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Tuesday 12 December 2006
British Gas Business Southern League Premier
(match 17)
at The Walks, King's Lynn.
BGB Southern League logo

Lynn three cross badge

King's Lynn


Gloucester City

New Tigers Badge: no-one knows why...

HT (0-0)

Lynn home kitBlue City third kit
A.Wilson (86)
C.Thompson ©
M.Warren ©
(for 9, 76) M.Nolan
(for 10, 67) R.Norris
M.Fowler (for 11, 77)
(for 3, 62) R.Hicks
A.Wilson (for 7, 71)


J.Cox (for 9, 81)
King's Lynn: S.Marshall (dissent 32)
City: O.Barnes (foul tackle 38), M.Noakes (foul tackle 85)
Dismissals: none

T-Ender City MotM: Michael Noakes - impressively solid against tricky opposition winger and got forward well, providing cross for the winner.

grass trim rule

A game where City started more in fear than expectation ended with a glorious win as Tim Harris' team executed a superbly executed smash and grab raid on King's Lynn to condemn the promotion hopefuls to their first home league defeat since the opening day of the season. After a recent dismal run of form the Tigers showed great nerve and energy to first stifle a dangerous Linnets attack, and then to create several good attacking openings before snatching all the points when a well worked counter-attack found the fresh legs of sub Aaron Wilson in the right place to smack in a memorable winner.

After last season's 4-0 drubbing here there could be little reason for optimism after City's dreadful form, but the line-up suggested at least some courageous decision making that showed some intent to give the Norfolk FA Cup darlings a bit of resistance. It proved to be rather more than that in the opening minutes as an apparently rather defensive City line-up went at the Linnets in a way that suggested it was anything but. Alex Sykes set the tone for the evening with a nearly effort, cutting inside from the left and hammering in a swerving shot. The keeper seemed caught unawares and did well to get back across goal to tip the ball wide. We weren't just here to keep the score down.

As the game progressed there was even more reason to be pleased. After the first ten minutes City had shown more resolve and made more tackles and blocks than the side managed in the whole match on Saturday. Space was closed down and life was made hard for Lynn when they were in possession and City looked lively when breaking forward with Sykes, Reid and Webb all doing well to get beyond Welsh and offer him some support. Jamie Reid tried his luck with a 30 yard low swinging drive that was gathered in by the keeper but led to further heated debate amongst the King's Lynn defence. The fraying nerves of the home team weren't helped by early rumblings of dissent from the stands, and the players almost lost the plot when City tried to take a quick free kick with one of their men down needing treatment. If the tactics had been intended to throw the pre-season title favourites off balance it was working, and the keeper was booked for dissent after losing the plot over a disputed corner decision.

The new City energy and determination was exemplified in just a few minutes that saw Michael Noakes chase back to the dangerous O'Halloran on the wing and take him out as he prepared to cross on the by-line with a stretching tackle. Within moments Mustoe had switched play and Tom Webb was surging out of midfield and beyond two players before finding Welsh who shimmied to find a yard of space and was unlucky with a crisp shot from the edge of the box. City were defending well and managing to get numbers behind the ball and keep a far more disciplined shape, only once really stretched when Hamblin did well to head clear from under our crossbar. Lynn were enjoying far more of the possession but failing to hurt us, and despite having less of the ball we could point to more shots on target and better chances. In fact in the dying moments of the first half big Jack Defty planted a firm header wide of the post and it was notable as it was the first time the home team threatened the City goal.

By the break we already had restored a lot of pride, but things were to get better yet for the City contingent. The home team were now clearly rattled and were pushing forward with far greater intent that bordered on recklessness. The City defence weathered the predictable early storm and with Mustoe and Webb cleverly picking out passes that launched a string of quick breaks which often sliced through the home defence. Webb exchanged a one two with Welsh and the forward's nod down took the midfielder into the box and his shot from a tight angle clattered into the away team's stantion. City were still having to work very hard to keep Lynn at bay, but the midfield was busy and the City back line held up well under a bombardment of high crosses into the box.

The extra space being left behind the Linnets attack was starting to show and City started to get a feeling that the draw wasn't the best result they could hope for. Alex Sykes looked as bright as he's ever been in City colours and playing in a free role pushing forward from midfield looked far more comfortable than when asked to defend. It was Sykes who sent in a low driven 30 yard free kick that whistled through the Lynn wall and was spilt by the rather fragile looking Shaun Marshall in the home goal. With the ball loose Webb was closing in at the near post only for left-back Charles Defty to produce a fantastic stretching block tackle to deny him on the line in a brave goal-saving act that saw him limp out of the action a few minutes later. City were not to be denied for long though and Reid was soon back on the attack, skipping past a tackle and into the box. His pull back was timed to perfection and found Alex Sykes eight yards out with the goal gaping only for the attacker to sky his shot high over the bar.

