Marriott and Gash ensure King's Lynn Town have a healthy advantage at the end of 2019
PUBLISHED: 12:55 29 December 2019 | UPDATED: 12:57 29 December 2019
The Linnets increased their lead at the top of the National League North table with a valuable point in a 2-2 draw at Alfreton Town - thanks to strike twins Adam Marriott and Michael Gash.
Lynn had to fight back twice to force a draw on a day when rivals York City and Chester both lost, leaving the Linnets with a four-point lead.
Manager Ian Culverhouse applauded his team following an indifferent start when they went 2-1 down inside 10 minutes.
"We began poorly," he said. "We gave them the first goal and, to be fair to them, have been caught out by a good second goal. Our start was quiet but again, full credit to the lads, as they stepped it up, especially in the second half and have earned ourselves what I think is a hell of a point.
"We had them pinned back for most of the half and we just needed a bit of a break in front of goal which we eventually got. We now are in a position to be shot at and we will lose games between now and the end of the season. It's going to be a long, hard run in and we simply cannot give goals away as we did today going forward."
Culverhouse made four changes to the team that beat Boston United on Thursday with Ryan Hawkins, Tom Ward, Alfie Payne and Sonny Carey starting and Ross Barrows, Sam Kelly, Chris Henderson and Ryan Jarvis on the bench.
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The visitors were caught cold after only four minutes when a hopeful Alfreton long ball was collected by the dangerous Amari Morgan-Smith who lobbed Alex Street for the opener. The lead lasted all of two minutes, though, as the Linnets' first meaningful attack of the day resulted in a spectacular acrobatic finish from Marriott from eight yards.
Amazingly the home lead was restored 120 seconds later following a well-worked routine which saw Ryan Qualter blast the ball beyond Street to complete a breathless spell of three goals in the opening eight minutes.
It could have been worse, with Ben Tomlinson denied by a timely Ward block as Lynn swayed under the pressure. However, just like a good boxer, the Linnets weathered the storm, cleared their heads and began to assert themselves. Hawkins combined with Aaron Jones to set up Gash who headed wide with Hawkins then playing in Marriott who was inches away from connecting.
The second half saw the visitors manufacturing the better chances, with Jordan Richards seeing a back header drop wide and Marriott testing Jordan Wright, who managed to palm the effort away. The home side were being pinned further and further back into their own half under what was, by now, relentless pressure with Kelly's corner deflected onto a post.
Finally a deserved equaliser arrived via Gash, who turned the ball into the net after Marriott's header had been pushed onto his bar by Wright. In the time remaining both teams had chances to claim all three points with Marriott firing inches wide and Street denying substitute Bobby Johnson with a smart save.
Alfreton: Wright, Clackstone, Thacker, Lynch (Johnson 46), Qualter, Branson, Preston, Tomlinson (Oyibo 82), Clarke, Morgan-Smith, Freiter (East 57). Subs not used: Andrew, Blake. Goals: Morgan-Smith 4, Qualter 8
Lynn: Street, Jones, Fox, Hawkins (Kelly 67), Ward, McAuley, Payne (Jarvis 62), Richards, Gash, Marriott, Carey (Henderson 62). Subs not used: Barrows, Stewart. Goals: Marriott 5. Gash 77.