Linnets win is perfect 21st birthday gift for Castellan

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Southern League Premier Division

King’s Lynn Town 2

Chesham United 0

When Barry Hayles netted Fulham’s equaliser against Chelsea in the Premier League back in 2001, King’s Lynn Town defender Matthew Castellan was just dreaming of playing for his hometown club. Fifteen years later, on his 21st birthday, Castellan and his central defensive colleague Kern Miller marked the 43-year-old striker out of the game as the Linnets bounced back from their midweek defeat against Merthyr.

“I didn’t focus my game around him (Barry Hayles) as I always back my own ability really,” said Castellan.

“I hadn’t really seen him play in the Premier League as I was too young. Gaugh’s (Sam Gaughran) told me what to expect and to me he was just another striker.

“It was great result for us and the boys are buzzing. There needed to be a reaction after Tuesday and today we have given one.”

Castellan says he is living the dream playing for Lynn after helping them bounce back to winning ways at the weekend.

First-half goals from Michael Clunan and Sam Mulready saw Lynn home in a game which Castellan and his fellow defenders were outstanding.

Castellan said: “Playing for your hometown team is unbelievable, it’s like a mini dream for me.

“I used to watch them as a kid on the terraces and used to think that one day that could be me and now it is.

“It’s great and I just want to do my best for the club when I’m out on the pitch.”

Castellan, who arrived at the club from Thurlow Nunn Premier outfit Swaffham earlier in the season, has had to remain patient before getting his chance to prosper.

“When I first came to the club I wasn’t expecting to play having stepped up two leagues,” said the youngster.

“I’ve had to get myself a lot fitter. This level is more physical and you have to be more switched on.”

“I’ve got two experienced players in front of me, but you always have to believe in your own ability.”

Castellan’s big opportunity arrived on Tuesday night with the Linnets trailing 3-0 to Merthyr at half-time.

“I thought to myself on Tuesday that if I could have a good half then I might have a chance of playing against Chesham,” he said.

“I wanted to put a few doubts in Gary Setchell’s mind and I think I must have done that. He chose to start me today and I was happy about that.”

Lynn’s first real chance on 12 minutes produced a goal – Michael Clunan latching on to a Lee Stevenson nod down before unleashing a stunning half-volley from 20 yards.

The hosts almost doubled their lead two minutes later with a shot that went inches wide after Sam Mulready and Jacek Zielonka had combined to set up the chance.

Midway through the half, Chesham produced their best opportunity of the half when Nick Beasant, son of former Wimbledon legend Dave, saw his shot blocked on the line by Ryan Fryatt.

Thirteen minutes before the interval, Clunan’s free-kick eventually found its way to Mulready who nodded home to double Lynn’s advantage.

Linnets goalkeeper Alex Street, who also foiled Toby Little later in the game, made sure that the hosts kept a clean sheet with a fantastic double save to deny Matt Taylor.

Lynn: Street, R. Fryatt, Yong, Miller, Castellan, Bridges, Clunan, Hurst, Zielonka, Stevenson (L. Fryatt 85), Mulready (Edge 75). Subs not used: Gaughran and Simpson.

Goals: Clunan 12 and Mulready 32.

Chesham: Gore, Gater (Smith 60), Little, Beasant, Ujah, Youngs, Pearce, Taylor (Eames 82), Blake, Hayles (Bossman 62), Wilson.

Booked: Gater, Beasant and Taylor.

Attendance: 490.

Referee: G. Russell (Kettering).