It was hard to believe City could afford to spurn a chance like that but the game was running in our direction now. A pattern was emerging with Lynn probing and sniffing in and around the penalty area until finally repelled when we would break at speed and each time we got forward we looked dangerous. Wilko was back to his best and shuffled through the entire midfield before his forward pass unluckily clipped the heels of Welsh. Another break saw Sykes pestering and hounding the defence after a long ball, Grant Cooper panicked into a weak back pass that was dropped by the keeper and Cooper seemed to slap the ball away in a shambolic defensive mess that would have got a home team a penalty.

The City breakthrough came with a pacey counter-attack led by Tom Webb who stormed out of defence and through several tackles before running into trouble deep in King's Lynn territory. The attack was picked up by Cox and then by Michael Noakes who showed fantastic stamina to make a strong run down the left and take the ball beyond the full-back to the by-line. His low cross into the six yard box panicked Marshall in the home goal and he could only flap at the ball which fell invitingly into the path of Aaron Wilson. The young City sub showed great composure and hammered the ball high into the net. The small but select City away support were delirious in ecstatic disbelief while Wilson was swamped on the touchline by team mates and coaching staff alike.

Could we hold on, at least the goal was late enough to leave the agonising wait for the final whistle to just a few minutes. Even those dragged on an age but while Lynn came back at us the hopeful high balls were now comfortable for Hamblin and Barnes. The home side's spirit had been broken and when the final whistle came the stadium suddenly seemed very empty with only a few but very happy City fans left to enjoy the moment. The home side must fear this is a further dent for their title ambitions and the result may hasten the appointment of a new permanent manager. For Gloucester this was right up there with those other unexpected and hard won victories - those at Histon, Redditch and Woking come to mind. The players looked rightly delighted and emotional, this was a big victory for them that spoke highly of character and strength. How different and difficult to choose a man of the match when all of them could lay claim to it, as opposed to Saturday when no-one really did. It's a special club where the manager can be bothered to come and thank the traveling supporters (admittedly it didn't take long!), but then this was also a special night.


grass trim rule
T-Ender Match Snaps
City at The Walks
City emerge from the gloom at The Walks

Team Selection:
The City boss has shown himself unafraid of tough decisions and today he put out a team that would be reliable, hard working and difficult to get past. It takes guts to drop the most talented player in the squad in Mike Fowler, the newly signed striker in Jimmy Cox, the rising young starlet in Aaron Wilson and the recent loan signing Shab Khan. Tim Harris did all four and it proved to be the right side to get the result in the match. Sometimes you make your luck.
TBBM Said:

"Oi Olly, I know your Dad"

Tactics Board:
A series of master strokes from Tim Harris who really should have silenced anyone who thought he might have lost the plot. Not only was his team selection brave, the busy City midfield stifled King's Lynn and gave us a platform to attack from. Sykes was impossible for them to mark and as King's Lynn pushed forward to try and break the packed City defence a series of attacking substitutions enabled us to take full advantage.
Anorak Corner:
This was City's first clean sheet at The Walks since winning here 2-0 in May 1989 in the last match of our title winning Southern League Midland Division campaign.
T-Ender Verdict

This was a match won by some clever tactics, but also by a team that despite being drained of confidence showed the guts and faith to go out onto the pitch and execute the plan to perfection. Saturday was an exercise in disappointment and surrender - this could not have been more different. We were first to challenges, there was movement off the ball, players covering others and we played with heart and passion. King's Lynn were a dangerous side but they quickly became frustrated in the face of some rigorous hard-working defence from all 11 City players.

The win also gives Tim Harris something to chew over as he has an interesting decision to make on if such tactics can be deployed again, especially as they worked not just in closing down opposition space but also in creating scoring chances for us. At least this result restores some pride, hope and belief in the club after a few dismal weeks. After feeling embarrassed and depressed on Saturday it was so good to leave the ground of the promotion favourites with not only a win, but a deserved win. The players looked desperate to avoid a repeat of Saturday's horror show and their manager's assessment that was forthright they had let people down. Their reaction to the goal and the final whistle showed not only relief, but what looked a lot like a bunch of players who had worked hard for each other, their manager and for the (blue!!) City shirt. Those who saw us on Saturday may find it hard to believe, but we may just look a bit like a football team.

Highlights Elsewhere:

Who cares!

But really - the sensational nature of the result isn't reflected in a seismic shift in the league table although a win puts us back in touch with the mid-table pack and up one place, rather sweetly above Cirencester.

The other big result of the night shows our next opponents are in good form as Hitchin pushed up into third spot with a 2-1 home win over Maidenhead courtesy of a late winner from Scott Orphanu. Merthyr's luck seems to be on the wane as a Jason Tuner goal edged them to a 1-0 defeat at Stamford while Hemel Hempstead are still scoring with abandon, this time a 3-1 home win over bottom club Corby.

Other Match Reports:

Gloucester Citizen match report
Tiger Roar post-match Tim Harris interview

Further Reading:

BGB Southern League Premier Results & Website
BGB Southern League Table

Referee: D.Bryan (Stamford) City League Pos: 16th (+1) City Form: WLLLLD

Ref Watch:

6 - Did OK despite home fans hysteria. Let game flow but could have given us a pen.

Attendance: 693    
Conditions: dry after early rain
Lorry Score:


Match Report:
by t-towel

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