Two-goal Ponticelli earns the Linnets opening-day draw

Jordan Ponticelli was on target twice as King’s Lynn Town and Hereford fought out an enthralling 2-2 draw on the opening day of the new National League North season.

Ponticelli cancelled out former Linnet Alex Babos’ opener for the Bulls going into the break before handing Lynnn the lead 14 minutes into the second half.

But the home side’s advantage lasted all of a minute as Jason Cowley netted an equaliser to earn the visitors a share of the spoils.

Mark Hughes and Adrian Whitbread discuss tactics
Mark Hughes and Adrian Whitbread discuss tactics

Manager Mark Hughes handed debuts to two of his summer signings – Kian Ronan and Tom Clifford – with five new faces filling the bench for the home side.

Paul Jones was given the nod between the posts ahead of Tommy Dixon-Hodge, with the latter believed to still be feeling the effects of a knock picked up against Corby Town in Lynn’s final friendly.

Hereford got off to the ideal start after seven minutes as Connor Stanley whipped in a cross from the left and the unmarked Babos headed home.

Lynn felt should have been awarded a penalty three minutes later when Ben Stephens appeared to have his heels clipped just inside the box – but referee Alex Sawden thought otherwise and awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area, which Josh Barrett blasted into the wall.

Hughes’ side were back on level terms after 27 minutes thanks to a beautiful piece of skill from Ponticelli who collected a deflected pass from Tommy Hughes before twice dummying the visiting goalkeeper and firing into the empty net.

Lynn took the lead in the 58th minute following a long spell of pressure at the start of the second half.

Barrett picked out Pontiecelli who saw his initial effort blocked before picking up the rebound and curling the ball past Curtis Pond.

But their lead lasted less than two minutes as Cowley cut in on his left foot and placed his shot past Jones.

Lynn missed a golden opportunity to take all three points 20 minutes from time when Hughes’ long ball over the top was picked up by Ben Stephens.

Stephens burst into the box, but rather than shoot himself he chose to square the ball to Ponticelli who was denied by the outstretched leg of Pond.

Hereford’s Jordan Cranston was on hand to clear Barrett’s goalbound effort off the line as another great chance went begging for the hosts six minutes later.

Paul Jones then pulled off a fine one-handed save to foil Adam Rooney to make sure Lynn went home with something from the game.

Lynn had two late chances to snatch the points with substitute Ismael Fatadjo being denied by a fine fingertip save from Pond.

Next up for the Linnets is a trip to Chester City next Saturday.

Team News

King’s Lynn Town v Hereford

Lynn: Jones, Ronan, Crowther, McFadden, Coulson, Clifford, Hargreaves (Spence 77), Hughes, Stephens (Fatadjo 88), Ponticelli, Barrett (Bartley 81). Subs: Smith, Oke.

Booked: Hughes.

Scorer: Ponticelli 27, 59

Hereford: Pond, Livingstone, Teixiera (Barkers 90), Babos, Cowley, Cranston, Derricott, Stanley (Obinna 60), Southern, Rooney, Cameron. Subs: Hewlett, Singh, Arthur.

Booked: Cranston, Babos.

Scorer: Babos 7, Cowley 60.

Attendance: 1,392.