King’s Lynn and Brackley Town share the spoils in four-goal National League North thriller
King’s Lynn Town 2 Brackley Town 2
Injury-ravaged King's Lynn Town saw a two-goal lead slip from their grasp as they came within two minutes of inflicting a first defeat of the season on Brackley Town.
Ismael Fatjado's opener was added to by Bartosz Cybulski early in the second half before former Boston United frontman Jordan Crawford pulled a goal back for the Saints.
It was one-way traffic for long periods of the second half and the pressure eventually told as James Armson squeezed home an equaliser in the second minute of stoppage time.
The late leveller was tough on Lynn who put their bodies on the line in a thrilling encounter at The Walks.
The Linnets were virtually down to their last 16 fit senior players going into the game.
Striker Ben Stephens became the latest injury casualty for the home outfit, joining goalkeeper Tommy Dixon-Hodge, defender Adam Crowther and midfielder Cameron Hargreaves on the treatment table
And to add to Hughes' selection woes, the Linnets were again without both of their full-backs with Tom Clifford serving the second of a three-game suspension and Kian Ronan away on international duty with Gibraltar.
Lynn found themselves on the back foot early on but immediately lifted the mood at The Walks by taking the lead with their first sight of goal after nine minutes.
The move was started by Josh Barrett whose delightful crossfield pass picked out Jack Smith on the right.
Smith showed a touch of class to roll the ball across the box and Fatjado's first-time effort took a slight deflection before beating Danny Lewis between the visiting posts.
Brackley had a chance to reply almost immediately as Tyler Lyttle's cross flashed across the face of Paul Jones' goal.
It took a fine fingertip save from Lewis to deny Lynn a second goal as Cybuski's header from a Sion Spence cross was turned behind for a corner.
Lynn's Jones was at full-stretch to parry away a James Armson centre as Brackley began to gain some momentum towards the end of the first half.
Jones was called upon to thwart a header from Crawford before Lynn immediately broke up field and Barrett's long-range effort whistled over the woodwork.
There was still time for the dangerous Danny Newton to fire over from a few yards out deep in first half stoppage time as Lynn took a slender advantage into the break.
Lynn were forced into a change for the start of the second half as Jordan Ponticelli replaced Kyle Callan-McFadden and the home side switched to a flat back four.
It didn't upset their focus though as they doubled their advantage three minutes into the second half.
Ponticelli had three players around him as he crossed from the left and Cybulski was on hand to stab the ball home - with the help of a deflection - past a bemused Lewis.
A night of deflected efforts continued as Brackley pulled a goal back through Crawford nine minutes later.
The Lynn goal began to live a charmed life as Armson's shot through a crowd of players came back off the post.
A weak shot from substitute Quaine Bartley offered Lynn some respite before Armson planted a header wide of the target for the visitors with the goal at his mercy.
Home substitute Charlie Royle teed up Barrett but his effort sailed over the bar.
The pressure was relentless for the final 15 minutes but Spence should have added a third in stoppage time when he blazed over the bar
Brackley went straight up the other end and Armson squeezed home an equaliser to break Lynn hearts.
King’s Lynn Town: Jones, Oke, Coulson, McFadden (Ponticelli 46), Smith, Isaacson, Hughes, Spence, Fatadjo (Royle 78), Barrett, Cybulski (Bartley 61). Subs not used: Delgado, Sandford.
Booked: Barrett, Hughes, Bartley.
Scorers: Fatadjo 9, Cybulski 48.
Brackley Town: Lewis, Carline, Calder, Murombedzi, Matwasa, Bates (McHale 58), Armson, Lyttle, Crawford (Roberts 78), Lilly. Subs: O’Sullivan, Worby, Turner.
Booked: Lilly, Newton.
Scorer: Crawford 57, Armson 90+2.