McAuley to the rescue as King’s Lynn set up shootout with rivals
King's Lynn Town will go into their final league game of the season at second-placed Stourbridge needing a win to secure runners-up spot after a dramatic 1-1 draw against Needham Market at The Walks.
Defender Rory McAuley powered home a header deep in second-half stoppage time to earn Lynn a point when for long periods it looked as if Adam Mills' 35th-minute strike would see all three points heading back over the border.
Lynn boss Ian Culverhouse applauded his side's never-say-die attitude: 'They have kept going out there and that late goal has been the just reward for their persistence. We weren't at it today at times and I think we looked a little lethargic at times if I'm honest. The quality wasn't there but we have shown an abundance of character to force an equaliser against a side who have came here with a plan to defend in numbers and it has almost worked for them. We are grateful for the point and we now know what we have to do on Saturday at Stourbridge.'
Both teams found problems with the intense heat and bobbling, underfoot conditions, but Lynn created the better chances, with Ryan Jarvis forcing Jake Jessup into a palmed save and Adam Marriott's low centre narrowly avoiding two onrushing players.
Needham took the lead with their first meaningful attack when the tricky Joe Marsden evaded his marker and then proceeded to feed Mills,who had the simple task of prodding the ball beyond Alex Street from two yards.
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Marriott planted a free-kick over Jessup's bar following the restart, with the same player forcing the visiting custodian into a save shortly after.
But with time almost up, and with Street in the penalty area, McAuley got up highest to nod home following Frazer Blake–Tracy's deep cross to earn Lynn a valuable point and home advantage in the play-off semi-finals on Wednesday week.
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King's Lynn: Street, Barrows (Mellors-Blair), Blake-Tracy, Jarvis (Hawkins), Fryatt, McAuley, Clunan, Richards, Gash, Marriott, Henderson. Subs not used: Jones, Robinson, Parker. Goal: McAuley 90 +3.
Needham Market: Jessup, Daniel Morphew, Sturgess, Short, Kieran Morphew, Baker, Marsden, Dye, Sheriff, Squire, Mills. SDubs not used: Kamanzi, Pelling, McLaughlin, Collard, Cook. Goal: Mills 35.
Ref: M Morrison; Att: 863.