King's Lynn throw away two-goal lead at Gateshead
Gateshead 3, King's Lynn 2: King's Lynn threw away a two goal lead on a windswept Tyneside last night to slip to defeat and miss the chance to move up to seventh in the Blue Square North.
Gateshead 3, King's Lynn 2
King's Lynn threw away a two goal lead on a windswept Tyneside last night to slip to defeat and miss the chance to move up to seventh in the Blue Square North.
Michael Frew, a threat throughout, scored twice in six first half minutes, but a hat-trick inside 14 minutes from striker Lee Novak saw Gateshead home.
The Tynesiders began brightly, with top scorer Graeme Armstrong wasting a great chance early on.
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Both defences, however, were to struggle in a see-saw first half that saw Lynn open a two goal lead inside 16 minutes.
Frew grabbed them both with Scott Mitchell the architect of the first when he broke up a Gateshead attack just outside the Lynn penalty area. The midfield man made good ground before he slipped the ball through to Frew who scored on the rebound after his first shot had been blocked by Paul Musselwhite.
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The lead was doubled six minutes later when Julian Joachim exploited a square home defence. Frew cleverly lifted the ball over the exposed Musselwhite to head home and the Linnets almost made it three when Ben Chapman had an effort ruled out for offside.
Gateshead, however, were back in it when Luke Graham gave away a free-kick out wide which was half cleared by Greg Crane, only for Novak to slide home Carl Jones' low cross.
Lone defender Crane was then outmuscled by Novak following a long ball over the top from Craig Nelthorpe and the 20-year-old shot Gateshad level.
Novak then completed a quickfire hat-trick when Kris Gate's headed flick on saw the striker in on goal again and another emphatic finish gave Scott Howie no chance.
If Lynn had been culpable at the back they remained a threat offensively and Musselwhite had to make saves from Mitchell and Frew before the break to maintain the home lead.
There was less incident in the second half as both defences tightened up, but Gateshead were unlucky not to stretch their lead just past the hour when Steve Turnbull's 22-yard drive hit a post and Novak put the rebound over the bar before Howie made a stunning save from Armstrong.
It took Lynn until the 71st minute to fashion a second half opening when John Turner ended up in the net instead of the ball as Chapman's centre flew across goal. The Linnets piled on the pressure in the final ten minutes but Musselwhite saved from Frew and Crane with the former then blazing over in injury-time.
Gateshead: Musselwhite, Baxter, Phillips, Gate, Curtis, Jones, Harwood, S Turnbull (Francis 77m), Armstrong, Novak (Southern 77m), Nelthorpe (Holloway 85m). Subs not used Norton, P Turnbull. Booking: Curtis.
King's Lynn: Howie, Graham, Chapman, Weaver, Crane, Camm, Turner (Bloomfield 79m), Mitchell, Frew, Joachim, Francis (Sedgemore 39m). Subs not used: Murray, Kelly.
Referee: Glen Hart (Darlington)