Worcester City 2 Lowestoft Town 1
Lowestoft Town lose 2-1 at Worcester City with both sides reduced to ten but put in a great effort and gutsy second half showing.
Worcester City: Vaughan, Williams, Weir, Hutchison (Rowe 55 mins), Thomas, Jackman, Nti (Udoh 83 mins), Deeney, Symons, Geddes (McDermott 80 mins), Gudger
Subs not used; Wright, Veiga
Lowestoft Town: Jones, Hayles (Marsden 83 mins), Gaughran, Haynes-Brown, Smith, Henderson, Jarvis, Okay (Radomski 67 mins), Eagle, Bammant, Louis (Fisk 54 mins)
Subs not used; Hodd
This was always going to be a tough and testing midweek away game and with some players and management struggling to get away from work early, Lowestoft went into the game with Fleming in charge of a squad of fifteen players.
In the build up the home side made a thoughtful and very nice gesture to a lucky few Lowestoft supporters by handing them a free, limited edition pin badge to mark the first ever match between the two sides.
Lowestoft were in their new third strip and made one change from Saturday with the unavailable Ainsley replaced at right back by Hayles as the game got underway at Aggborough, the home of Kidderminster Harriers.
An early booking came for the home side with Lowestoft breaking out from the back and with a nice back-heal by Louis, Bammant looked to have got away but Thomas took him to ground and went into the book.
Straight up the other end Worcester hit back and with Nti getting in behind and to the byline, he set the ball back for Geddes but a great chance of an early lead was wasted as he shot wide from six yards.
Worcester were using both channels early on with Gudger down the left and the already tricky looking Nti down the right. Nti nearly gave Worcester an early lead from a Jackman corner but with the ball making its way through to him at the far post, he placed his effort wide, as Lowestoft survived two good early chances for Worcester.
Just ten minutes had passed when the first big decision of the game was made by the referee, as Worcester were reduced to ten. Both Jarvis and Worcester captain Deeney went in competitively for a ball in the centre circle but with Deeney going in with both feet he was taking a risk and with the referee following the letter of the law, he was given his marching orders after just ten minutes.
Deeney had been influential in a solid start by the home side and Lowestoft took little time in trying to make the extra man count with Henderson cutting in from the left and carrying the ball across the edge of the area, before pulling a shot at goal just wide. The Lowestoft midfield were now getting into it more and both forwards were working hard to link in with them at the twenty minute mark.
Nti, however was looking a handful already for Worcester and he fired a quick reminder of his threat with him spinning off Smith in the Lowestoft area and lashing a venomous effort inches over the bar.
Lowestoft were now trying to mix it up a bit with Eagle and Henderson swapping out wide and with Eagle coming in off the right, he tested the keeper Vaughan who could only parry his effort into the path of the oncoming Bammant but yet again Vaughan saved to deny Lowestoft the lead.
The ten men of Worcester were working hard but Lowestoft were using the ball well across midfield as the thirty minute mark passed.
A header from Louis hit into the back of a closely marking defender but then at the other end and with Lowestoft looking like they were doing okay, Worcester scored.
Gudger set a cross from the left and the shortest player on the pitch, Geddes rose to place a good header to the right of Jones for 1-0 (36 mins). Lowestoft very nearly hit back when Jarvis touched in Bammant but Hutchison cut it out as a physical and aerially strong Worcester retained possession through to a halftime lead.
Worcester came out for the second half looking to force the game early on and with two early chances they nearly doubled their lead. Firstly Geddes touched it to Symons, who saw his effort deflected over and then from the corner the ball wouldn't fall right for Lowestoft to clear and the dangerous Nti side footed an effort right at Jones.
A brief moment of respite saw Eagle send in a good cross from the left for Lowestoft but with both Louis and the advanced Hayles going for the ball, neither could fully connect with their heads.
Action switched back to the other end and in his second big decision of the night, the referee made it one red card a piece. Eagle was in a deep position out on the left and with him flying in off the ground he didn't get the player but was reckless and received his marching orders in the fifty-first minute. The punishment for Lowestoft was two-fold when from the resulting free-kick from the right, Nti got on the end to guide another Worcester header passed Jones for 2-0 (52 mins).
Lowestoft needed to react and with him clearly disappointed to be coming off, Louis was replaced by Fisk. At the same time Worcester made their first change with Rowe replacing an injured looking Hutchison.
The introduction of Fisk was telling for Lowestoft and with them two goals down they started to find space and move the ball around well. All that was missing was something on the end of their build up play, as the current lack of attacking options from the bench and in the squad started to show.
The team kept trying though and their gutsy performance with Fisk and others giving it their all, ensured that the game was still not over if they could find a goal.
A goal looked in the offing when Smith took it upon himself to have a go from fully thirty-five yards but the keeper was equal to it and tipped it over.
Lowestoft made their second change with Radomski replacing the off-colour Okay and with just over twenty minutes to go the game really opened up.
Worcester tried to seal it with the strong and very impressive Symons showing great strength to get a shot away after being found by Jackman but luckily for Lowestoft it was right at Jones.
Ten minutes now remained as Worcester made their two final changes and Lowestoft made their final change with Marsden replacing Hayles. It had been a good effort by Hayles, who had put in a grafting performance and had got forward at every opportunity in the second half.
Lowestoft needed something and needed something fast but had to survive a scare with the ball luckily dropping nicely for substitute Udoh and Jones having to make a double save in quick succession. It was Lowestoft who were finishing the stronger though with Fisk pivotal in their ball retention and the introduced Marsden looking sharp and threatening.
The games was now in its final minute and with Smith delivering a free-kick from the right, Henderson got himself on the end and it was 2-1 (90 mins). Could it be? Do they have time to grab an equaliser? Everyone connected with Lowestoft were hoping that stoppage time could see them grab a leveller and moments after making it 2-1, Henderson got the ball on the edge of the box before turning to send a dipping effort inches over the bar. It was close and Lowestoft now had the bit between their teeth but with stoppage time coming and going it was too late and the final whistled sounded to consign Lowestoft to their second defeat of the season.
Lowestoft never fully got going until they were two down but showed guts and determination in a second half that was just missing someone to put the ball in the net.
The two key players for Worcester were Symons and Nti. Symons was very Defty like in his superb aerially ability and all round strength, while Nti was a handful throughout and difficult to pick up at times.
For Lowestoft, Louis carried on from his improved performance on Saturday and was unlucky to be sacrificed when Eagle was sent off. Bammant and Henderson worked hard and Hayles grafted and got forward well, even when dead on his feet towards the end. The second half was a good and gutsy showing by Lowestoft who passed the ball well, with it all instigating from the introduction of and the industrious efforts of Fisk. He may have only played forty minutes of football but Fisk changed the game for Lowestoft when coming on in midfield and is my Man of the Match.
On a tough and tiring midweek away game with players and management needing to get off work early; I have nothing but respect and admiration for all of them and as a team they have given everything so far. We will all go again as one on Saturday.
Come on you blues!!!