City shirt.
McDonald, whose side have only lost two of their last 16 games, said: “The players know that they didn’t perform well enough today but, for me, the referee has got a few decisions wrong.
“It is hard to come straight into the middle from being linesman and one or two decisions have influenced the final result, but we will bounce back.”
Meanwhile, Setchell confirmed after the game that young defender Matty Castellan was close to signing a contract at the club.
Lynn: Street, Fryatt, Yong, Miller, Castellan, Smith, Clunan, Hurst (Friend 90+3), Zielonka (Mulready 61), Stevenson, Bridges (Hilliard 86). Subs not used: Gaughran, Pearson. Booked: Stevenson, Clunan. Sent off: Stevenson
Redditch: Veiga, Cullinane-Liburd, Flanagan, Loveridge (Johnson 87), Mutton, Richards, Thompson-Brown (Shearer 60), Osborne, Luckie, Sammons (Hallahan 82), Carline. Subs not used: Young, Fletcher. Sent off: Mutton and Luckie.