Southern League Premier Division
King’s Lynn Town 2 Kettering Town 1
King’s Lynn Town ended 47 years of hurt against Kettering Town in the league - before manager Ian Culverhouse delivered a stinging attack on the club in his post-match interview.
Before celebrating a magnificent comeback against their promotion rivals, Culverhouse took time out to talk about the lack of preparation on the deteriorating playing surface at The Walks.
It came after goals from Michael Gash and Ryan Fryatt clinched a dramatic victory over the Poppies, who had taken the lead through a Brett Solkhon penalty early in the second period.
A furious Culverhouse said: “I want to get something off my chest first. I think this club let the players down tonight.
“To turn up tonight and to have a pitch in the state that we’ve got it, I don’t think it is right.
“After what those players have done for the club this season, they deserve better than that. For the team to come out and have a pitch that hasn’t been worked on for five days is shocking.
“I went into the changing room after the game and praised the players to the hilt. They go right down to the wire, they never moan or wilt about anything.
“Tonight they were superb and I’m so disappointed with this football club, it’s frightening.”
Although history did Lynn no favours going into the match, the Linnets were good value for the win, which puts them in the driving seat in the Southern League play-off places.
Despite losing Tom Siddons to injury before the game and fellow striker Leon Mettam to a knock in the warm-up, Lynn were the better side in the first 45 minutes.
In the 17th minute, Gash burst into the area and rounded keeper Paul White before pulling the ball back for Toby Hilliard, whose strike cannoned back off the underside of the crossbar.
Midfielder Cameron King twice created openings for Hilliard, who headed one effort wide before hitting another shot straight at Paul White.
The visitors ended the first half in the ascendancy.
Aaron O’Connor shot straight at Alex Street, Michael Richens fired wide from the edge of the box, and Rhys Hoenes twice tumbled in the box, only to see his penalty appeals waved away.
Kettering maintained the pressure early in the second half and Lynn could have few complaints about the penalty awarded to the Poppies after Tom Ward brought down Matthew Stevens.
Brett Solkhon fired home the resultant spot-kick, despite the best efforts of Street, to give the visitors the lead.
But the goal sparked the Linnets into life and they levelled matters just before the hour.
Marauding full-back Frazer Blake-Tracy got the better of Kettering’s Kalern Thomas down the left and his hanging cross from the byline was brilliantly nodded home at the far post by Michael Gash.
A few moments later the same two players combined and strong penalty appeals were turned down after Gash’s goal-bound strike appeared to be blocked by a defender’s arm.
Twenty minutes from time, White pulled off a superb save down to his right to keep out a Ryan Jarvis strike through a crowded penalty area.
From the resulting corner, Fryatt rose the highest to bullet home a header to give Lynn the lead.
Kettering were reduced to ten men in the 81st minute when a late challenge from Thomas on Gash earned the defender a straight red card.
Hawkins and Hilliard missed late chances to increase Lynn’s advantage further, before Solkhon was booked for an elbow on Blake-Tracy.
The victory takes Lynn to 95 points with three games remaining, strengthening their grip on second place in the table ahead of their visit to Slough Town in less than 48 hours.
Lynn: Street, Norman, Blake-Tracy, Fryatt, Ward, Jarvis, Clunan (Lappin 21), Hilliard, Parker (Hawkins 62), Gash, King. Subs not used: Frary and Pearson.
Scorers: Gash 59, Fryatt 70.
Kettering: White, Thomas, Solkhon, Richens, Mulligan (Carvalho 74), Pendley, Stevens, O’Connor, Bateman, Milnes (Marshall 60), Hoenes (Howe 71). Subs not used: Toseland, Stohrer.
Booked: Bateman, Marshall, Solkhon.
Scorer: Solkhon 53 (pen).