Lowestoft Town 2 Wealdstone 1
Joe Francis’ penalty completed a second half turnaround at Crown Meadow as the Blues came from behind to see off Wealdstone.
Britt Assombalonga had given the visitors the lead midway through the first half after being given the freedom of the penalty area to rifle home and Lowestoft looked set to taste defeat for the second time in a week.
But Chris Henderson had other ideas and five minutes into the second period the former Bury man brought the Blues back on level terms with a smart strike from 20 yards.
The comeback was complete just after the hour mark when Lubo Guentchev was brought down by David Hicks and Francis coolly slotted home to give the Trawlerboys three crucial points.
Lowestoft looked the more enterprising side in the early stages and could have been in front as early as the fifth minute when Scott Mitchell’s curling free kick went just wide.
A flowing move involving Michael Frew and Robert Eagle saw the latter stand up a lovely cross to the back post for Joe Francis to attack but, in trying to force the ball home, the referee decided the winger had committed an infringement which the majority of the Crown Meadow faithful failed to see.
Lowestoft were dominating possession with Eagle dictating play in central midfield in the early stages. The former Norwich City midfielder’s corner found Crane all alone at the back post but his goalbound header was diverted over the crossbar by Henderson.
Adam Smith then went close with a 25-yard free-kick but Lowestoft were not having it all their own way though with Stones skipper Lee Chappell getting some joy down the left flank against Adrian Forbes.
However, it was space down Lowestoft’s left flank that proved their undoing in the 22nd minute when Stones took the lead against the run of play.
Assombalonga sprung the offside trap and was allowed to cut in from the wing to fire home at Andy Reynolds’ near post.
The visiting side visibly grew in confidence but the Blues could have got back on level terms thanks to a great breakaway. Lubo Guentchev’s volleyed pass released Eagle behind the Stones’ back four but North produced an excellent save to deny the midfielder.
Chris O’Leary was inches away from doubling Wealdstone’s advantage late in the first half when Smith headed Chappell’s cross back across the face of goal and the midfielder just couldn’t grow enough to divert the ball home.
But five minutes into the second half Lowestoft were back on level terms thanks to an excellent strike by Henderson. Francis managed to charge down an attempted clearance by Dominic Sterling and the ball ran to Henderson on the edge of the area and he planted a fantastic right-footed strike into the top corner from 20 yards.
It was almost like an action replay of the first half except that Lowestoft were taking advantage of the chances they were creating and just after the hour mark they went into the lead.
Andrew Fisk’s beautifully dinked pass found Lubo Guentchev inside the penalty area and when Hicks proceeded to bundle over the Bulgarian the referee pointed to the spot. Francis stepped up to firmly sidefoot the ball home to North’s right and the turnaround was complete.
The last half-hour went by without alarm for the Blues but right at the death Reynolds fumbled a 25-yard free-kick by Scott Fitzgerald and Richard Jolly looked set to rescue a point for his side. However, the Lowestoft stopper sprung back up to block Jolly’s effort from inside the six-yard area.