Joy as King’s Lynn Town clinch promotion after extra-time thriller in ‘super’ final
- Credit: Archant
King’s Lynn Town are going up!
Ian Culverhouse's side clinched a dramatic 3-2 win after extra-time at Warrington to clinch their place in the National North Division next season.
Michael Gash was the hero with the winner with just five minutes remaining after it had finished 2-2 at the end of 90 minutes.
Lynn had come through the Southern Premier Central campaign to finish second, got through the semi-finals and the final and then faced this long trip to face the Northern Premier League winners in a 'super' final.
Lynn took the lead through Jordan Richards on 15 minutes, but that was cancelled out two minutes later by Ben Garrity.
Garrity made it 2-1 on 59 minutes and Lynn were indebted to leading scorer Adam Marriott who levelled from the penalty spot with just five minutes remaining.
Extra-time was a tense affair - until Gash struck that glorious winner.
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Lynn started well - Marriott shot just wide on five minutes after Michael Clunan's neat free-kick, which he played wide left to Frazer Blake-Tracey who played it into the area for the hitman to collect.
Rory McAuley then saw a shot blocked as he found himself joining the attack.
Warrington, playing with the wind behind them in the first half, had a huge threat in big striker Bohan Dixon, who almost benefited from Shaun Beeley's run down the right before an offside flag was raised.
Marriott saw a shot blocked in the area after a lovely nod-down by strike partner-in-crime Gash. But Lynn caused their own problems when Street came way off his line, back pedalled and prompted some nervy moment - fortunately Warrington were unable to capitalise.
The breakthrough came on 15 minutes when Gash played a lovely crossfield pass to Ross Barrows on the right. The cross came in, Warrington failed to deal with it, Richards picked it up and hit a lovely shot which left keeper Tony McMillan rooted to the spot.
But the lead lasted just two minutes as Lynn failed to deal with a cross from the Warrington left and Ben Garrity rose at the far post to head home.
It was against the run of play, with Lynn having looked more dangerous.
But Warrington grew into the game and Frazer Blake-Tracy produced an excellent tackle to dispossess the flying Jack Mackreth as he found space down the right channel.
Marriott went down in the area on 35 minutes and while a penalty looked clear-cut, referee Paul Johnson blew in Warrington's favour. The only question is why a 24-goal scorer would dive with the goal in his sights.
The Linnets lost right-back Barrows to injury on 38 minutes as they enjoyed a good spell of pressure, but it was the hosts who ended the half better, Street doing well to block Mackreth's effort after Clunan had lost possession in midfield.
Marriott tested the keeper early doors with a low shot that almost crept under his hand, as Lynn started the half as they had done the first - on the front foot.
Lynn had the bets of the early exchanges, but Warrington were quick to close them down whenever in possession.
Clunan tried to clip the ball over the keeper but Tony McMillan was wise to his idea.
Warrington were struggling to get into the game but went ahead on 59 minutes when Dylan Vassallo's corner was headed in by Garrity who arrived in the box disappointingly unmarked.
It was against the run of play, but the response was vital. Blake-Tracey wasted a free-kick with a shot, rather than a cross into the area, that went miles wide.
Warrington certainly took heart from the goal and while Lynn had plenty of the ball, they were struggling for cohesion.
But just as time was running out, it was that man Marriott who found a way back. The striker was bundled over in the area with just five minutes remaining - and Marriott stepped up to convert the penalty and level the scores.
It was perhaps just what Lynn deserved overall as it set up a nervous finale.
Hawkins tested the keeper with a shot that almost nicked it for Lynn, but the game moved into extra-time.
In the early moments, Hawkins again forced McMillan to save, this time for a corner.
Vassalo thumped a free-kick straight at Street, who then somehow blocked a shot from Amis when a goal seemed certain.
Lunn were the better side in extra-time, but with legs tiring, the match was on a knife-edge.
Then Gash struck with just five minutes, picking the ball up on the left edge of the area and lashing an unstoppable shot through a pack of players.
Warrington had a final chance with a free-kick from the left - but Jones cleared, the ball went out for a goal kick and Lynn had eaten up valuable seconds.
Moments later, the final whistle went and Lynn's dream had come true.
Warrington: McMillan, Beeley, Whittle, Garrity, Roberts, Mackreth (Cusani 94), Evans, Gray (Benjamin 83), Dixon (Amis 54), Vassalo. Subs not used: Duggan, McCarthy.
Lynn: Street, Barrow (Jones 38), Blake-Tracy, Fryatt, McAuley, Jarvis (Limb 80), Clunan, Richards, Gash, Marriott, Henderson (Hawkins 66). Subs not used: Parker, Mellors-Blair.