Colwyn Bay 0 Lowestoft Town 1
Lowestoft Town put in a superb team performance after their second longest trip of the season to beat Colwyn Bay 1-0 and extend unbeaten run to twelve
Our Main Sponsors:- Smith Bros Timber
Colwyn Bay: Sanna, Baynes, Lea, Noone, Royle, Haywood, Anoruo, Buckley, Hopley, Williams, Ellison
Subs not used; Rees, Saiel, Seddon, Bakker, Watson
Lowestoft Town: Jones, Ainsley, Gaughran, Haynes-Brown, Adam Smith, Woods-Garness (Mason 69 mins), Lee Smith, Okay, Eagle (Marsden 90+ mins), Bammant, Reed (Radomski 78 mins)
Subs not used; Gleeson, Jessup
Lowestoft went into the game without Jarvis (suspended), Fisk (calf), Crow (ankle), Sowunmi (back) and Henderson (unwell). Jones returned in goal and both Lee Smith and Gaughran came in for Marsden and the missing Sowunmi. While player/coach, Gleeson was named on the bench.
The game was interestingly poised with Colwyn Bay needing the points for survival and Lowestoft Town wanting to keep their unbeaten run going. The match got underway on a beautiful sunny day with a clear blue sky and Lowestoft setting up in a 4-5-1 formation that had Woods-Garness and Bammant as the wide men and a midfield three of Lee Smith, Okay and Eagle.
It was a high tempo start to the game and with a high foot on Reed leading to a Lowestoft free kick on the edge of the area five minutes in; Lee Smith forced the keeper to turn over his well struck kick from just under the bar
As the fifteen minute mark arrived the pace of the game had not relented but neither side were winning over control. A cross from the right saw Colwyn Bay have their first sight of goal with Hopley bringing the ball down well on the edge of the area but shanking his shot into the ground and wide.
The tactics of Colwyn Bay were either to go wide to Ellison on the left or to play a long ball over the top but the long balls were already being dealt with effectively by Gaughran. While Lowestoft were mainly working the ball down the left with Adam Smith, Eagle and Bammant all working together to try and manufacture an opening.
A Lee Smith corner lead to animate cries for a penalty by Woods-Garness as his downward header appeared to strike a hand but nothing was given.
Cries for a penalty were then heard at the other end with Haynes-Brown and Anoruo going shoulder to shoulder in the Lowestoft area but with Anoruo going down softly the appeals were rightfully waved away. That didn't stop the two coming together again moments later, this time with Haynes-Brown going into the book.
The match then saw a moment of double standards by the officials. Firstly, Gaughran rightfully went for a clearance on the edge of the area but was very harshly penalised when catching an opponent at the same time (50/50); allowing Ellison a dangerous free-kick right on the edge of the area but it was struck straight at Jones. Then at the other end the exact same thing happened between Reed and a Colwyn Bay defender but the referee waved it away and allowed the game to continue.
Apart from the Lee Smith free kick being turned over, neither keeper have been asked many questions, with defence being the order of the day. However, Lowestoft looked to have sense of control over the game with Gaughran continuing to deal with everything at the back impressively. While Lee Smith was instigating an industrious midfield performance and Reed was dropping off and working hard to keep a strong Colwyn Bay defence on their toes.
A few minutes of the half remained and with Baynes getting a booking after going through the back of Reed, it was Lowestoft who were edging the possession.
Just before halftime it was the host who should have taken the lead though, with them breaking quickly and Anoruo going up against a covering Ainsley at the back. However, with the hosts leading scorer getting away from the Lowestoft defender, he sent a fierce effort on target but Jones was equal to it and produced a strong save to turn it round the post and keep the game goalless heading into the break.
The second half saw Lowestoft come out with a bit more urgency to their attacking play and Eagle sending the keeper diving to his left with a shot from twenty-five yards that was only fractionally wide of the post.
There was a frantic tempo to the game again and with Eagle, Lee Smith, Reed and Woods-Garness all looking very alert for Lowestoft, the signs were good.
Woods-Garness sent a shot whistling over the bar after spinning on a ball in the hosts box but then Colwyn Bay and the dangerous Anoruo fired a warning and really should have opened the scoring. For the first time in the match, Anoruo had got the better of Gaughran with the defender stumbling and letting the danger man in but with him finding Ellison and just the goal to aim at, he struck it right at Ainsley who was covering brilliantly on the line to clear.
Colwyn Bay then paid the ultimate price for not taking their chance, as some excellent football by Lowestoft ended with a delightful pass over the defence by Woods-Garness, allowing Lee Smith to produce a composed and high quality finish to lift the ball of over the keeper and into the net for 1-0 (57 mins).
