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King's Lynn go three points clear with late winner against Alfreton in National League North





King's Lynn Town 3 Alfreton Town 2

Striker Ben Stephens scored twice to help King's Lynn Town to a nerve-wrangling victory over Alfreton Town in the National League North.

Gold Omotayo headed the league leaders into an early lead at The Walks before Stephens doubled Lynn's lead going into the break.

Lynn's nerves were left frayed as Bailey Hobson and an own goal brought battling Alfreton Town back on level terms early in the second half.

Delight for Ben Stephens after opening his account for the Linnets. Picture: Tim Smith. (59320147)
Delight for Ben Stephens after opening his account for the Linnets. Picture: Tim Smith. (59320147)

But it was Stephens who had the final say with a last-minute winner to send Lynn three points clear at the summit.

Manager Tommy Widdrington kept faith with the same starting XI that drew 3-3 with Chester City ten days ago.

The only change for Lynn came on the substitutes bench where Oliver Scott returned at the expense of Tai Fleming.

Lynn's first half goalscorers Ben Stephens with Gold Omotayo. Picture: Tim Smith. (59320151)
Lynn's first half goalscorers Ben Stephens with Gold Omotayo. Picture: Tim Smith. (59320151)

There was no place in the Alfreton squad for former Linnet Dayle Southwell as the Reds arrived at The Walks defending an unbeaten record on the road.

After a rather scrappy opening it was Lynn who took the lead with their first attack of the game after 11 minutes.

The Linnets broke down the left and Stephens delivered the ball on a plate for Omotayo to head Lynn in front.

Ben Stephens slots Lynn 2-0 in front at The Walks. Picture: Tim Smith. (59320153)
Ben Stephens slots Lynn 2-0 in front at The Walks. Picture: Tim Smith. (59320153)

Defender Adam Crowther was on the receiving end of some brutish tactics from the visitors in the opening 30 minutes.

The young defender was wrestled to the ground in the Alfreton box with Lynn's penalty appeals being waved away before finding himself pole-axed by a robust challenge from Matt Rhead a few minutes later which resulted in the visiting skipper being shown a yellow card.

A minute's silence for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was impeccably observed at The Walks. Picture: Tim Smith. (59320135)
A minute's silence for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was impeccably observed at The Walks. Picture: Tim Smith. (59320135)

Fourteen minutes before the break Rhead tried to pick out Danny Preston in the area with a clever pass but Tyler Denton timed his interception to perfection in the penalty area.

Rhead was doing himself few favours with his antics in the first half and the much-travelled frontman was barracked by home supporters after throwing himself to the floor in an effort to get Crowther booked.

Defender Tyler Denton. Picture: Tim Smith. (59320137)
Defender Tyler Denton. Picture: Tim Smith. (59320137)

On the stroke of half-time, Jordan Ponticelli fired over the bar from a few yards out but his blushes were spared less than a minute later when a tidy finish from Stephens doubled Lynn's advantage going into the break.

Alfreton were back in business eight minutes into the second half after Hobson rifled a Rhead knockdown past home goalkeeper Paul Jones.

Striker Ben Stephens. Picture: Tim Smith. (59320139)
Striker Ben Stephens. Picture: Tim Smith. (59320139)

An end-to-end second period saw Crowther's header kept out by George Willis at one end while Jones was at full-stretch to turn a Preston free-kick over his woodwork for a corner at the other.

Lynn were now all at sea having been in full control at the interval and Alfreton equalised through an own goal from a corner after 59 minutes.

Striker Gold Omotayo. Picture: Tim Smith. (59320141)
Striker Gold Omotayo. Picture: Tim Smith. (59320141)

The Reds were now in the ascendancy with a succession of corners and it was Preston who forced Jones into a save at his near post from one of them.

Lynn regained their composure and would have been back in front had it now been for a superb clearance off the line from George Cantrill to deny Omotayo a certain second.

Defender Adam Crowther found himself on the receiving end of some rough tactics from Alfreton's Matt Rhead. Picture: Tim Smith. (59320143)
Defender Adam Crowther found himself on the receiving end of some rough tactics from Alfreton's Matt Rhead. Picture: Tim Smith. (59320143)

Midfielder Cameron Hargreaves created an inch of space on the edge of the box to force Willis into a smart save before Stephens slotted home a Olly Scott centre at the death.

King's Lynn Town: P. Jones, A. Jones, Denton, Crowther, Coulson, Widdrington, Hargreaves, Clunan, Stephens, Omotayo, Ponticelli (Scott 74). Subs: Barrett, Walker, Charles, Keller.

Scorers: Omotayo 11, Stephens 45 and 89.

Booked: Omotayo.

Defender Tyler Denton. Picture: Tim Smith. (59320145)
Defender Tyler Denton. Picture: Tim Smith. (59320145)
Lynn defender Josh Coulson. Picture: Tim Smith. (59320149)
Lynn defender Josh Coulson. Picture: Tim Smith. (59320149)

Alfreton Town: Willis, Cantrill, Hilder, Lund, Smith, Wiley, Preston, Branson, Rhead (Denton 72), Preston, Hobson. Subs: Ward, Whitham, Njie, Butterfield.

Scorers: Hobson 53, Smith 59.

Booked: Rhead, Cantrill, Preston.

Attendance: 714.



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