Hilliard is the hero as King’s Lynn Town beat Hereford
King’s Lynn Town 3 Hereford 2
Substitute Toby Hilliard was the injury-time hero as King’s Lynn Town came from two goals down to finally end Hereford’s long unbeaten away record.
Hilliard struck a dramatic winner from close-range to complete the most remarkable turnaround seen at The Walks for many years and help Lynn regain top spot in the Southern League Premier Division.
The Bulls hadn’t lost on the road in 53 league matches - a run stretching back to August 2015 - and that did not look like changing after Jordan Cullinane-Liburd and John Mills had put title favourites two goals in front at the break.
But Ian Culverhouse’s side had other ideas to stage a comeback which left most of the near-1200 crowd - Lynn’s highest gate of the season - in raptures.
The match between two of the Southern League Premier Division’s promotion heavyweights lived up to its top billing.
Lynn began brightly but were left deflated when Hereford took the lead against the run of play.
The Walks outfit refused to deal with a corner and Cullinane-Liburd took full advantage to give the visitors the perfect start.
Hereford almost doubled their advantage but Street forced the prolific Mills out wide and, soon after, the Linnets goalkeeper pulled off an excellent save with his legs to deny the same player.
Lynn refused to buckle and created a fair number of opportunities of their own.
Marauding full-back Cameron Norman crossed for Michael Gash to fire into the arms of Martin Horsell, while Simon Lappin twice went close to finding the back of the net - once from a set-piece and the other after the ball had found its way to him from a corner.
On the stroke of half-time Hereford added a second when Lynn failed to deal with a cleverly-taken free-kick from Billy Murphy and the dangerous Mills was on hand to fire home.
The Linnets looked down and out and knew that an early goal in the second half was a must if they were to find a way back into the match.
It duly arrived four minutes after the restart after a low cross on the right from Norman found Gash at the far post to stab home.
The goal gave the hosts renewed hope and the crowd were lifted as the game continued to swing from end-to-end.
Gash saw another effort deflected wide, while Lynn were reminded of Hereford’s attacking ability with two lucky escapes at the other end.
Lance Smith sliced wide for the Bulls when it would have been easier to score and an excellent stop from Street, again with his legs, foiled Keyon Reffell.
Lynn’s equaliser arrived in the 62nd minute after birthday boy Ryan Hawkins netted with a fine strike across Horsell.
The Walks outfit sensed that Hereford were there for the taking and, after Gash had struck the outside of the post, the hosts found a winner in the dying seconds of an absorbing contest.
A late set-piece eventually found its way to Hilliard who kept his cool and showed great composure to find the back of the net.
The sound of the final whistle was greeted by scenes of ecstasy between players and fans alike and the race for the title truly begins now.
King’s Lynn Town: Street, Norman, Blake-Tracy, Frary (Parker 57), R. Fryatt, Jarvis, Clunan, King (Hilliard 71), Gash, Hawkins, Lappin. Subs: Siddons, Hilliard, L. Fryatt, Parker, Pearson.
Booked: Jarvis, Hawkins.
Scorer: Gash 49, Hawkins 62. Hilliard 90+3.
Hereford: Horsell, Oates, Pring (O’Shea 79), Murphy, Cullinane-Liburd, Deaman, Smith, Bird (Richards 79), Mills, Reffell, Symons. Subs: Haysham, O’Shea, Richards, Preen, Puddy.
Scorer: Cullinane-Liburd 8, Mills 45.