Colwyn Bay were now in desperate trouble and in danger of being sucked back into the relegation places. Their frustration continued with Buckley doing well to get to the edge of the area and setting up Lea to zip a ball right across the Lowestoft goalmouth but there were no Colwyn Bay shirts at hand to get on the end.
Anoruo was carrying the threat and even though Gaughran had defended admirably against him, Haynes-Brown was finding him tricky and when making a poor decision to let the ball bounce at the back, Anoruo was onto it but fortunately for Lowestoft Gaughran was covering his defensive partner to clear up the danger.
Anoruo continued to prove a handful for the Lowestoft defence with his pace and quick footwork, as Colwyn Bay started to enjoy a good spell following the Lowestoft goal.
It was, however a spell that failed to bring any rewards for the hosts and with just over twenty minutes remaining, Lowestoft showed little signs of their mammoth journey and having played 120 minutes midweek, as they hit back. A ball over the top looked like setting Woods-Garness in on goal but with Haywood staying with him and stretching out a leg, the danger was cleared by a bit of excellent defending.
Lowestoft and Reed were then inches away from doubling their lead as Bammant sent a super cross in from the left but Reed just couldn't get on it at the far post.
A replacement of pace down the left channel saw Lowestoft town make their first change with Mason replacing Woods-Garness.
There were still no signs of tiredness though as Lowestoft continued to admirably retain the ball with fifteen minutes remained.
A long, raking ball saw Anoruo get on the end inside the Lowestoft box but his first time hit was the wrong side of the post as the desperate hosts continued to draw a blank.
Radomski was now introduced for Reed with the striker having fallen heavily on his side and forcing Lowestoft into their second change and a change that saw Bammant move up top and Eagle pulled out to the left.
Ten minutes remained and for the first time in the match the home side were showing signs of a team fighting for survival but with a Williams header not having anywhere near enough on it to trouble Jones, it was looking more and more like being a bad day for the Welsh side.
Five minutes remained and after letting a few questionable tackles by the opposition go, a clattering tackle on Radomski saw Haywood go into the book.
Lowestoft were running the clock down well now with some intelligent and controlled play, as their final change saw Marsden replace Eagle in stoppage time.
However, with seconds remaining a dangerous ball was sent in from the left by Colwyn Bay but Jones showed fantastic bravery to dive at the forwards feet to stop him getting on the end and to ensure the three points for Lowestoft at the final whistle.
It had been a very solid and controlled performance by Lowestoft Town, especially when considering the long trip and the 120 minutes of football on a testing pitch midweek. The hosts had probably carved out the more clear cut chances but Lowestoft had played well from front to back with a performance that was worthy of the victory. Colwyn Bay may have had a couple of clear cut chances but overall didn't look like a side playing for their lives and with the exception of the standout Anoruo, they now find themselves in the bottom three going into the last game of the season.
There were a host of fantastic performances throughout the Lowestoft side with Bammant now playing with a great level of confidence and both Ainsley and keeper Jones making some important and brave blocks/saves. While Woods-Garness, Eagle and Reed played with a great sharpness and determination to their play.
There were, however two individuals who really stood out for Lowestoft and who are a both equalling deserving of Man of the Match honours. Lee Smith put in an industrious midfield performance and showed great composure and quality to score a super winning goal. Then there was Gaughran, who's black eye at the end of the match told the story. He had defended like a Trojan; putting his body on the line at times, showing aerially supremacy and also covering right across the defence when called for.
My Man of the Match is Sam Gaughran.
The report of the match cannot go by without thanking Colwyn Bay and their supporters for making our team, officials and supporters very welcome on the day. We wish you all the best in your final game next weekend.
On behalf of the players and management we would also like to say a huge thank you to our travelling supporters on the day for making the very long journey and to those who clubbed together money on the coach home to supply the players with some richly deserved beers. Our supporters home and away have been tremendous and have certainly played their part in a very successful and satisfying season, that has seen the blues retain their place at a Conference level and also add some silverware by winning the Suffolk Premier Cup.
Lowestoft Town's last game of the season is next Saturday and promises to be a very busy one with it not only being the last game and farewell of Lowestoft legend Micky Chapman but also a potential title winning game for Barrow. So it's all to play for with Lowestoft's incentive being to finish the season with a thirteen game unbeaten run and to give Chapman a winning send off.
Details on our planned farewell to Micky Chapman on the day and throughout the summer will follow this week.