Linnets seal play-off spot - now the chase is on for runners-up spot
- Credit: Archant
King's Lynn Town guaranteed their place in the Southern Premier Central end-of-season play-offs – although they made hard work of clinching three points with a 2-1 home win over Tamworth.
Ross Barrows put Lynn ahead after just 11 minutes but the visitors levelled late on, only for Lynn to respond within three minutes through Chris Henderson to claim a win that in truth should never have been in any doubt.
Coalville's 5-0 defeat at Alvechurch effectively assured Lynn of the play-off place, and they will now be looking to make up the three-point gap between them and second-placed Stourbridge. It's the runners-up spot which is most advantageous at the end of the season and it could all go down to the final day – when Lynn go to Stourbridge.
The Linnets were on top for almost all of the game against Tamworth – in the opening minutes Rory McAuley fired a header straight at keeper Jas Singh from Michael Clunan's free-kick as the visitors were pinned into their own half.
Clunan tried his luck with a volley from the edge of the area which was straight at Singh as Lynn knocked it about well.
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The reward for that attacking intent came on 11 minutes when Frazer Blake-Tracy, in space deep on the left, hoisted a cross to the back of the area which Barrows met with his head.
It should have been all square minutes later but for arguably the miss of the season when Lynn keeper Alex Street made a mess of a simple kick out to a defender. The ball went straight to Tamworth striker Tyrell Waite on the edge of the box but with the goal gaping, instead of rolling it in, went for something more spectacular – and put it wide.
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It was an incredible let-off for the Linnets, but normal service was soon resumed. Henderson went into the referee's book after a 'striker's tackle' – despite numerous other infringements going strangely unnoticed.
Adam Marriott was denied by Singh as he tried to make the most of Joe Kettle's mistake in the area and with half-approaching time Ryan Jarvis headed Clunan's corner straight at the keeper.
Street atoned for his previous error with a double save, keeping out Kyron Stabana's long-range effort and then stopping Revarnelle James' follow-up.
Michael Gash forced Singh to stretch for a header early in the second half and the keeper did better 10 minutes into the half when he denied Clunan.
Henderson saw a shot fizz wide after lovely build-up play, while Jarvis shot straight at the keeper.
Again, Lynn were enjoying most of the possession, but the cutting edge was a little blunt – and keeper Singh had an increasingly nasty habit of getting in the way. He was at his best on 67 minutes when in a stunning few seconds in the visiting area, he somehow kept out a Henderson shot, Marriott's effort was cleared off the line and Singh then flung himself to keep out sub Aaron Jones' effort.
If Lynn needed a reminder of their slender lead it came when Tamworth midfielder Jack Concannon fired a shot inches wide of Street's left-hand post. It would have been rough on Lynn given their superiority, but then disaster struck. On 82 minutes, Waite, the man who had missed that sitter, powered out on a solo break. Jarvis twice tried but couldn't knock him off the ball, and the striker made his way into the area and put a low shot past Street.
It sparked wild celebrations, which didn't please the Lynn bench, but three minutes later Henderson drilled the ball past Singh – and it was the Lynn bench's turn to go wild.
King's Lynn: Street, Barrows (Jones 66), Fryatt, McAuley, Blake-Tracy, Jarvis, Richards, Clunan, Henderson, Gash, Marriott (Mellors-Blair 88). Subs not used: Parker, Robinson, Bastock. Goals: Barrows: 11, Henderson 85.
Tamworth: Singh, Stabana (Sylla 66), Gough, Magunda, Kettle, Green, Concannon, Clement, Waite, Shaw (Spencewr 66), James. Subs not used: Frances, Dias, Gordan. Goal: Waite 82
Referee: P Burnham (Wymondham)