Lowestoft Town 0 Gloucester City 3
In a poor game of football, Lowestoft Town fail to get the better of a struggling Gloucester City side in a heavy 3-0 home defeat.
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Division Two of the Macron Norfolk & Suffolk Youth League
Lowestoft Town: Jessup, Ainsley, Hayles, Gleeson, Haynes-Brown, Lee Smith, Jarvis, Radomski, Adam Smith (Eagle 70 mins), Reed, Bammant (Louis 70 mins)
Subs not used; Zielonka, Marsden, Jones
Gloucester City: Stephens, Avery, Billy Jones, Hamilton, Williams, Connolly, Miller, Webb, Parker (Groves 56 mins), Mann (White 77 mins), Modest (Green 84 mins)
Subs not used; Richards, Chris Jones
The two sides last met in the FA Cup in 2009/10 when Lowestoft Town won a sensational fourth round qualifying replay 4-2 at the Crown Meadow. Pre-match memories of that game were testament to how far the club have come since that match and an awful lot of thanks is owed to our fantastic Chairman (Gary Keyzor), Director of Football (Craig Fleming), Joint Managers (Mick Chapman and Ady Gallagher) and all of the players past and present for getting us to where we are today.
Coming into the match the visitors had newly signed striker Harry White on the bench. While Lowestoft saw the return from injury of Jarvis and Gleeson to the starting line-up and Jones on the bench. Woods-Garness, Henderson and Fisk were all missing as Lowestoft continue to nurse players back to full fitness.
The game got underway on a fresh and sunny day at the Crown Meadow with Lee Smith quick to impose himself down the right and send in a couple of early balls to test the Gloucester defence.
The blues were looking fairly comfortable on the ball as the ten minute mark passed but even with Lee Smith looking hungry down the right, the Lowestoft central midfield were not quite taking control of the game.
As the twenty minute mark arrived Gloucester were starting to gain a bit more possession and with Modest sending a good cross in from the right, Haynes-Brown was forced to head behind.
Lowestoft had really dropped off from their promising opening ten minutes and a rocket was fired into the team from the bench by joint-manager Chapman and followed up on the pitch by captain Gleeson, who was asking more from his players.
Gloucester continued to build, forcing Jessup into the first save of the match, low at his near post. The chance for the away team momentarily lifted the home side with Reed stinging the keepers hands before looking across to see the offside flag. Then Reed showed good work again for Lowestoft on the edge of the box to see Bammant run onto his knock down but the keeper, Stephens was down at the strikers feet quickly before he could get a toe on it.
Five minutes of the half remained as a well worked throw saw Ainsley deliver from the right, with the ball just needing a touch but Stephens was down well in the Gloucester goal to deal with the danger.
One minute of stoppage time was added at the end of the half before both sides left the field of play at the break in what had been an untidy half of football.
It took ten minutes of the second half before Lowestoft slowly started to impose themselves on the opposition but again they were struggling to make any really headway or to find quality in the final third to test the Gloucester defence.
After charging down a Jessup kick and taking it fully in the midriff earlier in the half, Parker was unable to continue and forced Gloucester into their first change with the introduction of Groves.
Lowestoft continued to edge the possession as the sixty minute mark approached but a mixture of defensive blocks and a lack in execution was seeing Lowestoft frustrated in the final third.
The game needed a goal and luckily for the visitors it came for them following an unfortunate slip by Gleeson at the back. The slip allowed Modest to get in down the right, who waited for Jessup to commit himself before squaring it across to the substitute Groves, who was right in front of goal to tuck it away for 1-0 (64 mins). Shortly after the goal Jarvis went into the referees book and with twenty minutes remaining, Lowestoft looked to shake it up from the bench as Louis and Eagle replaced Bammant and Adam Smith in a double substitution for the blues. The two substitutes were involved instantly as a great knock down by Louis allowed him to feed Eagle who's excellent cross from out wide forced the Gloucester defence to see it behind before a blue shirt could connect.
The central midfield for Lowestoft had struggled to get into the game first half and Radomski had been a shadow of himself from previous games. However, with the Polish midfielder showing for the ball more he picked out Louis who sent in a great low shot that Stephens had to get a strong hand to on the deck to make a great save for Gloucester.
Gloucester turned to their bench as their new striker White was introduced in place of Mann but it was the two Lowestoft substitutes of Eagle and Louis who were making the difference, as Lowestoft looked to force an equaliser with a well dummied ball that saw a committed Gloucester defence block the effort.
Ten minutes now remained for Lowestoft to turn the game around but following a foul on Modest and a booking for Haynes-Brown, matters got a whole lot worse for the Trawlerboys. Billy Jones stepped over the free-kick for the away side and with him hitting the ball sweetly and Jessup having to adjust and unable to get across, the ball hit the back of the net and the Tigers roared as they went into what now looked an unattainable 2-0 lead (81 mins). Lowestoft had now inexcusably shut off and two should have instantly been three, as the impressive Modest strolled onto the ball ahead of a number of blues shirts before rolling his effort past the post when he should have scored.
Gloucester made their third and final change with Green replacing Modest with little over five minutes remaining. However, two minutes from full time the game was firmly put to bed by the Tigers with them all too easily flighting the ball in from the left and their new signing having the simplest of tasks to head past Jessup for 3-0 (88 mins).
Four minutes of stoppage time were indicated but a shot right at the keeper from Gleeson and a weak effort by Louis summed the day up for Lowestoft, who at the final whistle could have no qualms with the result.
Lowestoft will be bitterly disappointed to have followed up their efforts against Oxford City with today's performance but one thing the team do have in abundance is team spirit and togetherness. Everyone knew that it would be a tough and testing season and the players will no doubt be looking to dig deep for what will be a testing away day double-header, as they make the long trip to Guiseley next Saturday and then Stalybridge Celtic three days later.
Today's Man of the Match was Lee Smith, who worked hard all game and tried to have an influence on proceedings for the blues.
Lowestoft Town are next in action on Saturday when they make the long trip to Guiseley.