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Linnets complete remarkable turnaround after a season full of drama




Warrington 2 King's Lynn Town 3

When Ian Culverhouse returned in November last year, most King's Lynn Town fans would have pinched themselves if you'd told them the club would win promotion a little over seven months later.

But seeing was believing at Cantilever Park as the Linnets completed a remarkable turnaround to make the step back up to the National League North with a stunning 3-2 Super Play-Off victory over Warrington.

King's Lynn Town players celebrate their win in the Super Play-Off against Warrington. Picture: Tim Smith (10122973)
King's Lynn Town players celebrate their win in the Super Play-Off against Warrington. Picture: Tim Smith (10122973)

Such a feat seemed unthinkable given all the obstacles they have had to overcome, including a change of manager, who ended up failing miserably, four defeats in their opening six games, no home league win until the end of September and a play-off fixture fiasco which made the Brexit process look simple.

But after temporary bosses Robbie Back and Neil Fryatt steadied the ship and given the squad some fresh belief, it was left to Culverhouse, his new assistant Paul Bastock and the players to work their magic.

Lynn chief Culverhouse said: "This is a massive achievement for the football club, to do what we've done and to come from where we were.

Emotional King's Lynn Town manager Ian Culverhouse sinks to his knees after watching his side clinch promotion. Picture: Tim Smith. (10122979)
Emotional King's Lynn Town manager Ian Culverhouse sinks to his knees after watching his side clinch promotion. Picture: Tim Smith. (10122979)

"It started "Robbie (Back) and Neil (Fryatt) taking the job on, getting the players in and back focused on the job and for the players to then go on the run we have is incredible.

"I said after the Alvechurch game away if we got this thing rolling it becomes unstoppable and these players have just kept on rolling and rolling and believed in what were doing.

"They've done the town proud and I'm also so pleased for the supporters who have turned out in their hundreds today and to share this with them is special.

It's party time. King's Lynn fans celebrate at the final whistle. Picture: Tim Smith. (10123181)
It's party time. King's Lynn fans celebrate at the final whistle. Picture: Tim Smith. (10123181)

"I'm also pleased for the chairman (Stephen Cleeve) as he's backed us massively. We came up on Friday night and our preparation was spot on.

"It doesn't guarantee you anything and it costs money to do what we did, but he's backed us massively and he's got his rewards."

A precision strike from Jordan Richards gave Lynn a deserved lead in Cheshire, but two headers from Warrington defender Ben Garrity left the Walks outfit on the ropes and facing play-off heartache for a second successive campaign.

Defender Rory McAuley with his mum. Picture: Tim Smith. (10122981)
Defender Rory McAuley with his mum. Picture: Tim Smith. (10122981)

But they met a Linnets side determined not to make this their last hurrah of an incredible season.

And fittingly, it was Marriott and Gash - two of Lynn's most consistent performers this campaign - who saw them over the line and back into the National League.

Despite the pressure on his shoulders, Marriott was the coolest man on the pitch as he stepped up to covert a 85th minute penalty to equalise.

Then it was the turn of Gash to provide his party piece as he produced a piece of brilliance to fire Lynn ahead with six minutes of extra-time remaining - a lead they saw out without too many more alarms.

King's Lynn Town manager Ian Culverhouse. Picture: Tim Smith (10124073)
King's Lynn Town manager Ian Culverhouse. Picture: Tim Smith (10124073)

Gash's strike sparked jubilant celebrations on and off the pitch and, after what seemed an eternity to the final whistle, Culverhouse, normally so calm and collected, slumped to his knees in delight.

Culverhouse said: "Those two (Marriott and Gash) have led us all season. They have been absolutely magnificent, they all have. They have been magnificent to a man.

"He (Marriott) was so cool taking the penalty," said Culverhouse. He's ridiculous isn't he? He knew what was on the game and he knew he had to do it.

"Gash's finish - that's a goal scorer isn't it? To caress it into the far corner like he did.

"When he cut inside I think there were a few of them saying 'no, no, no' but he caught it perfectly, and what a finish.

King's Lynn Town chairman Stephen Cleeve. Picture: Tim Smith. (10123179)
King's Lynn Town chairman Stephen Cleeve. Picture: Tim Smith. (10123179)

"They have done it all season, they have led the line and got us up field in every game and we knew it was going to be a really psychical battle here because they have had a hell of a season.

"We knew what we were going to come into, but having those two up front gives you a chance, a massive, massive chance, and they stood up today and led the team and carried team there."



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