Lowestoft Town 3 Tamworth 2
A cracking game of football sees Tamworth fight back from two down but Lowestoft Town claim the three points with an Eagle winner in a 3-2 win.
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Lowestoft Town: Jones, Hayles, Gleeson (Eagle 46 mins), Gaughran, Haynes-Brown, Ainsley, Jarvis, Fisk, Adam Smith, Reed (Radomski 86 mins), Bammant
Subs not used; Zielonka, Marsden, Jessup
Tamworth: Belshaw, Vidal, James, Adams, Townsend (Wilkins 89 mins), Sampson, Taylor (Hibbert 59 mins), Clarke, Jackson, Stychie, Daniels
Subs not used; Trainer, Morrell, Gill
Prior to the match a minutes silence was impeccably observed for John Cox who had been supporting the blues for 75 years and passed away last week aged 85 (he was still a season ticket holder). Also earlier this week Glyn Hopkins, one of the management team at our neighbours Gorleston FC who passed away suddenly whilst still in his 30's. Our thoughts go out to both families.
Tamworth included eighteen year old defender Josh Sampson in their defence, after bringing him in on loan from Preston to cover a shortage at the back due to injuries and suspensions. While player/manager and Ex-Wrexham boss Andy Morrell named himself on the bench.
For Lowestoft it's still a case of nursing some of the injured back, with Okay out, Henderson missing with a groin injury, Lee Smith out with a back injury and Woods-Garness continuing his rehab on the sidelines.
The match got underway at a very wet Crown Meadow and was just a couple of minutes old when a cross from the left by James turned into a shot for Tamworth, forcing Jones to turn it over the bar in the Lowestoft goal.
Lowestoft were settling into the game quicker though, as Reed found his way in behind the defence to sit a ball up to Smith at the far post but the defender come winger couldn't get enough on his header to trouble Belshaw in the Tamworth goal.
Lowestoft were now increasing their tempo, passing the ball around well and not shying away from trying their luck from distance, with Haynes-Brown fizzing a swerving shot in on goal and then moment later, Ainsley having a pop from outside the area. Fisk and Jarvis had already grabbed control of the middle and with both Ainsley and Smith showing real quality in their deliveries from out wide, the blues were looking good.
The visitors eventually started to work their way into the game a little more, looking to catch Lowestoft out with their pace and counter attacking but a combination of misplaced passes and solid defending by the blues, left Lowestoft looking comfortable with twenty minutes gone.
A dangerous free kick from the left hand corner of the box gave Tamworth an opportunity to put their first effort in on goal but with Daniels picking out Sampson, the young defender headed over.
As the half-hour mark approached an intriguing battle was already taking place between Gleeson in the Lowestoft defence and Styche in the Tamworth attack. Both players were fully committed to their causes but with it starting to boil over, the referee pulled both players over, as Gleeson and Styche went into the book. The bookings should have simmered the situation but shortly afterwards and with Gleeson making a tackle out on the right wing; Styche left a knee in and was very, very fortunate that all of the officials had somehow missed it, therefore saving him a certain early bath.
Tamworth were struggling to get any joy against the Lowestoft defence but at the other end, Lowestoft were finding that their quality in delivery was testing the Tamworth backline. Smith had already been part of that quality of service for Lowestoft and with him sending a free-kick in from the right, Vidal handled and the referee took little time in pointing to the spot. Up stepped penalty spot master, Ainsley to smash the ball home and give Lowestoft a 1-0 lead (34 mins).
Lowestoft immediately looked to turn the screw on the visitors as a Fisk volley forced a corner.
At the other end a rising shot by Daniels is all that Tamworth could muster, as a strong Lowestoft defence kept them at arm's length.
As half time approached Tamworth started to push onto Lowestoft a bit more and with a corner from Daniels forcing Jones to punch the ball onto the Lowestoft bar and behind, the blues were having to defend in numbers. Tamworth continued to force a succession of corners against what was now looking like a flustered blues defence. Lowestoft survived the increased pressure and onslaught of corners from Tamworth though and very nearly doubled their lead just before the break with Ainsley doing great down the right before spraying a ball across to Smith in space and in the area. However with Smith drilling his effort across goal, it narrowly missed the target and unfortunately evaded all of the blue shirts that were following in.
