Southern League Premier Division: King’s Lynn Town 0 Hungerford Town 1
- Credit: Ian Burt
Ten-man Lynn were hit by a smash and grab raid as play-off chasing Hungerford struck a priceless winner at the death.
Unlike Saturday's entertaining goalless draw at The Walks, last night's clash between the resolute Linnets and Hungerford offered little to get excited about.
The was until a floodlight failure on the stroke of half-time brightened what had been a dull affair. The controversy continued after that 15-minute delay when Sam Mulready was harshly sent off for his attempt to block Scott Rees' ball down the line. It looked like the Linnets hitman barely caught the Crusaders' midfielder's outstretched right boot.
With almost half-an-hour to play the odds looked stacked against Gary Setchell's side. But they never looked like conceding until referee Sean Feerick somehow produced a mindboggling end to the game. And in the ninth minute of injury time Hungerford made those vital seconds count when Ian Herring slotted home Garyn Preen's corner from close range to spark scenes of delirium from the travelling contingent.
It had been far less eventful during a scrappy an uninspiring first period. Both sides were as sloppy as each other and equally culpable in creating what quickly became a midweek snoozefest.
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Strangely, the visiting Crusaders arrived just a place off the top five but showed little to suggest they deserve, or are desperate, to reach the end-of-season shoot-out for promotion.
They came stumbling out of the blocks, as did Lynn, and it took a mistake from home keeper Alex Street – who tried to keep the ball in play out wide – to present the first half chance of the game, which James Clark failed to capitalise on from distance.
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That was about as good as it got with only those clutching at straws being able to suggest Michael Clunan and the visitors' Stefan Brown's poor crosses that drifted over the bar were actually shots at goal.
Clunan's team-mate John Sands did try his luck from the angle but the striker's effort typified the poor quality on show. Hungerford's Garry Horgan couldn't even lift the gloom when he wasted comfortably the best chance by heading wide Herring's deep free-kick at the far post.
At least the floodlights could raise a cheer when they decided to give up on proceedings just before the interval.
Things did improve, slightly, after the break with Lynn's Lee Stevenson finally breaking the shots-on-target deadlock.
Mulready soon got his marching orders, much to the anger of a small but noisy home faithful. That rage intensified during a dramatic conclusion when Herring peeled off Liam Fryatt to snatch the win and cause Lynn injury-time heartbreak.
Lynn: Street, R Fryatt, Miller, Castellan, Yong, Clunan, Hilliard (Hurst, 72), Smith, Mulready, Stevenson (L Fryatt, 88), Sands (Zielonka, 81). Subs not used: Friend, Edge. Booked: Hilliard. Red card: Mulready
Hungerford: Strudley, Horgan, Day, Jones, Tyler, Clark (Jarvis, 74), Herring, Rees, Preen, Draycott, Brown (Goodger, 80). Subs not used: John, Rusby. Booked: Day, Tyler. Goal: Herring (90+8)
Referee: S Feerick