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King’s Lynn promotion dream ended by Kidderminster Harriers in National League North play-offs





King’s Lynn Town 1 Kidderminster Harriers 4

King's Lynn Town's season-long efforts counted for little after a sickening play-off semi-final defeat against Kidderminster Harriers at The Walks.

League-runners-up Lynn have swept almost everything before them in a season in which they finished just behind champions AFC Fylde on 93 points - but the team that finished five places and 24 points below them came to Norfolk - and triumphed with ease.

Mark Hughes' side were second best on a bitterly disappointing afternoon in front of a crowd of more than 3,000 at The Walks.

King's Lynn Town v Kidderminster Harries in the National League North play-off semi-final at The Walks.
King's Lynn Town v Kidderminster Harries in the National League North play-off semi-final at The Walks.
King's Lynn Town v Kidderminster Harries in the National League North play-off semi-final at The Walks.
King's Lynn Town v Kidderminster Harries in the National League North play-off semi-final at The Walks.
King's Lynn Town v Kidderminster Harries in the National League North play-off semi-final at The Walks.
King's Lynn Town v Kidderminster Harries in the National League North play-off semi-final at The Walks.
King's Lynn Town v Kidderminster Harries in the National League North play-off semi-final at The Walks.
King's Lynn Town v Kidderminster Harries in the National League North play-off semi-final at The Walks.
King's Lynn Town v Kidderminster Harries in the National League North play-off semi-final at The Walks.
King's Lynn Town v Kidderminster Harries in the National League North play-off semi-final at The Walks.

Ben Stephens cancelled out Ashley Hemmings' opener for Harriers before Harriers picked off their hosts almost at will with further goals from Amari Morgan-Smith, Shane Byrne and Zak Brown after the break.

The Linnets received a timely boost ahead of the one-off game with Stephens' red card against Curzon Ashton last weekend being rescinded.

Stephens took his place in an unchanged starting line-up for the hosts while Kidderminster Harriers started with the same side that won 1-0 in the play-off quarter-final at Alfreton on Tuesday.

Both sides came into the game on the back of seven successive wins with visiting Harriers notoriously fast starters.

The visitors, who had scored in the opening few minutes in six of their last seven games, had only conceded one goal from the penalty spot in their last eight fixtures.

And they almost repeated the trick in the opening minute at The Walks after a clearance from Lynn was pounced upon by Morgan-Smith, whose cross was sliced wide by Brown.

Lynn responded as Aaron Jones and Josh Barrett combined well down the left to win a corner which came to nothing.

Harriers were handed a golden opportunity to claim an early advantage after 13 minutes when home goalkeeper Tommy Dixon-Hodge brought down Hemmings in the penalty area and referee Jamie O'Connor had no hesitation in point to the spot.

But Dixon-Hodge redeemed himself by saving the resulting spot-kick from Hemmings low down to his left.

The Lynn custodian was the hero again seven minutes later as he brilliantly turned a Hemmings shot behind for a corner as Harriers threatened again.

It was a case of third time lucky for Harriers frontman midway through the half as the Harriers forward, under pressure from Adam Crowther in the box, held his composure before just getting enough on his shot to beat the Lynn goalkeeper.

The home side's response needed to be swift after an uncustomary slow start - and it was.

Josh Barrett drew the Harriers defenders towards him before delivering a cross through the eye of a needle for Ben Stephens to nod home an equaliser.

Two minutes later, Barrett picked out Aaron Jones who fired straight into the arms of Christian Dibble and the visiting shotstopper had to be alert to foil Barrett shortly after as the hosts enjoyed their best spell of the game.

Crowther's name went into the book for a reckless challenge on Amari Morgan Smith.

Hemmings continued to be the scourge of Lynn in the first half as his cross-cum-shot flashed across the face of the home goal.

A second goal for Lynn would have turned the tie on its head and it almost arrived in the 42nd minute as Kyle Callan-McFadden headed Michael Clunan's free-kick just wide of the target.

Lynn had Dixon-Hodge to thank for two more magnificent saves going into the break.

The goalkeeper plucked an Morgan-Smith header out of thin air with his fingertips before foiling the lively Hemmings in first half injury time.

Stephens volleyed over the visiting woodwork three minutes after the restart as the hosts began the second half much better.

But they fell behind for a second time on the afternoon as the trickery of Hemmings laid the ball on a plate for Morgan-Smith to sidefoot home.

Harriers made it 3-1 five minutes later as Brown's cross picked out Shane Byrne and the former Boston United midfielder sent a looping header over Dixon-Hodge.

It was curtains for Lynn 19 minutes from time as the visitors poured forward on the counter and Hemmings played in Brown to score number four.

Lynn's supporters left early in their droves while Kidderminster's fans soaked up the joy of perhaps going on to complete the unthinkable in a week's time.

King's Lynn Town: Dixon-Hodge, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Crowther, Coulson, Callan-McFadden, Jones (Denton 72), Widdrington (Hargreaves 61), Clunan, Barrett, Stephens (Ponticelli 66), Omotayo.

Kidderminster Harriers: Dibble, Penny, Richards, Pearce, Morgan-Smith (Knight-Percival 88), Hemmings (Bearne 90), Foulkes, Brown, Morrison, Byrne, Leesley (Lissmore 86).

Attendance: 3,002.



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