'Without him we would be a lesser team, that's for sure' - Linnets boss Ian Culverhouse
PUBLISHED: 09:02 17 February 2019 | UPDATED: 09:02 17 February 2019
King's Lynn Town got back to winning ways in their promotion challenge with a 2-0 home win over Redditch - CHRIS LAKEY looks at the old school striker who is playing a big part in their bid for success.
Ian Culverhouse isn’t one to sing the praises of individuals, but sometimes even he has to make exceptions.
Ask about Michael Gash, for example, and the Linnets boss knows it’s unavoidable.
Gash is something of a throwback: it’s old school stuff with the centre-forward, who has learned his trade the hard way, in non league circles. Not that he is without skills: there were two instances of his trickery which were things of beauty - one drag-back sent half the opposing defence and a large number of the crowd the wrong way.
But Gash, 32, takes one for the team: he is pummelled by close attention-seeking defenders, double-teamed, pushed, shoved and pulled. And in the final minutes of this impressive win, he was chasing back helping out his defence.
He didn’t add to his six-goal tally in the league, but the way he plays just makes it easier for others.
Ask Ryan Fryatt and Adam Marriott, who scored in each half to earn Lynn a deserved three points. Fryatt headed in Frazer Blake-Tracey’s corner from close range, with defenders spending too much time looking for Gash. Marriott’s goal was sublime: he twisted and turned in the area before smashing home the ball – but if it hadn’t been for Gash’s persistence, the ball would never have reached him.
“He was outstanding,” said Culverhouse. “He really was. His work rate... we were just talking in the dressing room: in the 85th minute he’s going back and helping the left back out. At times you probably want him to be a bit lazy and be a real target man, and what he gives to this side is incredible.
“People look to his goals ratio and what he brings to the team, but without him we would be a lesser team, that’s for sure.”
Culverhouse knows he has something special in his strike partnership, with Marriott scoring his 14th league goal of the campaign.
“It was magnificent,” said the Lynn manager. “A hell of a strike, unstoppable really. but that is the quality he has got. The pair of them are a big, big plus for this football club and a big problem for opposing teams.”
They might have been more of a problem had Lynn, who overcame a bright start by the visitors, been able to put in more effective crosses: there were good, entertaining passages of play, but the final delivery – Blake-Tracey’s for the opener was an exception – was lacking.
Culverhouse said: “We got into good areas as well, which was a shame. We have a great outlet at the back post in Gashy and sometimes we were trying to be too precise with it – you just stand it up at the back post and give the man something to attack.
“But I was really pleased, it was a good reaction from last week. I thought we were much more on it on the ball, and we got into some good areas and played some good football at times. I thought after the initial 10 minutes, when it was going to be a battle anyway, once we split and got on the ball a little bit we looked a really decent side again.”
It’s telling that Culverhouse uses the word ‘again’ – he was far from pleased after last weekend’s defeat at AFC Rushden & Diamonds, but saw a clear improvement against Redditch, a side who started the game in 17th place in the table and, despite plenty of effort, were just never able to match Lynn’s class.
Victory came at something of a price: there will be concerns over skipper Michael Clunan, whose attempt to run off a foot injury after a nasty late tackle proved unsuccessful, Ryan Jarvis and Jordan Richards.
“Michael got one on top of the ankle,” said Culverhouse. “I think he left his foot there and he was a little bit high and he caught the top of his foot. It has swollen up quite quickly, which is a concern, so we have ice on it and it is about how he recovers.
“Richo got a bit of a hip flexor so that is why he came off – I thought he was outstanding again today – and Jarvs has very tight hamstrings at the moment, so he has done excellent to get out there.
“So we are carrying a few, but we will get through.”
Lynn: Street, Jones, McAuley, Fryatt, Blake-Tracey, Jarvis, Richards (Parker 81), Clunan (Hawkins 66), Henderson, Gash, Marriott (Mellors-Blair 86). Subs: Robinson, Kerins.
Redditch: Whitehouse, Ashmore, Washbourne (Dawning 76), McGrath, Parsons, Evans, Stoddart, Bunn, Johnson, Leachman-Whittingham (Howards 62), Batchelor. Subs: Sinclair, Franklin, Nelson
Ref: A Wilson (Boston). Att: 621