King's Lynn Roller Hockey Club are National Cup winners
King’s Lynn Roller Hockey Club have landed their second national title of the season.
They came from behind to beat Middlesbrough in the last three minutes of the National Cup final and secure a 4-2 success.
It was a hard-fought battle against a disciplined Middlesbrough outfit for Lynn who were also victorious in the 2019 final which was the last to be held before the coronavirus pandemic that suspended play across the country.
Boro had many of the better chances in the first half, channelled Lynn’s counter-attacks well and forced them to play around the outside.
They sought to catch Lynn on the break and, in a crucial period of the first half, succeeded in drawing a blue card from captain Josh Taylor.
Stepping up for the penalty against Lynn’s number 10, Josh Roberts, Boro captain Owen Stewart sent his shot into the leg pads and the West Norfolk side endured the following two minutes with a man disadvantage to see out the first half at 0-0.
The final five minutes of the first half saw Lynn’s creativity emerge and they sought to capitalise on the shift in momentum at the start of the second period.
Boro, however, created the first scare of the game when Stewart beat his defender to drill a flick past Tom Allander, who was in for Roberts at half-time.
Lynn, unused to coming from behind, responded confidently with a similar move as Owen Norris shimmied past his man to find the top left with a flick of his own.
With the score at 1-1, Lynn looked to press on, but were caught out in defence as Boro scored with a medium-range slap-shot to regain the lead.
Protecting their advantage, Boro’s defence made the game very difficult to play, and Lynn were reduced to speculative shots from distance and play around the outside.
As the seconds dissipated, fears of a Lynn defeat became very menacing.
However, with five minutes to go, Norris secured Lynn’s 10th team foul and, although Jack Tucker couldn’t covert the direct, it spurred them into action and Tucker soon compensated with a deflected goal that restored parity between the sides.
Lynn, now sensing victory, pressed on for the winner and duly found it when Tucker converted at the far post.
To round off the scoring, Taylor scored a slap straight from the direct spot with a minute remaining and Lynn held out to pick up their second National Cup in as many finals.
In the awards ceremony after the match, Tucker was presented with the award for men’s national player of the season, as was Lynn’s Bethan McCarthy in the women’s category.
Lynn’s final game of the season is against Peterborough, at Lynnsport, at 6.15pm on Saturday.
Afterwards they will be presented with their sixth consecutive Premier League trophy after securing the title earlier in the season.
It’s the second consecutive season that Lynn have won both national competitions, and will give Josh Horn, Norris and Roberts confidence as they represent England Under 23s in next week’s Nations Cup.
Captain Vancouver man of the match: Josh Roberts.
Lynn: Josh Roberts, Josh Horn, Jack Tucker, Josh Taylor, Jamie Griffin, Ryan Barnes, Owen Norris, Bethan McCarthy, Josh Futter, Tom Allander (GK). Coaches: Andy Horn and Will Martin