Linnets are in seventh heaven as Henderson steps up to the plate
PUBLISHED: 07:30 02 September 2019 | UPDATED: 07:30 02 September 2019
It says a lot about the rude health of this King's Lynn side that even without injured hitman Adam Marriott, there are players of the quality of Chris Henderson to make forced readjustments look seamless.
Marriott, scorer of five goals in the first seven games of the season and last season's golden boot winner, watched from the sidelines as he nursed an ankle injury.
What he saw was a remarkable shift from his fellow striker Michael Gash, who occupied the minds of the visiting defenders until they were sick of the sight of him, while man of the match Henderson won the game with two classy, almost delicate, finishes.
It stretched Lynn's unbeaten run to seven games - six of them wins - and kept their 100pc home record intact as they remained second in the table, a point behind York City.
It wasn't all plain sailing: Lynn ceded control of the first half and were indebted to keeper Alex Street - keeping a clean sheet for the first time this season - after he tipped over a volley by William Hatfield, who then spoiled the moment not long after with a shocking tackle on Lynn skipper Michael Clunan for which he was fortunate to see just a yellow card.
But Lynn boss Ian Culverhouse likes nothing than a tactical challenge - and, again, he came out on top, this time against the Darlington manager, former Ipswich Town player Alun Armstrong.
Henderson - perhaps unlucky to be dropped for the Bank Holiday Monday win at Farsley Celtic - was central to the plans and on 51 minutes he latched on to a lovely pass by Alfie Payne and slid the ball past the keeper. Eight minutes later, Gash was the supplier, Henderson producing a similar finish to put Lynn in the driving seat.
Henderson could have taken the match ball home, but moments after being announced to 1,200-plus crowd as man of the match he found himself once again staring at the whites of keeper Chris Elliott's eyes - but this time went for the chip, and Elliot blocked.
Henderson said: "I have heard that and then I have gone through and I thought, 'this is the headline', you know what I mean, and I don't know what it was. I probably had too much time on that one. I don't know what I was thinking - I will have to watch that back, but I am not looking forward to it."
You may also want to watch:
"He (Henderson) makes great runs," said Culverhouse. "First half we didn't do that. I changed the shape at half-time a little bit - we were always playing in front of them and the two goals he scored the ball was just running in behind so it was excellent."
A third might have reflected more accurately the difference between the teams - while Lynn were able to step up a gear, Darlington offered little aside from their first-half spell and Plan B never looked like appearing after the break.
"I thought we were a bit slow in the first half, a bit ponderous, a bit pedestrian and that isn't like us," added Culverhouse.
"We can't play that way, we are full throttle. But the response was excellent and we thoroughly deserved it in the end.
"The crowd were excellent. They were a bit quite first half but we didn't give them anything. Once we give them something they make some noise and it is up to us to give them something to get behind the boys. I thought the whole place was a bit flat first half but certainly second half they made some noise."
King's Lynn Town: Street, Jones, Fryatt, McAuley, Fox, Jarvis, Clunan (Carey 83), Kelly (Barrows 77), Payne (Richards 67), Henderson, Gash. Subs not used: Stewart, Bastock.
Goals: Henderson 51, 59
Darlington: Elliott, Atkinson (Donawa 64), Watson, Bascome (Wheatley 71), Laing, Heaton, Rivers, Hatfield, Campbell, Thompson, O'Neill. Subs not used: Holness, Bell, Galbraith.
Ref: C Walchester