King’s Lynn Town will go into their final league game of the season at second-placed Stourbridge on Saturday needing a win to secure the Southern Premier Central Division runners-up spot after a dramatic afternoon at The Walks.
Defender Rory McAuley powered home a header deep in second half stoppage time to earn the home side a point when for long periods it looked as if Adam Mills 35th minute strike would see all three points heading back across the border.
Lynn boss Ian Culverhouse shuffled his pack following Saturday’s big win at St Neots with both Ross Barrows and Chris Henderson returning to the starting line up at the expense of Aaron Jones and Craig Parker.
Both teams found problems with the intense heat and bobbling underfoot conditions but the home side created the better chances with Ryan Jarvis forcing Jake Jessup into a palmed save and Adam Marriott's low centre narrowly avoiding two onrushing players. Needham took the lead with their first meaningful attack when the tricky Joe Marsden evaded his marker and then proceeded to feed Mills the ball who had the simple task of prodding the ball beyond Alex Street from two yards out to put his side a goal to the good.
Marriott planted a free-kick over Jessup’s bar following the restart with the same player forcing the visiting custodian into a save shortly after.
McAuley sent a header wide following Michael Clunan’s corner and Michael Gash’s bouncing shot forced Jessup into a near post save in what looked as if was going to be a frustrating afternoon for the home side.
However with time almost up, and with Street in the penalty area following an earlier corner, McAuley got up highest to nod home following Frazer Blake-Tracy’s deep cross to earn the Linnets a valuable point and more importantly home advantage in the play-off semi-finals scheduled for Wednesday week.
Speaking afterwards Culverhouse applauded his side's never say die attitude, saying: "They have kept going out there and that late goal has been the just reward for their persistence.
"We weren’t at it today at times and I think we looked a little lethargic at times if I’m honest.
"The quality wasn’t there but we have shown an abundance of character to force an equaliser against a side who have came here with a plan to defend in numbers and it has almost worked for them.
"We are grateful for the point and we now know what we have to do on Saturday at Stourbridge."