Soham 1 Lowestoft Town 1 (Soham win 4-2 Pens)
Lowestoft were cruelly sent out of the League Cup, after conceding an equaliser deep in injury time and then losing 4-2 on penalties.
Soham: Bircham, Bennour, Baucutt, Bromwich, Asensi, Andrews, McCabe, Barker, Mason, Robinson, Harradine. Subs; Simpson, Orvis, Sessions.
Lowestoft: Jessup, Wilson, Britcher, Nelson, Cunningham, Jamie Godbold (Dasaolu 18 mins) (Kyle Godbold 87 mins), Okay, Cockrill, Gomes, Fitzgerald (Withington 85 mins), Stone. Subs; Dasaolu, Kyle Godbold, Withington, Doddington, Taylor.
Lowestoft turned their attention to cup football again with a League Cup match away to Soham Town Rangers. As per last season Lowestoft sent a mixture of First Team squad players and promising youngsters from the Reserve/U21's team, who had earned their chance after a fantastic start to the season.
Lowestoft's prodigal son, Jamie Godbold was also included in the squad, as he edges ever nearer to his 500th appearance; now on 498.
The game kicked off with Cunningham playing at left back and wearing the captains armband.
Lowestoft instantly started moving the ball around well across midfield and in the channels, with Wilson getting forward well from right back and Gomes looking lively.
It was a very solid and confident start by Lowestoft and Okay was already leading from the front in
midfield, barking good and clear orders to his team mates and praising the younger players.
The only thing Lowestoft were guilty of in their early play was not getting the ball into the box enough and Stone wasn't making himself much of a target either.
The Soham number 3 (Baucutt) had a long throw on him but Jessup was dealing with it whenever it came into the Lowestoft area.
Jamie Godbold would have been hoping for a longer night but after just 18 minutes he picked up a hamstring injury and was replaced by Jerry Dasaolu.
Reserve team player Adam Fitzgerald was partnered up top with Stone and Lowestoft's first opportunity came his way, after some sloppy defending by Soham, allowing Fitzgerald to pick the ball up and send a good hit in on goal, forcing the keeper to push over the bar.
Soham made an early change themselves but on the 25th minute Lowestoft's early play was rewarded, as the impressive Wilson got forward well and sent a first time cross in from the touchline for Fitzgerald to finish close in for 1-0.
It was a deserved lead and Lowestoft continued to knock the ball around well, with Okay working really hard in midfield and Lowestoft bossing the game.
As half time approached though, Soham forced Lowestoft back in the hope of going in level at the break. A Soham corner was sent in and with McCabe steering the ball across the box, a strike from close range by Robinson was blocked and cleared by Lowestoft. This was shortly followed by the ball dropping in the Lowestoft area but the defence was quick to react, blocking really well at the Soham players feet, as Lowestoft reached the break with a deserved 1-0 lead.
Lowestoft came out for the second half full of desire again and got straight to work.
Dasaolu was one of the younger players in the side but was working hard on the left but with the half settling down, Soham started to press more than they did in the first half but the Lowestoft defence was being ably lead by the tall and quick centre back Nelson, who was reading the game well.
Lowestoft nearly increased their lead with a good free kick from the left touchline by Gomes and a faint touch by the head of Dasaolu, forcing the keeper into a good save, to tip round the post. From the follow up play, central defender Britcher got his head to the ball but his header agonisingly came back off the base of the post.
At this point the Soham team and supporters were trying to get into the ref but Soham were giving fouls away and leaving the ref with no option.
Soham were working harder this half and Lowestoft were not able to boss the game as much as they did in the first half but they were closing Soham down well, as the game turned into a right old tussle.
Britcher had looked solid at the back with Nelson but after misreading a situation and losing concentration, he allowed Robinson to drift in for Soham but Jessup was out well and with Robinson labouring, Britcher got back well to make amends and clear for Lowestoft.
Lowestoft made a couple of late changes, bringing on Withington for Fitzgerald and Kyle Godbold for Dasaolu.
Lowestoft were heading for a well deserved victory but deep in injury time they were dealt the cruellest of blows, with a long throw being sent into the Lowestoft area and Robinson sending a weak overhead kick creeping into the bottom corner and beyond Jessup, to draw Soham level at 1-1.
Lowestoft very nearly went down the other end and extended their lead again but with Withington getting down the left well and some great work by Gomes, the Soham keeper saved well with his feet at the near post, from close in, to deny Lowestoft a certain winner.
The ref sounded his whistle and as is the case in the League Cup, the game went straight to penalties.
Soham got the shoot out underway with Baucutt stepping up first but Jessup saved down low to give Lowestoft an early upper hand.
Cunningham struck a great pen for 1-0, followed by Mason to slot in the bottom corner for 1-1.
Cockrill then drilled home confidently for 2-1 and Barker scored to level at 2-2.
Lowestoft then lost their advantage, as Okay stepped up but hit the outside of the post with his penalty and with Sessions scoring, Soham went 3-2 ahead.
Lowestoft's fate was then sealed, as Stone stepped up and sent a woeful penalty high and blazing over the bar and with Asensi finding the net for Soham, Lowestoft bowed out of the League Cup 4-2 on penalties.
It was a cruel result and a horrible way to go out, robbing the reserve team players of another game to gain some great experience. However, each and every player in the team and squad can hold their heads high, as it was a very good performance, with the first team players leading by example and the young reserve players being a credit to themselves and the club, in conducting themselves and playing at a standard much higher than their years.
It was a great team effort but there were standout performances by the tricky and quick feet of Gomes, especially in the first half. The very impressive, strong and pacey centre back Nelson and the good runs and tackling by right back Wilson. Cockrill also had a good outing and would have been pleased to get some match fitness under his belt.
When it comes to my man of the match though, it just had to been the immense Erkan Okay in central midfield. From the first whistle to the last, he lead from the front, vocally supported the younger players and barking orders at his team mates to keep them organised and in control. His passing and tackling was of high quality and he took charge of the game in the centre of the pitch.
The result was disappointing but the performance couldn't have been any better; well done lads.
Focus now turns to the FA Cup on Saturday, away to Braintree with the prospect of a place in the first round proper in touching distance.