Lowestoft Town 1 Ipswich Town Reserves 0
Suffolk Premier Cup holders Lowestoft Town booked their place in this season's final with an excellent footballing display in a 1-0 victory.
Lowestoft Town: Plummer, Saker (Williams 46 mins), Gaughran, Mitchell, Ainsley, Gleeson (Okay 79 mins), Dawkin, Fisk, Eagle, Francis (Lee Smith 42 mins), Frew. Subs; Okay, Lee Smith, Nelson, Henderson, Williams
Ipswich Town Reserves: Crowe, Hammond, Leddy, Thorsteinsson, Sowumni, Clarke, Burke (Winter 70 mins), Carson, Marriot (Galvin 85 mins), Lawrence, Timlin. Subs; Marsden, Berkane, Robinson, Winter, Galvin
Suffolk Premier Cup holders Lowestoft Town booked their place in this season's final with an excellent footballing display in a 1-0 victory against Ipswich Town Reserves. A sublime striker by the brilliant Frew, capped an excellent night for him and the Trawlerboys.
Lowestoft fielded a strong starting eleven and bench in their quest to retain the cup and gave the likes of Gleeson and Dawkin some match time to put under their belts.
A young Ipswich side lined up with the inclusion of a very tall defender by the name of Sowumni, who looked more like a basketball player. Lowestoft were set-up in a different formation than usual, as they went into the game in a 4-1-4-1 formation, with Mitchell and Gaughran at the back and Gleeson sitting in front of them between the defence and midfield. Dawkin and Francis held the wide roles and took turns, along with the midfield, in supporting the lone figure of Frew up front.
It was clear from the off that the game was different from Ryman League games, with both teams looking to play football and making for a good flowing start to the game.
It really suited Lowestoft to be able to play their football and they took little time in getting on the ball and knocking it all around the pitch with confidence and quality.
Francis was already looking bubbly down the left and after a few minutes he brought the ball down well to beat the right back Hammond and work a chance to shoot, sending a good angled shot across the face of goal and close to opening the scoring.
Ten minutes in Lowestoft were certainly controlling matters and with an excellent cross field ball finding Dawkins, he forced a save from Ipswich keeper Crowe and with the rebound coming out to him at a very tight angle, he sent the ball towards goal again and just wide by the smallest of margins.
Gleeson had been given a start to increase his match fitness on his road to recovery and was already showing the composure and class to his play that we'd all got used to before his back operation. He was sitting in front of the defence and linking with midfield in a role that we've not seen before but a role in which he looked very much at ease.
Both Francis and Dawkin were switching their positions out wide and with Fisk winning everything in the middle of the park, Lowestoft were certainly imposing themselves on Ipswich.
Lowestoft were playing some neat and effective football but to their credit Ipswich were defending well and at present they had stopped any major threat on the goal by the Trawlerboys.
Frew may have been dwarfed by the extremely tall Sowumni but he was putting in a performance of giant proportions; working hard across the frontline on his own, running the channels, winning the ball and bringing others into play. One of the players who was feeding off the endeavours of Frew was Eagle, who seemed to be enjoying himself in a central midfield position.
Francis had been lively and was certainly playing his part when Lowestoft attacked but with him feeling a slight twinge it was decided not to take any risks and with a few minutes left before halftime he was replaced by Lee Smith.
Lowestoft made a change during the break and with the teams coming out for the second half Williams had replaced Saker at right back.
It didn't take Lowestoft long to pick the play up again and push Ipswich back, with Frew keeping Sowumni and the Ipswich defence busy again.
All that was missing was a deserved goal for Lowestoft and with Dawkin doing really well to get to the touchline, he found Mitchell in the area who sent a bullet header towards goal but right at the keeper Crowe.
Ipswich were, however, starting to get into the game more than they had in the first half and were shutting Lowestoft down a bit quicker, while also finding some space and putting some play together of their own. The number 11 Timlin was showing quick feet and was trying to open up some space for Ipswich and pose some questions for the Lowestoft defence; all of which were met with a resolute defensive rearguard by Lowestoft.
Frew had worked tirelessly all game and very nearly played a key part in the deadlock being broken; showing a lovely touch on a searching ball from the Lowestoft defence to set up Dawkin on the edge of the area, who hit a shot on the turn which flew just wide of the far post.
With twenty minutes left on the clock Ipswich made a change and with Timlin persisting in trying to find an opening and the right back Hammond also pushing forward well, the game was turning into a good battle.
Lowestoft did then however appear to move up another gear and started to carve out opportunities to finally try and forge ahead in the match.
Frew showed great skill to spin on the edge of the area but wasn't able to get enough power on the shot to trouble the keeper and moments later Dawkin went flying through with a powerful run, very nearly picking Frew out at the far post, if not for Clarke cutting it out well for the keeper to then claim the ball and remove the danger.
With the final ten minutes approaching, Okay was introduced in place of Gleeson, who had put in a classy and collected performance in front of the defence, looking really solid on the ball and gaining some much needed match fitness for himself.
Eagle had continued to excel in his central role this half and with space opening up for him he tried his luck from the edge of the area but the shot was rising and ended up in the clutches of the keeper.
Just as thoughts were starting to turn towards extra time and penalties though, Williams sent a great ball forward from the back and with Frew coming inside and onto the pass, he gave the keeper no chance, hitting a sublime finish from just outside the area, across the keeper and into the far corner to send Lowestoft 1-0 up (82 mins). It really was a cracking finish and a great goal.
Ipswich made another change moments later but in truth Lowestoft had played some great football and with the final whistle sounding, they deservedly booked their place in the final.
It was an excellent footballing performance from Lowestoft with some great football on the deck and a good tempo to their play and even though Ipswich had defended well, Lowestoft kept plucking away and got the deserved result.
There were great performances throughout the whole team but there were some really big performances by some. Mitchell hasn't been at his best of late but he put in an assured, composed and controlled performance in defence. Fisk, especially in the first half, was winning everything in the middle and didn't give any Ipswich player time to breathe on the ball. Gleeson showed his class and experience on the ball and will be another positive boost to an already formidable defence when he fully returns. Dawkin never stopped working out wide and kept the right back busy right until the end with his pace and ability to almost have the ball stuck to his foot as he powers forward.
Eagle looked good in midfield and this looks like a role where his quality and footballing brain could really excel and offer a creative option for Lowestoft in the centre.
When it comes to the Man of the Match though, it had to be Michael Frew, even before his fantastic strike to win the game late on. He gave Sowumni a torrid time really and his work rate across the frontline, running the channels and continually bringing others into play, was exemplary.
A brilliant result and a splendid performance, as the run continues with another win and another clean sheet added to it.
Bring on Saturday, when the team return to league action away to Harrow Borough.