Lowestoft Town 2 Tooting & Mitcham United 2
Blues forward Chris Henderson salvaged a draw at Crown Meadow but Lowestoft will look upon this result as two points dropped against struggling Tooting & Mitcham this afternoon.
Robert Eagle had given the Trawlerboys the perfect start in the 10th minute with an excellent turn and shot but Lowestoft proceeded to miss a hatful of chances in the first period and were made to pay by the visitors who equalised through Bertie Brayley.
Charlie Stimson scored from close range before half-time to pile on the agony for the Blues, who had to wait until five minutes from time to level matters as Henderson followed up well after Greg Crane’s header had been saved by Darren Behcet.
Henderson almost found a winner in the 88th minute but could only hit the post from a tight angle while a header, which looked destined for the top corner, was brilliantly tipped over by Behcet.
Lowestoft made all the early running and their early dominance was rewarded in the eighth minute as an excellent pass from Crane found Eagle inside the Tooting penalty area. With a defender at his back, Eagle proceeded to turn and rifle the ball home from 10 yards and give Lowestoft a deserved lead.
The Trawlerboys weren’t having it all their own way though and Andy Reynolds had to produce a smart save to deny Tobi Jinadu when he was left unattended from a corner.
Midway through the half Lowestoft should have doubled their advantage when a flick-on by Nolan sent Francis clear after the winger had come in off the left flank.
He looked to have done everything right as he showed composure in waiting for Behcet to go down, however, with the keeper stranded Francis somehow rolled the ball against the post.
It was a miss that would come back to haunt the home side as in the 27th minute Tooting pulled level. Jamie England’s swirling corner was only partially cleared to the back post as far as Brayley, who had all the time in the world to hammer the ball home from close range.
It got worse for the Blues six minutes later as the visitors took the lead. Brayley was the architect once again as he darted in off the left flank before seeing his shot blocked by a combination of Crane and team-mate Stimson. However, the Tooting man was the quicker to react to the loose ball and he had the simple task of beating Reynolds from six yards.
The Crown Meadow were almost in a state of shock after watching their side squander their advantage although Nolan came within inches of hauling the Blues level with a good header that just cleared Behcet’s crossbar.
Just before the break Behcet produced a wonder save to deny Dean Sinclair on his debut after Eagle had played his former Norwich team-mate through. Sinclair’s effort was hit cleanly but Behcet reacted brilliantly to tip his effort over the bar.
It almost got a whole lot worse two minutes into the second half when Charlie Dove let fly from all of 25 yards forcing Reynolds into a fabulous save.
Lowestoft were desperately seeking a route back into the contest but were struggling to carve out chances for long spells in the second half. The introduction of Nathan Stone almost paved the way for a breakthrough as his bustling style looked to unsettle the visiting centre halves.
The former Leiston man had a fantastic chance to mark his debut with a goal when Erkan Okay’s well flighted cross found him unmarked in the six-yard area but the striker headed over the bar under pressure form Jinadu.
But the Blues finally got back on level terms five minutes from time. Adam Smith’s free kick found Crane at the back post and although Behcet produced a good save to deny the defender, Henderson was there on the follow up to prod the ball home.
The former Kirkley man almost bagged a winner for his side two minutes from time when he latched on to Alfie Wren’s poor back pass. His first touch took him round Behcet but, from a tight angle and with the goal gaping, his shot came off the post.
Henderson was on a one-man mission to find a winner and in injury time forced Behcet into a flying one-handed save with a header after a good cross from Okay.
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