Fleming off to Linnets flier
King's Lynn 2, Gloucester 1: Craig Fleming's goal scoring Lynn debut capped a perfect Southern League, Premier Division homecoming. The ex-Norwich defender broke the deadlock 10 minutes into his first start with a close range header.
King's Lynn 2, Gloucester 1: Craig Fleming's goal scoring Lynn debut capped a perfect Southern League, Premier Division homecoming.
The ex-Norwich defender broke the deadlock ten minutes into his first start with a close range header.
Danny Bloomfield's third league goal of the campaign shortly after put Lynn firmly in control on their seasonal re-appearance at The Walks after a delayed Main Stand facelift.
Tom Webb's spot kick cut the deficit after Ben Chapman was adjudged to have tripped Lee Smith - referee Feerick's decision triggering lengthy home protests after initially waving play on during the build up.
Tigers' stopper Kevin Sawyer saved Matt Nolan's scuffed second half penalty to ensure a nervy finish but Lynn held on to move into second behind early pacesetters Hemel Hempstead.
“The frustrating thing is the game should have been dead and buried,” admitted Lynn boss Keith Webb. “We got the three points - that's the main thing, Will all that went on during before this game the boys could have easily got caught up in the occasion. Although we let it slip a little I don't think that was the case. Sometimes getting a start like we did is not the best, because we got a little carried away. Maybe we thought it was going to be easy, but Gloucester weren't going to allow that.
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“With the opportunities we created, if you don't put the ball in the back of the net, they are the type of team who will come back at you.”
Webb praised high profile arrival Fleming after an assured display.
“I knew I was getting a lot of things with Craig - but a goalscorer was not one of them,” he said. “I think the last goal he scored was for Norwich at Rotherham in the league cup. It was a great cross from Joe Francis and he arrived at the right time. That should have endeared him to the crowd. I felt he lasted the 90 minutes well. He was breathing a little hard in the final ten or 15 minutes - to be fair they all were - because we had to dig deep and show a bit of resolve.”
Webb backed his players protest over Gloucester's bizarre first half penalty award.
“They didn't know what was going on - and neither did I,” he said. “The referee said it was for a foul on the player running into the box. He's waved play on and when no advantage came, decided to bring it back. If it's a foul then give a penalty straight away - don't try to be clever because that only causes aggro. It just gives players a chance to question the decision and when that happens you lose respect for the official.”
Webb made two injury-enforced changes to his starting line up from the FA Cup cruise at Lincoln United. Fleming replaced skipper Mark Warren (groin) with Adam Smith restored to midfield in Steve Melton's (knee) absence for the final game of his Peterborough loan spell.
John Turner and Greg Crane made welcome returns on the bench after recent injury layoffs.
Fleming arrived on cue to power home Francis' set piece before Bloomfield sneaked free to roll the ball underneath Sawyer's diving body in a classic early one two.
Charlie Defty bailed out Scott Howie after he misjudged Neil Mustoe's centre but the keeper redeemed himself with a smart parry to deny Webb.
The Tigers' midfielder turned the tables from the spot midway through the half. Lynn responded well - Michael Frew's sharp header flashing over before Nolan's acrobatic half volley sailed a yard wide.
Howie dropped on Jamie Reid's low cross on the restart after Smith's misplaced pass triggered a Gloucester counter.
Sawyer's agile reaction stop foiled Nolan on the hour mark as Lynn moved through the gears.
Andrew Fisk drilled at Sawyer from the edge of the box after Frew and Smith had sliced open the Tigers' defence.
Frew's burst earned Lynn a spot kick when his cross was adjudged to have struck Jamie Price's hand - referee Feerick again pointing to the spot on the advice of his assistant.
Sawyer clutched Nolan's weak penalty - Lynn's front man choosing to switch sides after his clinical strike from 12 yards the previous week at Lincoln United.
Lyndon Tomkins hacked clear with Turner on the prowl before Sawyer snuffed out Smith after sublime link up play with new arrival Jack Defty.
Sawyer's sprawling stop denied Turner in the closing stages after Howie's booming goal kick caught out Gloucester's stationary rearguard.
Fleming's stoppage time header cleared the danger with Gloucester keeper Sawyer thrown into the home penalty box for nuisance value as the Tigers' staged a frantic final assault.
King's Lynn: Howie, West, Chapman, Fleming, C Defty, Camm, Frew (Turner 76), Smith, Nolan (J Defty 81), Bloomfield, Francis (Fisk 58). Subs (not used): Murray, Crane.
Bookings: Fisk, Camm
Goals: Fleming (10), Bloomfield (14)
Gloucester: Sawyer, Reid, Price (Whittington 78), Mustoe, Tomkins, Thompson, Smith, Webb, Pitcher, Griffin (Allard 43), Sykes (Taylor 66). Subs (not used): Bevan, Hamblin.
Bookings: Reid, Webb, Sawyer, Tomkins
Goal: Webb (22)
Referee: S Feerick (Peterborough)
Coates Brothers were confirmed as the club's first team shirt sponsor for the season during a half time draw conducted by Borough Mayor Kate Mellish.