It had been a great half of football though and one in which Lowestoft walked off one goal to the good.
After taking a knee to the head on the half-hour mark, Gleeson was unable to return for the second half and was replaced by Eagle. This resulted in a little re-shuffle with Hayles shifting to central defence, Ainsley going right back and Eagle taking up position on the right wing.
Lowestoft had come out with the fire in their bellies having been stoked even further and Bammant very nearly added to that fire with a second goal, as he made space to get a shot away but had to watch it bend just past the far upright with five minutes of the second half gone.
Lowestoft were exhibiting some good passing and movement and with newly introduced Eagle running at the visitors defence at every opportunity, Lowestoft were looking like forcing a second.
A Tamworth breakaway saw Styche eventually work space for a shot but Jones was right behind it in the Lowestoft goal. The shot on goal however seemed to invigorate the visitors briefly but that vigour was stamped out by Lowestoft just after the sixty minute mark, with them deservedly doubling their lead. Reed had done really well to get on the ball and with him pushing it to his right to find Eagle in space, the tricky winger travelled into the box before setting himself to shoot. The keeper did well to take some of the pace off the ball but he couldn't stop it on its way and not even a desperate attempt on the line by Sampson could stop the ball from going in for 2-0 (63 mins).
The delight of the Lowestoft crowd was added to when Styche wrapped his foot around a dropping ball in the Lowestoft area but hit it high and off target. Tamworth didn't let the situation get to them though and with Adams getting on the ball more and the likes of Jackson looking ever more lively up top, they silenced the Lowestoft crowd and rocked the Lowestoft team with a five minute spell that saw them draw level from two down. Firstly, from just over twenty-five yards out, Daniels hit a powerful free-kick that dipped and moved before beating Jones for 2-1 (71 mins). Then just five minutes later a cross from the right found Townsend just a yard out from goal and with the simplest of tasks to head down and into the goal for 2-2 (76 mins).
Lowestoft had been rocked back onto their heals after seeing a two goal lead disappear but did they wither or shy away? They certainly didn't, as they puffed their chests out, worked even harder and with just a further four minutes passing they restored their lead. Following a pressing few minutes of play the ball pinged around in the Tamworth defence and with Eagle getting onto the ball and getting a shot away, the ball beat the keeper and went in off the post; igniting wild celebrations from the bench and the Trawlerboys supporters. In the celebrations Eagle was booked and could feel a little hard done, having not removed his shirt and having not jumped into the crowd.
Lowestoft then shored things up with their second change of the afternoon, as Radomski replaced Reed and the blues moved to five in midfield for the remaining four minutes of normal time.
After coming on after the break and scoring two goals, Eagle was surely beaming inside but with a slightly mistimed tackle a questionable second yellow card was shown, reducing Lowestoft to ten.
Just a minute remained as Tamworth introduced Wilkins for Townsend but with that minute and four minutes of stoppage time passing, Lowestoft had won and taken a valuable and well deserved three points in a fantastic 3-2 win.
It had been a incredible game of football and every player in blue had given their all in ensuring the victory, even when being pegged back level with fifteen minutes remaining.
The quality from wide was of the highest standard from Smith and Ainsley throughout the match and but for a five minute spell the Lowestoft defence looked solid. Eagle undoubtedly made a huge difference when coming on, driving at the Tamworth defence with a real hunger and scoring two goals to boot. However, in the middle of the pitch was a player who from start to finish put in a fantastic example of box-to-box midfield play. If there was defending to be done or a ball to be won, he was there and if an attack needed numbers or support, he was also at hand for his side. My Man of the Match was the excellent Andrew Fisk.
Lowestoft Town now turn their attentions to the Suffolk Premier Cup on Tuesday night, in which they travel to take on Felixstowe & Walton in the quarter finals (7:45pm kick-off). The blues are next in league action on Saturday when they welcome North Ferriby United to the Crown Meadow.