Gloucester City 3 King's Lynn 2
29th September 1973
The Linnets' miserable Southern League record at Gloucester continued on Saturday with this defeat in a game they could have won.
Before Saturday, Lynn had only managed one draw from six visits to Gloucester. But with the memory of a convincing win over City in August and the knowledge that the home side were struggling to find form they hoped to break the "duck".
The easy way out would have been to say that it would have been different if Garry Steel had been in goal. But it is open to conjecture if he would have stopped any of the goals. More to the point is how they were conceded and why Lynn could not prise open a City defence that has a poor defensive record.
A lot of Lynn's trouble up front was in being unable to get behind the defence on the wings. With the tall, gangling Stuart Biggart holding up the centre of the City defence, it was important that Lynn should stretch the home side down the flanks. But David Clarke got an early knock and Tony Woolmer could get little change out of Hallam.
It was, perhaps, significant that player-manager Frank Woolmer included Ron Caley and Dominic McCallum in his squad. Although they did not play, these two and John Durrant whose name has come into the reckoning are all wingers Wignall has up his sleeve.
Playing an adventurous 4-2-4 line-up away from home - and reportedly Lynn are the only side in the division using this formation in away games - Lynn are always likely to concede goals on the premise that they will score as many and more.
Quite simply this failed on Saturday. Fortunately it was not a good day for other clubs around Lynn in the table and they did not drop down too far although leaders Banbury and Burton continue to set a fierce pace.
In the first half Lynn had more than double the attempts on goal than Gloucester. Wignall fired in three shots from outside the penalty area which went wide. Rudd and Elliot forced Stow to good diving saves.
But when a goalless half looked likely, Gloucester struck. From the second of two corners, Williams and Lewis combined to head into a big gap right in front of goal where the unmarked Will Fearns turned to score from six yards.
The Lynn equaliser came in the 59th minute, just after Wignall had put a header inches wide. City were wilting under pressure and Biggart brought down Elliot on the edge of the area as he chased a Brooks pass.
It was the classic situation for a Wignall free-kick. He knew exactly what he was going to do as City backed away to form a wall and his shot hit the net without Stow moving a muscle.
But inside five minutes Gloucester were back in front and it was winger Hargreaves who helped set it up. His free kick was knocked back to Ron Bird who slammed in the shot from the 18-yard line.
In the 70th minute Bird went racing through and Willis blocked his shot before Lindsay neatly cleared the danger, then Gardner headed against the bar from a corner. This was a sticky patch for Lynn and they fell further behind in the 74th minute. An inch-perfect centre from Bird found Gardner racing in to head home.
Lynn needed something to life them up - and got it through an even better goal by Keith Rudd four minutes later. He took a pass from Wright and rounded Lewis to create space for a searing right foot shot which went across Stow.
An equaliser was on when Rudd was obstructed only 12 yards out. The free kick was taken quickly, but Elliott pushed his shot over the top - and Gloucester breathed again.
: Stow, Vale, Hallam, Wixey, Biggart, Williams, Hargreaves, Gardner, Fearns, Lewis, Bird. (Sub Whitehouse).
: Willis, Richardson, Lindsay, Brooks, Painter, Wright, Woolmer, Elliott, Rudd, Wignall, Clarke. (Sub Smith)