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King’s Lynn Town v Southend United – Vanarama National League – The Walks Stadium – Report
King’s Lynn Town 0-1 Southend United
An early goal – Three points – A clean sheet and a win on the road. Southend United’s step back into the unknown got off to a positive start, but if anyone needed insight into just how difficult life in the National League will be, this was it.
Certainly, a win is far more important than the performance, and it’s just as well because Blues struggled to put away a King’s Lynn Town side that was taking their first tentative steps having turned full-time during the close season.
Backed by a sizable and notably vocal travelling support, it was Southend who made the perfect start. Sam Dalby supplied a cool finish – Jack Bridge and Rhys Murphy, heavily involved in the build-up.
Nathan Ferguson was a whisker away from a second, firing just wide after seizing on some hesitant defending.
Joe Rowley and Gold Omotayo provided the visitors with one or two uncomfortable moments – Blues keeper, Steve Arnold, along with central defensive linchpin, Josh Coulson on hand to deal with any early concerns. Meanwhile, Tyler Denton nodded over as King’s Lynn – who had recovered significantly after conceding the early goal – probed for a way back into the contest.
Junior Morais’s angled attempt was deflected behind as the home sides threat continued to mount. Meanwhile, Murphy warmed the palms of Town stopper Paul Jones, while Jack Bridge was unable to supply a telling touch – Southend springing back to life shortly before the interval.
The contest had become scruffy – the uneven surface playing its part. A timely intervention from Pierce Bird denied Murphy a free run in on goal as Southend searched for a second after the restart. Soon after, the Blues frontman passed up a couple of glorious opportunities – firstly, sending a right-footed volley wide of the target, then thwarted by the advancing Jones.
And that almost proved costly as Arnold was forced to turn aside Omotayo’s goalbound header at the foot of an upright.
Murphy fired tamely at Jones as his quest for a second continued, while the keeper did well to save from Ferguson – Omatayo heading over and skipper Michael Clunan fizzing wide as the outcome remained in the balance.
Nevertheless, it was King’s Lynn who was now enjoying the better of proceedings Bird header landed on the roof of the net, while Jason Demetriou cleared off the line from Omotayo. But the homes side’s task was to become that much harder – Moraias clearly stamping on Jason Demetriou – Referee, Daniel Middleton brandishing the red card without a moments’ thought.
Arnold saved one-handed from substitute Matthew Dennis – Abu Agogo fashioning the opening, then parried from Nathan Ralph and looked on as Demetriou nodded over.
Blues survived a late scare when Munashe Sundire’s looping header came back off the face of the bar. However, Blues had done just about enough.
Southend United return to Vanarama National League action on Saturday, August 29 when Stockport County visit Roots Hall Stadium (5:20pm).
King’s Lynn Town: Paul Jones, Luis Fernandez (Malachi Linton 63’), Tyler Denton, Kyle Callan-McFadden, Pierce Bird, Michael Clunan (Capt) (Munashe Sundire 78’), Ethan Coleman, Gold Omotayo, Junior Morias, Ross Barrow, Joe Rowley (Michael Gyasi 74’) Subs not used: Daniel Bowry, Joseph Gascoigne
Booked: Ethan Coleman (obstruction), Pierce Bird (foul)
Sent-off: Junior Morias (violent conduct)
Southend United: Steve Arnold, Nathan Ralph, Abu Ogogo, Josh Coulson, Jack Bridge (Shaun Hobson 82’), Rhys Murphy (Matthew Dennis 82’), Sam Dalby, Nathan Ferguson, Harry Phillips, Jason Demetriou, John White (Capt) Subs not used: Harry Seaden (GK), Terrell Egbri, Hamzad Kargbo
Booked: Nathan Ralph (foul), Rhys Murphy (dissent)
Goals: Sam Dolby 8’
Referee: Daniel Middleton
Assistants: Jacob Lehane and Andrew Grey
Fourth Officials: Gareth Davies