Eastbourne Borough 1 Lowestoft Town 2
Two top class finishes by Man of the Match Jake Reed, sees Lowestoft Town progress in the FA Trophy with a 2-1 win at Eastbourne Borough.
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Eastbourne Borough: Carey, Hamilton, Beale, Aldred, Simpemba, Raymond, Hare (Khinda-John 80 mins), Parsons (Lok 57 mins), Pacquette (Ashikodi 70 mins), Johnson, McCallum
Subs not used; Worrall, Sinclair
Lowestoft Town: Jones, Ainsley, Hayles, Gaughran, Haynes-Brown, Zielonka (Louis 80 mins), Jarvis, Okay, Adam Smith, Reed (Radomski 87 mins), Bammant (Woods-Garness 70 mins)
Subs not used; Marsden, Jessup
It was a staggering fourteenth away game on the spin in FA competitions for Lowestoft, who went into the game with Henderson and Lee Smith still out. They were joined on the sidelines by Fisk who is suffering from tendinitis and Eagle who was suspended following his red card against Tamworth. The match did however see a return for Okay and a start for Zielonka.
The match got underway on a good surface, considering the recent wet spells.
Lowestoft started the match by pressing the Eastbourne players early on, not giving them time on the ball and rushing them. Up top for Lowestoft, Bammant was facing up against Simpemba in the Eastbourne defence and in the first few exchanges it was Simpemba who was clearly dominating the battle, especially in the air.
Reed found himself up against the same defender early on in the match and had more joy, nicking the ball off Simpemba and heading into the box to open himself up for a shot. However, with him not getting enough purchase on the ball, the keeper was able to get down and claim easily for the home side.
In their first menacing move forward, a good ball was sent in from the right for Eastbourne by Hare but his cross was headed behind by a watchful Gaughran.
It had been a fairly high tempo opening fifteen minutes but overall the passing quality was lacking and both midfields were being bypassed.
As the half hour mark approached it was the home sides midfield who were slowly starting to move the ball around more, resulting in an increase in possession.
There was also a visible threat forming in the shape of McCallum, who was showing well for the ball and starting to pull a few strings, in what appeared to be a floating role across the front line. It was McCallum who got the better of Hayles out on the right of the Lowestoft defence, as Eastbourne looked to find a chink in the Lowestoft defensive armour but Haynes-Brown was on guard to block his ball across the box, averting the danger for the blues.
Moments later, shouts of handball by the home supporters were sent in the direction of Gaughran in the blues defence but with the ball having been hit at him hard and his hands down by his side, it was certainly a ball to hand moment and the correct decision by the referee not to award anything for Eastbourne.
The home support were vocal again as Raymond went into the referees book but with him throwing himself into a slightly mistimed tackle on Haynes-Brown, he left the referee with little choice. Moments later it was a booking a piece, as a high foot on Raymond saw Okay shown the yellow card.
An Ainsley corner flashed right across the Eastbourne goalmouth just before halftime and just needed a touch but nobody could get one in a blue shirt.
The halftime whistle finally arrived and Eastbourne, who have been in the conference premier in recent seasons, were ahead on points at the break. However, neither side had carried much threat up to this point.
Ten minutes into the second half both teams were already knocking the ball around better than they had in the first half.
It was Lowestoft who were looking more fluid though and with the hardworking Reed applying a nice touch to set Okay in, it looked good for the blues. However, the Turkish midfielder took his chance too early, making it very easy for the keeper, when he had plenty of time to take another touch and forge a better effort.
The first change of the match came in the fifty-seventh minute and it was for the home side, as Lok was introduced in place of Parsons.
The sixty minute mark arrived and with it the game started to become more stretched, with Lowestoft quicker to the ball and seeing a good spell of play as a result of this.
The game was still finely balanced though, as an Eastbourne corner was rolled to Raymond just outside the Lowestoft area but his swerving effort was right down the throat of Jones between the Lowestoft goalposts.
The game looked to have nil, nil written all over it and the only way that was going to change was via a mistake or a sensational individual effort. Thankfully for Lowestoft it was the later and what a sensational finish it was for the blues to take the lead. A great cross from the left by Haynes-Brown found Reed and with him getting the ball under control to leave his marker stranded; he fired an unstoppable strike into the top corner from ten yards out, giving the keeper no chance and making the score 1-0 (65 mins).
With twenty minutes of the game remaining it was time for the tactical substitutions to come into play, as Eastbourne replaced a relatively quiet Pacquette with Ashikodi and Lowestoft replaced a similarly ineffective Bammant with Woods-Garness.
Eastbourne were naturally now starting to throw a few more players forward, in order to chase the required equaliser to keep them in the trophy.
The match then saw an extraordinary slice of luck for both sides, with the ball coming nicely to Lok and the defence opening up for him to have a shot at goal. The luck initially looked to be with the home side as Jones slipped and the shot by Lok looked like finding its target but in a levelling up of luck by Lady Luck herself, the effort that looked destined to draw Eastbourne level, came back off the foot of the post and eventually into the clutches of Jones in the blues goal.
Fifteen minutes remained and the home side still had hope with Lok proving to be the only real shining light for them since coming on. It was roll your sleeves up time for the home side, as Lowestoft looked set to endure a tough fifteen minutes to see the win out. However, in the very first of those remaining fifteen minutes, Eastbourne levelled things up and it was that man Lok who got himself on the end of a corner to head down and into the net for 1-1 (75 mins).
The most likely outcome now looked to be a replay on Tuesday night but just four minutes after the home side had equalised, Lowestoft and Reed struck again to restore their lead. There was space starting to appear in the Eastbourne defence and with a lovely flighted ball by Woods-Garness finding Reed, the striker showed ice cold composure to set himself and execute another great finish for 2-1 (79 mins).
The goal saw an instant change from the home side as Khinda-John replaced Hare.
Lowestoft made a change of their own as Louis replaced Zielonka and within minutes Louis was in the thick of it, heading on to release Reed for a chance of a hat-trick but on this occasion his effort cleared the bar from twenty yards out.
Five minutes remained with just one goal in it and with Lok and McCallum still looking like having the ability to pull something out of the bag, Lowestoft flooded the middle with Radomski coming on for two goal hero Reed.
Eastbourne tried to rescue the game as the final few minutes passed and four minutes of stoppage time were entered but Lowestoft held firm and on the final whistle had secured a fantastic away win to progress in the FA Trophy.
Eastbourne Borough currently sit eighth in the Vanarama Conference South and this was by no means an easy victory for the blues. They had to work hard and show a great deal of patience in their game before taking their opportunities and making them count.
The Lowestoft defence as a whole restricted clear cut chances for Eastbourne and never eased off, playing their part in securing the win. Okay put in a second half performance that allowed Lowestoft to see more of the ball than they had in the first half and in the few games he has played this season, he's looked consistently good.
Reed was already putting in a good shift up top before his two top class finishes, of which the first was completely unstoppable. These well taken goals were crucial in a match lacking chances and that coupled with his effort, secured Man of the Match honours for Jake Reed.
The draw for the next round is Monday but for now Lowestoft immediately turn their attention back to the league, when they travel to Tamworth on Tuesday night in the Vanarama Conference North.