King's Lynn Town 3 Stafford Rangers 1
Joint King’s Lynn Town caretaker boss Rob Back kept his promise to return the smiles to the faces of the clubs supporters as the Linnets eased into the FA Cup third qualifying round.
An early strike from the rejuvenated Ryan Hawkins and a Craig Parker header, sandwiched between an own goal from Harrison Holgate, gave Lynn a three-goal advantage with 20 minutes to play before substitute Joe Cuff gained a mere consolation for the visitors.
"I enjoyed that," admitted a happy Back after the game.
"Our game plan worked well and the players turned in a performance Neil (Fryatt) and myself know they are capable off.
"The early goal was important today as that settled us down early and we were then able to impose ourselves on the game and proceeded to control things from there.
"The second goal virtually killed the game and the third was the icing on the cake and, at that stage, 3-0 was the least we deserved. "We were disappointed to concede late on but it has really made no difference to anything really.
"I think the supporters enjoyed the result and the performance and they needed and deserved it after the difficult start to the season we have all suffered.
"The important thing about today was to secure the win and ensure we were in the hat for Monday.
"We've done that and now let’s see who we get. I would love another home game, but let’s wait and see what happens."
Back also revealed that he and Fryatt were due to speak with chairman Stephen Cleeve on Saturday evening in regard to the current managerial situation at The Walks.
"It’s just a little chat that we had planned," admitted Back.
"We speak regularly about all kinds of things so let’s wait and see what happens."
Town made a dream start when they took the lead with barely three minutes of the game played.
Hawkins proceeded on one of his trademark mazy runs and appeared to be running out of options before unleashing a curling right foot shot from 20 yards to beat goalkeeper Adam Whitehouse at his near post to give the game a stunning opening.
The hosts were already well on top and Hawkins again dipped a shot just over the bar while central defenders Ryan Fryatt and Rory McAuley were denied by Whitehouse and James Askey in close succession.
Frazer Blake-Tracy determined run ended with a low centre that Harry Limb flicked at Whitehouse when well-placed shortly after the restart.
Striker Michael Gash made his return from injury and had only been on the pitch for a matter of minutes before he forced Holgate to turn the ball into his own net following Aaron Jones' low cross.
Parker made the game completely safe for the Linnets on 70 minutes when he rose majestically to nod a clean header into the Stafford net following a Michael Clunan corner.
That wasn’t the end of the scoring though as Cuff produced a neat finish for the visitors just before the end to reduce the arrears. However it was never going to be enough to stop the home side leaving the pitch at full-time to loud applause – and lots of smiles – from their supporters as they savoured an opening home win of the season.
King’s Lynn Town: Street, Jones , Blake – Tracy, Jarvis, Fryatt ( Thomas), McAuley, Clunan, Parker, Hilliard (Gash), Limb, Hawkins ( Richards). Unused subs: Stewart, McQuaid, Congreave.
Goals: Hawkins 3, Holgate (own goal) 65, Parker 70.
Stafford Rangers: Whitehouse, Holgate, Askey, Jones, Green ( Cuff), Coulson , Banks ( Perry), Thorley, Bailey- Jones, Benns(Reid), Sherratt. Unused subs: Marshall, Briscoe, Abadaki, Burnett
Goal: Cuff 86.
Referee: Mr A. Ellis ( Birmingham).