Banbury 3, Kings Lynn 3

PUBLISHED: 08:55 15 November 2006 | UPDATED: 09:49 14 September 2010

Lynn avoided an FA Cup hangover with Steve Melton's last-gasp equaliser rescuing a Southern League, Premier Division point at the Spencer Stadium last night.

Banbury 3, Kings Lynn 3

Lynn avoided an FA Cup hangover with Steve Melton's last-gasp equaliser rescuing a Southern League, Premier Division point at the Spencer Stadium last night.

The Alfreton recruit smashed home Mark Warren's half-volley with the final kick of the game to puncture Banbury's stubborn resistance.

The Linnets were seconds from their first league defeat since the opening day after a lethargic start, although they slipped to second in the table behind Mangotsfield, 2-1 winners at Gloucester.

Jon Gardiner slammed home inside the first five minutes, but the visitors gradually shook off the after-effects of Saturday's Bishop's Stortford heroics to level through Michael Frew's 54th-minute snap-shot.

Shaun Carey's side looked to be in the ascendancy until Banbury landed a one-two counter either side of the hour mark.

Gardiner sent Shaun Marshall the wrong way from the penalty spot following Warren's rash challenge on the overlapping Stuart Bridges.

Powerful centre-forward Howard Forinton climbed above Adam Smith to hammer home an unstoppable far-post header minutes later.

Smith exacted his revenge with another masterful free-kick to follow his stunning weekend brace before Melton opened his account to spark another bout of celebrations from the die hard travelling support.

Carey made two changes from Lynn's FA Cup win. Matt Nolan slotted in alongside Frew up front, with Jack Defty kept in reserve on the bench. Melton took Matty O'Halloran's wide right berth with the blonde winger nursing a slight foot injury.

Banbury cashed in on Lynn's below par start to nudge in front on three minutes - Gardiner latching on to Forinton's sharp cut-back to lash past Marshall from an acute angle.

Former England youth international Bridges smacked a long-range free-kick into the visiting wall after a lengthy stoppage following Andy Baird's collision with Dean West.

The impressive Gardiner skipped past Mark Camm, but his right-footed swinger failed to match the precision of his earlier strike.

Marshall kept Banbury at bay on 22 minutes - beating away Ollie Stanbridge's first-time snap shot after the Puritan had waltzed through a dozing Linnets rearguard.

Lynn upped the pace, urged on by caretaker boss Carey. The effervescent Frew finally tested Alan Judge with a hooked strike before Nolan's ambitious 30-yarder was deflected behind.

Kieran Sullivan's superb last-ditch interception foiled Frew as the former Nuneaton man prepared to pull the trigger from Nolan's cute touch.

Grant Cooper's point-blank header cannoned back off Judge's upright with the visitors moving through the gears.

Smith fired off target before Nolan wastefully lifted over from inside the area in first-half stoppage time.

Frew pounced from close range to reward Lynn's incessant pressure early in the second period, but Warren's mistimed tackle on Bridges handed Banbury the initiative again - Gardiner outwitting Marshall from the spot.

Smith tried his luck from distance, but the cultured full-back was no match for Forinton when the hosts went aerial to increase their lead. Banbury's wily campaigner towered above the defender to crash a powerful header into the roof of the net.

Lynn's free-kick expert grabbed the weary visitors a lifeline on 70 minutes firing past Judge from 20 yards after second-half arrival Defty had been up-ended.

Frew's right-footer shuddered against Judge's crossbar as Lynn went for the jugular, before Defty planted two mistimed headers off target.

Nolan blazed over with the goal at his mercy, but Melton spared the striker's blushes, slotting home from point-blank range after Banbury failed to clear one final onslaught.

Banbury: Judge, Bridges, Kinch, Sullivan, Hayward, Pond, Stanbridge, Redknap, Forinton, Baird (Blossom 23), Gardiner (Szczukiewicz 87). Sub (not used): Robinson. Booking: Blossom. Goals: Gardiner (3, 58), Forinton (62).

King's Lynn: Marshall, West, Smith, Warren, Cooper, Camm, Nolan, McMahon (Norris 81), Frew, Notman (Defty J 63), Melton. Subs (not used): Defty C, Gaughran, Higgs. Bookings: Warren, Melton. Goals: Frew (54), Smith (70), Melton (90).

Attendance: 420

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