Stourbridge 1 King's Lynn Town 2
Magnificent King’s Lynn Town secured the runners-up position for a second consecutive year as they leapfrogged hosts Stourbridge on a dramatic final afternoon of the regular Southern Premier Central Division season.
The Linnets were already guaranteed a home play-off semi-final on Wednesday evening, however Saturday’s heroics now mean that if Stratford Town are beaten at The Walks in midweek, Lynn will now host the winners of the other tie between Stourbridge and Alvechurch on Bank Holiday Monday.
Manager Ian Culverhouse was forced into one change to his starting line up from the team that earned a late point with Needham Market on Easter Monday with Ryan Hawkins coming in for unwell skipper Michael Clunan who was unable to travel with the squad.
Hawkins quickly fizzed in a shot from distance and a determined Rory McAuley won the ball strongly before shooting wide as the visitors attempted to use the gale force wind that was blowing behind their backs to their advantage.
Robbie Thompson Brown’s free-kick at the other end saw work for Alex Street, but it was The Linnets who were enjoying the better chances.
Michael Gash drilled in a free-kick that somehow hit both posts but failed to hit James Wren’s net and a McAuley header from a Frazer Blake-Tracy free kick was gathered by Wren as the Glassboys struggled to contain a vibrant Town.
Finally the pressure told shortly before the break when, after a delicious move involving Chris Henderson and Ross Barrows, Adam Marriott swept the ball beyond Wren to give Lynn a deserved lead at the interval.
Marriott’s cross-cum-shot was gathered by Wren shortly after the restart as the Linnets continued to press.
Former Linnet Greg Mills fired over the bar as the hosts enjoyed some possession and assistance of the wind but it was the clinical Marriott who doubled his sides advantage just after the hour.
Ryan Jarvis played a delightful ball out to Gash who beat his man before shooting towards Wren’s back post where the lurking Marriott applied a simple finish for his 24th goal of the season, which was enough to win him the golden boot award for the league. Mills unleashed a 20-yard rocket to reduce the arrears for Stourbridge with 20 minutes remaining to ensure a nerve-jangling ending for the masses of travelling supporters, bedecked in blue and gold.
Lynn continued to attack with Henderson firing over from close range while Marriott spurned a great opportunity for a treble after robbing Aaron Hayden of the ball before firing wide.
Afterwards the victorious Linnets team were presented with their runners-up medals and trophy in front of their travelling support.
In the background was manager Culverhouse who watched on knowing his team are now just three wins away from a sensational return to National League football.