King's Lynn 2 Gloucester City 1
22nd September 2007
DEFENDER Craig Fleming made a fairytale start to his Linnets career as The Walks outfit closed the gap on Hemel Hempstead at the top of the table.
Fleming marked his debut with the opening goal and gave an assured display at the back as Lynn opened their home campaign with three crucial points.
Linnets boss Keith Webb said: "Craig Fleming was one of the positives for us. He used the pace of the ball for his headed goal and it was a great corner from Joe Francis.
"I felt Craig lasted the 90 minutes well.
"He was breathing a little hard in the final ten or 15 minutes but so were a lot of players as we had to dig deep and show a bit of resolve."
Webb added: "For the first 20 minutes I felt we played really well and we put ourselves in a good position.
"We should have had the game dead and buried, but then stopped doing what we are good at and Gloucester grew in belief."
Webb made two changes to his starting line up from the FA Cup win at Lincoln United.
Fleming replaced skipper Mark Warren (groin) at the back, while Adam Smith was restored to the centre of midfield for Steve Melton, who was ruled out with a sore knee.
John Turner and Greg Crane were both included on the bench after recovering from recent injuries.
Lynn, playing in front of a bumper and expectant crowd, got off to the ideal start when Francis' in-swinging corner was met by the head of Fleming just inside the box.
Four minutes later it was 2-0 when Bloomfield slid home his third goal of the campaign.
The Walks faithful sensed a goal avalanche on the cards, but referee Mr Feerick handed Gloucester a lifeline with a bizarre penalty award midway through the half after an alleged trip by Ben Chapman.
Linnets boss Webb said: "I still don't really know what the penalty was for so I don't really want to comment on it.
"The referee said it was for a foul on the player running into the box.
"He waved play on and when no advantage came, decided to bring it back.
"If it's a foul then give a penalty straight away – as players question the decision and when that happens you lose respect for the official."
Tom Webb fired home the contentious spot-kick to haul the Tigers back into the match.
But Lynn bounced back – Michael Frew's crisp header flew over before Nolan's half volley was just wide of the target.
The final winning margin would have been greater if it hadn't been for former Salisbury shotstopper Kevin Sawyer after the break.
Sawyer has always been a thorn in Lynn's side and the giant goalkeeper was at his very best for the Tigers in the last quarter of the contest.
First of all he pulled off a fine point-blank save to deny Matt Nolan in the 62nd minute, before saving a Nolan spot-kick, although the striker's penalty was a poor one, after a handball by Jamie Price.
Sawyer wasn't finished yet with a smart stop to deny Smith, after good work by Jack Defty, and a further save to thwart John Turner.
Although the centre of Lynn's midfield still gives some cause for concern, substitutes Turner and Defty both looked lively after their introductions late on.
: Howie, West, Chapman, Fleming, C. Defty, Camm, Frew (Turner 76), Smith, Nolan (J. Defty 81), Bloomfield, Francis (Fisk 58). Subs (not used): Murray, Crane.
Bookings: Fisk, Camm. Goals: Fleming (11), Bloomfield (14).
: Sawyer, Reid, Price (Whittington 78), Mustoe, Tomkins, Thompson, Smith, Webb, Pitcher, Griffin (Allard 43), Sykes (Taylor 66). Subs (not used): Bevan, Hamblin.
Bookings: Reid, Webb, Sawyer, Tomkins. Goal: Webb (22).
: S. Feerick (Peterborough). Attendance