Photo gallery: Evo-Stik Premier Division: King’s Lynn Town 3, Stocksbridge Park Steels 3
- Credit: IAN BURT
Lynn conceded an injury-time equaliser to drop two points – but that doesn't even begin to tell half of the story on a crazy afternoon at The Walks.
The writing looked on the wall for Linnets as they went behind to goals from Ben Turner and Nathan Joynes either side of half-time. However, Dan Jacob made it five goals in two matches by scoring twice to help bring the hosts back into it.
But the game truly came to life in time added on when Steve Spriggs missed a penalty to earn his side what would have been a certain victory. But, in the end, it appeared not to have mattered anyway as Sam Mulready seemed to have scrambled home a sure winner in the 96th minute.
Yet, inexplicably, the Linnets managed to blow a victory they had barely deserved when the 10-man visitors stole a late third in the 98th minute as substitute Lewis Akeister poked home to spark wild scenes from the travelling bench.
Gary Setchell stuck with the same starting XI, and formation, which reaped such handsome rewards in midweek – hardly a surprising decision. But what was odd, off the back of a huge 6-0 home triumph over Rushall Olympic, was the strangely subdued atmosphere come kick-off.
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It was quiet on the pitch – but more importantly it was silent off it. And that lack of excitement seemed to manifest itself onto the players in blue and gold.
Lynn weren't hopeless in the opening exchanges. Far from it. But they lacked the zip and tempo which saw them rip the highly-rated Pics apart on Tuesday night.
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The usually excellent Jason Lee was slow out of the blocks and missed a header inside his own box. Thankfully, Joynes fluffed his lines. Then, the visitors' culprit crossed for Turner, who stole a march on Ryan Clarke, but headed over.
However, the South Yorkshire side still continued to get the ball forward quickly and took a slightly deserved lead when Alex Callery found Chris White – who had been played miles onside by Lee. With only one defender to beat, the Steels' frontman squared to Turner and he strode into acres of space before slotting home comfortably.
The Linnets offered little by way of an immediate reaction and Park could have doubled their advantage had an unmarked Will Senior got better direction on a header.
It was midweek hero Jacob who finally had an attempt for Setchell's troops in the 25th minute following a looping cross from George Thomson and a clever knock down by Andy Hall. Unfortunately, the former St Neots Town ace saw his sidefooted effort tipped over by a backpedalling Ben Scott.
It was the player, known as Breezy, who looked the likeliest to grab an equaliser. And he went close with a bending right-footed effort before striking the post with a toe-poke. Thomson – the man who set up Jacob for his attempt which hit the woodwork – fizzed one into the sidenetting from 25 yards as The Walks outfit looked to be finding their feet.
But the moans and groans of frustration from the stands soon returned and continued right up until the half-time whistle as a below-par Lynn – especially compared to their impressive midweek shoiwng – went in behind.
The Step Three new boys came out with the same system and personnel, but presumably with Setchell's words still ringing in their ears as they looked desperate to improve on the opening 45 minutes.
It was better. Marginally. But Tolley should have done more with a header from Thomson's inviting centre. And Park still looked threatening on the counter as they feel deeper and deeper into their own half to prevent a Lynn goal.
Defender Phil Gulliver tried to cut out a through ball and inadvertently played it into the path of White. However, he blazed over from a tight angle. But the men from up north were celebrating 60 seconds later anyway when Joynes found the net, on the turn, from the edge of the box.
The hosts should have reduced the arrears almost immediately when substitute Mulready was found by Hall's cut back. He completely missed the ball, Thomson smashed it straight at Scott and in the ensuing melee, Hall slashed wide – before he had a decent effort tipped over in the next passage of play.
While Lynn looked destined to equalise, Lee's uncharacterstically poor afternoon continued as he misjudged a clearance and White strolled in for a one-on-one. Danny Gay got the better of him as he raced off his line quickly.
And that save got the rewards it deserved when Jacob headed home Thomson's corner to give his team hope – although Mulready was insistent after the game he had got the final touch. Setchell immediately hauled off Lee and replaced him with winger Spriggs. He was definitely going for it.
And after Mulready hit the roof of the net, that equaliser finally came. Shock, horror, it was that man Jacob again. Gulliver's header was blocked and fell to the in-form attacker. Although his first shot hit a defender, his second didn't, and Lynn were level.
The dangerous White's clever one-two saw him end with a fine attempt that went just wide while a thrilling half continued as Spriggs drew a decent save from the visitors' 'keeper with a rocket.
Goalmouth scrambles became the order of the day at both ends with Jordan Yong and opposing full-back Liam Royles sparking panic. Yong had the better of the two chances as a result of a storming run. Both teams kept pressing, and searching, and hoping.
Scott did his best to blow it after the 90 minutes were up for Park when he stupidly, stupidly, collected the ball in his hands yet raised his boot and studded Mulready. He was given his marching orders. Yet watched on, relieved, as Spriggs screwed wide.
However, the home fans were soon cheering as Yong's sensational 60-yard run and cross was turned home by the man who had been fouled for the penalty.
But the drama wasn't over yet as a late free-kick was slung into the hosts' box and Akeister prodded the ball across the line after yet more sloppy defending.
Lynn (4-3-3): Gay, R. Clarke, Gulliver, Lee (Spriggs, 68), Yong, Hall, Bunting (Mulready, 56), Quigley, Thomson, Jacob, Tolley (E. Clarke, 80). Subs not used: Watson, Fryatt. Booked: None. Goals: Jacob (67, 74), (Mulready 90+5). Missed penalty: Spriggs (90+2).
Steels (4-4-2): Scott, Royles, Travis, Swirad, Senior, Callery, Bettney (Akeister, 68), Knowles, White, Joynes (South, 89), Turner. Subs not used: Davies, Lipka, Denton. Booked: White, Turner, Bettney, Knowles. Sent off: Scott. Goals: Turner (14), Joynes (57), Akeister (90+7)
Referee: P. Burnham