Lowestoft Town 2 Corby Town 2
Lowestoft Town and Corby Town share the spoils at the Crown Meadow in an entertaining 2-2 draw with Reed and Ryan Jarvis on target for the blues.
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Lowestoft Town: Garnham, Barker, Ainsley, Rossi Jarvis, Eagle, Okay, Fisk (Marsden 67 mins), Ryan Jarvis, Crow (Woods-Garness 82 mins), Henderson (Bammant 82 mins), Reed
Subs not used; Mason, Jessup
Corby Town: Walker, Kennedy, Thomas, Carruthers, Aaron Brown, Anton Brown (Mills 63 mins), Milnes, Taylor, Bevan (Hartley 71 mins), Weir-Daley, Sammons (Courtney 75 mins)
Subs not used; Ogilvie, Donkin
Lowestoft Town started the match with an unchanged starting eleven. Mitchell was still absent due to injury and goalkeeper Jessup returned and was named on the bench having missed the last game due to work commitments with Garnham taking his chance in an excellent performance against AFC Fylde.
For Corby Town, they were missing one of their joint leading scorers with Tshimanga on compassionate leave due to a family bereavement but still boasted five-goal midfielder, Sammons in their starting eleven.
The kick-off was preceded by a minutes silence, held in memory of former player Sandy Kennon and also to remember those who lost their lives in the Air Accident at Shoreham, which included Matthew Grimstone and Jacob Schilt who were both on their way to play for Worthing United FC.
After an impeccably observed minutes silence the match got underway and was just a couple of minutes old when some good football on the edge of the box by Lowestoft, involving Henderson and Okay, ended with an Eagle chance from the angle forcing Walker to get down and make a great save.
After an in-different showing by his standards last season, an in-form and rejuvenated Henderson was already exposing the space on offer and with the blues continuing their impressive start to the match, a dipping effort from Eagle signalled their intent to try and grab an early lead.
Kennedy had his work cut out against Henderson and with the attacking midfielder looking like he’d driven his way right through the defence, Kennedy made a great last ditch tackle to deny him.
The early persistence by the blues finally paid off in the fourteenth minute with Fisk being sold short in midfield but winning the ball brilliantly to allow Ryan Jarvis the opportunity to send an inch perfect pass over the top for Reed, who lifted the ball over the advancing keeper with perfection, to send the ball just under the bar for 1-0 (14 mins).
It had been a great start for the blues but with just two minutes passing after taken the lead, it was undone in a momentary lapse that saw the blues switch off and allow the visitors to level things up. Too much space was being offered up in the makeshift Lowestoft defence and with Bevan sending a ball in from the right, it was all too easy for Weir-Daley to run onto the cross and sidefoot home for 1-1 (16 mins).
The blues nearly restored their lead when an Eagle free-kick from the left was brought down by Crow and touched to Henderson but he dragged his effort just past the base of the post.
The one noticeable plus of a makeshift defence for the Lowestoft is that it’s made up of midfield players and as a result the blues have been playing the ball out from the back with a good level of quality and confidence. This was evident again and with Fisk winning the ball in front of the defence, Eagle attacking from full-back and Henderson showing a high level of activity, the blues were at times putting together some good football. While Corby were being restricted on most occasions to just launching balls forward in the hope that someone got on the end of them.
Just after the half hour mark there was a noticeable shift in the play with Lowestoft seemingly losing their way a little and maybe becoming a little complacent in their play, as the visitors came right back into the game. A good, low shot was sent in from distance by Milnes and had Garnham diving as it whizzed just past the foot of the post.
Corby were now putting passes together in front of the Lowestoft back four and a push in the box is all that stopped them from drawing level, as they saw a goal disallowed. It proved to be a warning for the blues but a warning that wasn’t heeded, as another spell of passing by the visitors should have been brought to a close but with Rossi Jarvis miss controlling the ball it allowed joint leading scorer, Sammons in on goal to leave Garnham helpless as he steered the ball home for 2-1 just before the break (43 mins). It had been two soft and disappointing goals that had been conceded by the blues and with Okay getting booked on the stroke of half-time, the blues had work to do in the second half.
