Gash is key man as Linnets upset the National League apple cart

He's having a ball... Michael Gash - leading from the front for King's Lynn Town this season Picture

He's having a ball... Michael Gash - leading from the front for King's Lynn Town this season Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

If ever evidence was needed of the fickle fate of football, then a look at the league table and Saturday's fixture at The Walks sums it up.

Aaron Jones, second right, has eased into the full-back role Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Aaron Jones, second right, has eased into the full-back role Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

Lynn's visitors are Darlington, a club with a comparatively illustrious name but with a CV that tells a tale of woe and subsequent decline.

Lynn know only too well what happens when the books don't balance - a decade ago they were heading towards a winding up which saw the padlocks on the gates and football suspended until King's Lynn Town rose from the ashes.

In a week when League One Bury have gone out of business it is a reminder that all that glitters is not necessarily gold below the Premier League plimsoll line.

Lynn are a different beast in more than just name nowadays and the fact that a home win over Darlington might be enough to see them overtake leaders York City, shows just what Ian Culverhouse has achieved.

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It wasn't meant to be this way: Lynn were seen by some as relegation material, but they are upsetting the apple cart. They go into today's game on the back of six games unbeaten, five of them wins.

Culverhouse isn't one for shouting from the rooftops, certainly not about his own influence on proceedings, but even his eyebrows have been raised.

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So where is it all going right?

His last two summers have seen the loss of two top-drawer full-backs to league clubs - Cameron Norman departed in 2018 and, more recently, Frazer Blake-Tracy headed to Peterborough United. Hard to replace, of course, but Nathan Fox on the left and Aaron Jones are laying down marker after marker. The beneficiaries aren't just the back line, but in particular striker Michael Gash, arguably the biggest influence of the season so far.

The 32-year-old was the super play-off final hero at Warrington, a day when he expressed a hope that the manager keep faith with the promotion-winning quad for the step up a level. His wish has, largely, been granted - and he has done as much as anyone to prove himself right.

A week ago, as Lynn shrugged off a difficult opening 20 minutes to tear Curzon Ashton apart, his two trademark, towering headed goals told only half the story: Gash has an fine touch 'for a big man', a great eye, and a work-rate that puts some to shame.

Gash has scored five times this season, in the last five games, and works perfectly alongside Adam Marriott, who has also scored five times. Marriott is smaller, but his performance against Curzon proved that he won't be bullied off the ball: he was tenacious and stubborn and, when it came to stepping up and taking penalty, unerringly accurate and disarmingly cool.

They may both may have a touch of the old school about them, but in the rarefied atmosphere of second in the table, York ahead of them, Darlington opposite them, that's no bad thing for the most surprising of phoenix club stories.

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