Evostik Southern League Premier Division
King’s Lynn Town 1
Merthyr Town 1
King’s Lynn Town defender Ryan Fryatt saw red as visiting Merthyr Town earned a share of the spoils from the penalty spot in the sixth minute of stoppage time.
Ryan Prosser’s late spot-kick sent Lynn goalkeeper Alex Street the wrong way to cancel out Lee Stevenson’s late opener for the Linnets.
It was heartbreaking for Gary Setchell’s side who had hoped to kick-off a new era under the guidance of new owner Stephen Cleeve with three points.
After the game Setchell said: “A draw was a fair result but I feel sorry for the lads. We’re on the floor and Merthyr are delighted.
“It was the first game of the season. It was edgy and nobody wanted to lose. We’ve gone a goal up and we’ve just got to close the game out.
“It was a penalty and I’ve got no complaints with the referee. You just can’t go the wrong side and go to ground.
“If you are ball watching in your own box on the wrong side and then dive in you are letting the referee make a decision.”
Both Street and Leon Mettam, who missed Lynn’s final friendly against Lowestoft through injury, were named in the starting line-up while John Sands had to be content with a place on the bench.
A tight encounter saw few chances in the first period.
Street denied Merthyr’s Keyon Reffell from distance, while Glyn Garner foiled Michael Clunan at the other end after playing a neat one-two with Stevenson.
On the stroke of half-time, Garner gratefully clutched onto Jacek Zielonka’s curling effort from just outside the box.
The introduction of Sands ten minutes after the interval made Lynn much more of an attacking threat for the remainder of the game.
Fifteen minutes into the second period, Kayne McLaggon dragged his shot across the face of goal before Lynn’s Mettam saw his free-kick brilliantly saved by Garner.
Street produced smart stops to keep out Jon Brown and Cory Jenkins, tipping the former’s effort onto the post, before Stevenson opened the scoring when turning home Sands’ centre.
Just as it looked as though the Linnets would hold on for three hard-fought points, a rash challenge by Fryatt on Brown in the box saw the home defender sent for an early bath and Prosser poked home the resulting penalty.
King’s Lynn Town: Street, R. Fryatt, Yong, Gaughran, Quigley, L. Fryatt (Sands 55), M. Clunan, Stevenson, Zielonka (A. Clunan 89), Mettam (Edge 87), Hilliard. Unused subs: Mills, Pearson.
Sent-off: R. Fryatt.
Scorer: Stevenson 85.
Merthyr: Garner, Davies, Barrow, Jones, Tancock, Baggridge, Brown (Bowen 86), Evans, McLaggon (Prosser 78), Reffell, Traylor (Jenkins 70). Unused subs: McDonald, Scotcher. Booked: Brown.
Scorer: Prosser (pen) 90+6.
Man-of-the-match: Dan Quigley.
King’s Lynn Town Reserves lost 6 - 1 at Framlingham Town in their first Thurlow Nunn League Division One fixture of the season.
Tonight the Reserves entertain Team Bury.