The second half started but was brought to an immediate halt with the referee slumping to the ground with what appeared to be a dizzy spell. However, after a brief moment of time and some attention from the Lowestoft physio, he was back on his feet and the game resumed.
Corby had ended the half the stronger and continued that into the second half with Weir-Daley, Milnes and Sammons all ensuring that the visitors gave themselves the best chance of securing all three points. Those three points looked all but secure when Milnes was played in by Thomas on the left side and with the home defence hesitating he finished high into the net. However, the hesitation by the Lowestoft defence had been caused by a clear handball by Milnes and after initially giving the goal, the referee consulted with his linesman and overturned the decision to leave the scoreline at 2-1. It was without doubt the right decision with little in the way of protest coming from the away bench or the away supporters behind the goal.
A fourth booking of the season for Fisk added to an eventful start to the half and with just over an hour played the visitors made their first change with Mills replacing Anton Brown.
Eagle was continuing to get forward from his left-back position but the blues were missing that final ball or crucial pass to open up the Corby defence. The game was now getting sloppy and with Fisk already on a booking, Lowestoft made their first change with Fisk being replaced by Marsden. It was a move that saw Marsden put in at right-back, Barker moved into central defence and Rossi Jarvis released into his preferred midfield role.
The dead ball delivers by Lowestoft had been poor all game, with Eagle the biggest culprit but from his first well judged delivery of the game the Corby defence were forced into action with Carruthers having to head behind.
It was a moment that looked like it may re-ignite the blues, as moments later Rossi Jarvis got in behind before seeing his ball across the goalmouth put behind for a corner. However, with Corby making their two final changes in introducing Hartley and Courtney for Bevan and Sammons, the game was starting to peter out. Corby seemed happy to sit on their lead and not commit too many forward. While Lowestoft were finding it hard to unlock the visitors defence.
As the final fifteen minutes were entered, Lowestoft lifted their game for a final push as good build-up play ended with Rossi Jarvis getting a shot away and forcing the keeper into a good save.
Less than ten minutes now remained as the blues made their final changes with Bammant and Woods-Garness coming on for Henderson and Crow. Woods-Garness was straight into the action, doing well to drive into the area and forcing Carruthers to scramble the ball over his own crossbar from in front of goal.
Lowestoft had done enough to deserve a share of the points but just as it looked like being another empty handed result and with just four minutes left or normal time; Ryan Jarvis picked the perfect time to score his first goal for the blues. A great ball over the top by Ainsley was taken under control by Ryan Jarvis and with him looking up and composing himself, he produced a great finish across the goal, beyond the keeper and into the far bottom corner for 2-2 (86 mins). It was a goal that made the scoreline a fair one and a goal that Ryan Jarvis had deserved after putting in his best performance in a Lowestoft shirt to date.
Three minutes of stoppages were indicated and Lowestoft did have to survive a Corby corner going right across the face of goal before the final whistle sounded and the spoils were shared.
It had been a funny game in which there were spells of good football but also spells of untidiness by both teams. However, it had been an entertaining match to watch and the final score was a fair one on reflection.
Okay had put in a strong performance on his 150th appearance for the club and he was backed up by Fisk, before the midfielder was booked early in the second half and withdrawn shortly after. Henderson was a continuous threat in the first half but was relatively quite in the second. While both Rossi Jarvis and Barker had put in solid performances throughout. Eagle had filled in well at left-back by defending with authority and carrying a threat when coming forward but he was let down by his dead ball deliveries from corners and free kicks.
In an individual performance that contained great touches, clever and intelligent play, and also an assist and goal to boot; my Man of the Match was Ryan Jarvis.
Man of the Match - Ryan Jarvis
It has to also be mentioned that it was great to hear the return of some singing from the Lowestoft fans behind the goal and it was also a great pleasure to host a fantastic set of away supporters who were engaging and friendly before and after the match.