Evo-Stik Division One South: King’s Lynn Town 3, Halesowen Town 2
Substitute Jason Turner saved the day for King's Lynn Town with a vital winner – just three minutes after coming on.
Lynn were twice pegged back after goals from in-form pair Steve Spriggs and Danny Beaumont – but twice the visitors fought back.
Frustration set in as a draw looked inevitable – but up popped Turner to keep the pressure on leaders Coalville Town.
Lynn boss Gary Setchell made two changes to his line-up, with Jason Lee coming in for Ryan Fryatt and Pat Bexfield replacing Jamie Thurlbourne.
The visitors kicked off on a glorious afternoon for football, but after a couple of minutes Lynn mounted their first period of pressure, Russell Dunkley holding the ball well in the area and, when a turn was too difficult, laying it off to Bexfield for a shot that was saved.
Steve Spriggs then sent in a low cross from the right which Bexfield clipped just wide at the near post and Dunkley headed an inch over after Danny Beaumont put in a perfect cross.
Halesowen keeper Paul Evans then did well to claw away Beaumont's low cross at his near post with Dunkley lurking.
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Bexfield shot wide as, yet again, he was quick to support his strikers.
Lynn should have gone ahead on 16 minutes when Dunkley released Beaumont down the inside left channel, but the keeper somehow got fingertips to the low, curled effort and a corner was scant reward.
Referee Peart was incurring the wrath of home fans – and Setchell – for taking a dislike to one or two robust challenges, but they felt a lot better when Lynn got the goal they deserved on 27 minutes, Dunkley playing a lovely reverse pass to Beaumont on the left flank – and Spriggs collecting the cross at the far post, allowing it one bounce before smashing it past Evans.
Moments later Spriggs sent a low cross-shot across the face of goal as Lynn threatened again.
Dan Quigley broke out of midfield on 37 minutes and fired a 20-yarder just over, but Halesowen, on the break, looked capable of causing problems with the pace of their front two.
And after all their domination, Lynn were hit by a sucker punch - Ben Haseley found himself free on the edge of the area and, after Danny Gay did well to smother his shot, the same player picked up the rebound to fire into an empty net.
Neil Barnfield shot wide and minutes later Haseley again found space down the left, but fired wide of the far post.
Gay had to be at his best in the final action of the half, tipping a deflected Dan Evans shot wide – with Lynn going into the dressing room having been clearly rattled by Halesowen's late revival.
Haseley was again a threat soon after the restart, leaving Jason Lee for dead but firing past the upright.
Gay produced another quality save, getting a hand to Brendan Kelly's thunderbolt free-kick that found its way through the wall – and then repeating the feat moments later, with Haseley somehow putting the rebound wide from three yards.
It was a difficult period for Lynn, prompting Setchell to add some width by bringing on Jamie Thurlbourne, for Bexfield – and within five minutes they were ahead when Beaumont picked up a Dunkley knock-on and, although the keeper got a hand to his effort, it had enough weight to sneak over the line.
Halesowen still had something about them, with Gay getting down to collect Ryan Lester's shot, with Lynn's defence again struggling - the shot was tame, the ease in which the attack built was the concern.
Beaumont should have made it three when he found himself in acres from Lee's long ball, but he lost the mind games in the one-on-one with keeper Evans and his effort was poor, Thurlbourne drifting the rebound over.
Gulliver headed just wide from Thurlbourne's corner as the match entered the last 10 minutes.
But disaster struck again on 82 minutes as Lynn fell to a sucker punch break, Jean-Michel Gueyes finding Haseley on the right – all eyes were on him, enabling sub Mitchell Botfield to stand unmarked on the edge of the area, sweeping in the square ball.
Striker Jason Turner came on for the final minutes as Lynn threw everything forward - and for a second time the change worked wonders. Within three minutes he had controlled Dunkley's knock-down, kept his head in the area, and flashed a low left-foot shot past the keeper.
• King's Lynn: Gay, Watson, Gulliver, Lee (Turner 85), Yong, Bexfield (Thurlbourne 55), Quigley, Bunting, Spriggs (Mulready 76), Dunkley, Beaumont. Subs not used: Fryatt, Buhlemann.
Goals: Spriggs 27, Beaumont 60, Turner 88
• Halesowen: Evans, Lycett, Winsper, Bowen, Kelly, Smith (Botfield 80), Barnfield, Lester, Geuyes, Evans (Arshad 70), Haseley. Subs not used: Hull, Flower.
Goals: Haseley 38, Botfield 82
• Referee: T Peart
• Att: 621