Former Manchester United goalkeeper helps King's Lynn end run of three successive National League defeats against Hartlepool
King's Lynn Town 2 Hartlepool 2
Former Manchester United goalkeeper Theo Richardson played a starring role as King's Lynn Town ended a run of three successive defeats by sharing the spoils with high-flying Hartlepool.
Richardson – released by the Red Devils in the summer of 2018 – capped a brilliant debut with some fine saves and was also the provider for one of Lynn's two goals at The Walks.
And another debutant in Michael Gyasi who marked his full debut with a goal as the Linnets again produced one of their better displays against one of the National League's more fancied sides
Richardson found himself between the posts after arriving at the club late this afternoon having signed on loan from Cleethorpes.
The Lincoln-born shotstopper, in for the sidelined Archie Mair, was one of three changes to Lynn's starting eleven.
Michael Gyasi was handed his first start at the expense of the injured Alex Kiwomya while Kairo Mitchell was given the nod over Simeon Jackson up top.
Lynn, for once, had the luxury of being able to name four substitutes with talisman Michael Gash and under-21 midfielder Joe Gascoigne among them.
Hartlepool, unbeaten in seven going into tonight's game, started on the front foot with Luke Molyneux heading a David Ferguson cross over the woodwork.
Richardson, who manager Ian Culverhouse signed during his time in the Grantham Town hotseat, was at full-stretch to turn Nicky Featherstone's effort over the woodwork in the 12th minute as the visitors remained largely on top in the early exchanges.
The opening goal came against the run of play and it may have been route-one from the hosts, but Lynn won't care.
Richardson's long kick found Mitchell down the right and, after spotting Ben Killip stranded off his line, the frontman chipped the ball into an empty net.
Lifted by their early goal, Gyasi came within inches of doubling Lynn's advantage when he flashed a shot across the face of the visitors goal.
Richardson did well to save at the feet of Luke Armstrong in the 33rd minute but there was little he could do about Hartlepool's leveller four minutes later.
The dangerous Ferguson delivered a centre from the left and Armstrong – twice on target against the Linnets in the reverse fixture – finished with aplomb.
A fine save from Killip, down low to his left to deny Sonny Carey, kept the scores level before they got their noses in front on the stroke of half-time.
Following a neat one-two with Alfie Payne down the left, Carey forced Kilip into a brilliant save at point-blank range and Gyasi was on hand to gobble up the rebound on the turn.
Gyasi was replaced by Simeon Jackson 15 minutes into the second period as Lynn continued to defy their current predicament due to finances.
But their hard work was undone in the 64th minute after Featherstone swung in a corner from the left and substitute Rhys Oates found the back of the net with a cushion header.
Ryan Johnson went close to clinching a winner for the visitors when he planted a Featherstone delivery just wide of the Lynn target.
Richardson was on hand to keep out Ferguson's pile driver late on and followed it up with an incredible one-handed stop to foil Gavan Holohan as Lynn deservedly held on to a share of the points.
King's Lynn Town: Richardson, Callan-McFadden, Smith, Clunan, Richards, Gyasi (Jackson 60), Fleming, Carey, Denton, Payne. Subs: Gash, Bastock, Jackson, Gascoigne.
Booked: Richards, Payne, Fleming.
Scorers: Mitchell 16, Gyasi 45
Hartlepool: Killip, Sterry, Cooper (Oates 46), Liddle, Johnson, Ferguson, Featherstone, White, Shelton (Holohan 74), Molyneux (Williams 87), Armstrong. Subs not used: Donaldson, Crawford.
Scorers: Armstrong 37, Oates 64.