League survival remains Linnets sole objective - Culverhouse
PUBLISHED: 21:50 14 September 2019 | UPDATED: 21:50 14 September 2019
Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk
Ian Culverhouse issued a blunt reminder of exactly where King's Lynn Town stand in the footballing landscape.
The Linnets' stunning early-season form showed a few signs of cracking as they were held by mid-table Gloucester, a result which saw the hosts slip to third in the table behind heavyweights York City and Chester.
That in itself illustrates how Lynn have upset the odds in the first few weeks of the season - but Culverhouse is adamant his team are punching above their weight and, more pertinently, that supporters should get used to the fact that along with the highs, there will be some lows.
Adam Marriott's third-minute penalty was cancelled out by two goals of Lynn's own making - the first after a mix-up in defence, the second when Alex Street was beaten at his near post. But with time running out and Lynn's incessant pressure looking set to go unrewarded, up popped Marriott in time added on to tap home after good work by substitute Chris Henderson.
The 1,100-crowd roared their approval, maybe more through a sense of relief than anything else, and after the game Culverhouse was keen to paint a realistic picture of the present and the future - and the ambitions.
"This is small steps for us," he said. "We have to lay foundations and small building blocks.
"The first 10 games everyone is just 'wow, unbelievable start', but this is about building things for next year. If we can stay in this league this year we will only be better next year, we really will be because we will have had a season of it, we will know what it is about, the foundations will have been laid to push it on further."
Lynn's start has, inevitably, fuelled talk of promotion. Culverhouse knows the pitfalls of that particular excited ambition.
"We wouldn't be ready for it unless there is a very big improvement everywhere, but we haven't got the foundations for it. We have got out of one league we are dipping our toe into the next one and we are enjoying it at the moment. Can we sustain it? That is the challenge for this group of players now."
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Culverhouse freely admits Lynn cannot compete financially with some of the league's big name teams, but what he does have at his disposal is a squad that refuses to give up.
After Marriott's early goal, Lynn found the going tough and Gloucester levelled on 26 minutes when Street struggled with a heavy backpass from Ryan Jarvis and Joe Hanks nipped in to equalise. The visitors went ahead on 61 minutes when a cross from the right evaded too many players in the area before falling to Joe Parker, who fired home. Two poor goals to concede, but while Lynn will point to Aaron Jones' shot that hit the post, Ryan Fryatt's header cleared off the line and close calls by Michael Gash and Henderson, it needed Marriott to does what he does best to earn a point.
"We are giving away silly goals," said Culverhouse. "I thought the two goals we gave away today were very, very poor."
The point made it 10 unbeaten, and although it ended the perfect home record Culverhouse was again at pains to point out Lynn's place in the National League pecking order.
"I think we need to get some realism about the place, because we haven't got a right to beat anyone in this league," said Culverhouse. "We are going to play 42 games and in 42 games we will be underdogs. So we have no right to beat Gloucester - we have to earn the right in every single game, and fair play to Gloucester, they took their chances when they did and we didn't.
"What we are doing at the moment is unbelievable, it's unbelievable what they are doing. And the character they showed at the end - and they could have given up halfway through because it wasn't going right - but to actually get the goal in the end showed the immense character of this squad of players."
King's Lynn Town: Street, Jones, Fryatt, Smith, Fox (Barrows 82), Jarvis (Henderson 56), Clunan, Richards, Kelly (Carey 74), Marriott, Gash. Subs not used: Payne, Stewart.
Goals: Marriott 3pen, 90+4
Gloucester City: Jeacock, Thomas, Harper, Harrison, Avery, Knowles, Parker (Hainult 82), Hanks (Myrie-Williams 51), J Jackson (M Jackson 65) Russe, Kotwica. Subs: Johnstone, Smith.
Goals: Hanks 26, Parker 61