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King's Lynn close the gap on National League North leaders AFC Fylde as interim boss gets off to a winning start





King's Lynn Town 4 Kettering Town 1

New boss Mark Hughes enjoyed his first victory in management this afternoon as King's Lynn Town responded to the departure of their former boss in the best possible fashion.

The interim Linnets boss saw his side close the gap on league leaders AFC Fylde – 2-1 losers at Spennymoor Town – by overcoming Kettering Town in National League North.

Hughes, assisted by Hugo Langton, oversaw a comfortable 4-1 victory at The Walks thanks to goals from Ben Stephens, Gold Omotayo (2) and Adam Crowther.

Kettering replied after the home side's second half blitz as Lynn guaranteed themselves home advantage in the play-off semi-final on Sunday, May 6.

Lynn scored four goals in a stunning 12-minute barrage in the first half the last time the two sides locked horns – and this time managed three in 17 minutes after the interval as Kettering capitulated.

Ben Stephens after firing Lynn in front against Kettering Town on the stroke of half-time. Picture: Tim Smith (63442648)
Ben Stephens after firing Lynn in front against Kettering Town on the stroke of half-time. Picture: Tim Smith (63442648)

The 39-year-old – asked to step up after the exit of Tommy Widdrington last weekend – made one change from the team that secured a late 1-0 victory at Chorley last Saturday.

Josh Barrett – the tormentor-in-chief against the Poppies during their FA Cup visit earlier in the season – was brought back into the team at the expense of Tommy Hughes who dropped to the bench.

After an even opening few minutes, Michael Clunan's cross was fired by Omotayo at the near post.

Delight for Ben Stephens after firing Lynn in front on the stroke of half-time. Picture: Tim Smith. (63442646)
Delight for Ben Stephens after firing Lynn in front on the stroke of half-time. Picture: Tim Smith. (63442646)

A long throw from Rhys Sharpe caused panic in the home defence and a combination of bodies blocked an effort from George Cooper as the Poppies threatened for the first time.

Theo Widdrington's long-range effort left visiting goalkeeper Owen Mason in two minds before the Kettering custodian gratefully claimed a header from Omotayo shortly after.

A cushion header from the big frontman was met by Clunan on the volley and whistled over the crossbar as Lynn began to increase the pressure on the visiting goal.

Gold Omotayo celebrates after making it 2-0 at The Walks. Picture: Tim Smith (63442656)
Gold Omotayo celebrates after making it 2-0 at The Walks. Picture: Tim Smith (63442656)

Kettering's Cooper made a timely-intervention on Ben Stephens in the penalty area as the striker bared down on goal.

The visitors showed little attacking intent but when they did venture forward just before half-time, Lynn had Josh Coulson to thank for a great tackle in the box on Jimmy Knowles.

Lynn's new management team of Mark Hughes and Hugo Langton on the touchline. Picture: Tim Smith. (63442654)
Lynn's new management team of Mark Hughes and Hugo Langton on the touchline. Picture: Tim Smith. (63442654)

On the stroke of half-time, Lynn took the lead with their one bit of real quality as Barrett delivered a cross from the right and Stephens fired home at the near post.

The home side doubled their advantage five minutes after the restart as Clunan's corner was emphatically met by the head of Omotayo.

Thirteen minutes later, substitute Aaron Cosgrave was fouled by Cooper in the box and Omotayo stepped up to fire home his 17th league goal of the season from the penalty spot.

Mark Hughes talks to goalkeeper and new Linnets coach Paul Jones on the sidelines. Picture: Tim Smith (63442652)
Mark Hughes talks to goalkeeper and new Linnets coach Paul Jones on the sidelines. Picture: Tim Smith (63442652)

Three soon became four when, three minutes later, Widdrington's free-kick was poked home by Crowther before visiting substiute Decarrey Sheriff netted a consolation for the Poppies a few minutes after coming on

King's Lynn Town (5-3-2): Dixon-Hodge; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Crowther, Coulson, Callan-McFadden, A. Jones; Widdrington (Hughes 68), Clunan, Barrett; Stephens (Cosgrave 46), Omotayo (Ponticelli 72). Subs: Morrell, Fleming.

Defender Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain. Picture: Tim Smith (63442650)
Defender Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain. Picture: Tim Smith (63442650)

Kettering Town (4-2-3-1): Mason; Myles (Sault 73), Sharpe, Gasciogne, Cooper; Stohrer, Forsyth; Hill, Ward, Scott (White 55); Stohrer; Knowles (Sheriff 67). Subs: Bennett, Lakin

Attendance: 1,531.



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