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Lowestoft Town - Match centre

Lowestoft Town
Metropolitan Police
Sat 29 Mar 15:00 - The Ryman Football League - Premier Division Full time Attendance 525

Lowestoft Town 1 Met Police 1

Met Police park the bus and steal a goal but in a second half with more urgency in their play, Lowestoft Town grab a point in a 1-1 draw.

Att 525

Teams:-
Lowestoft Town: Jones, Gleeson, Gaughran, Haynes-Brown, Smith, Jack Ainsley, Jarvis, Okay, Eagle, Frew, Reed
Subs; Fisk, Stuart Ainsley, Doddington, Jessup

Met Police: Searle, Salmon (Bor 82 mins), Bird, Joseph, Sutherland, James, Aldred, Hibbert, Hudson-Odoi (Pink 76 mins), Newton, Neita (Collins 46 mins)
Subs; Collins, Pink, Bor, Cramp, Smalley

Platinum Match Sponsor - Knights Holiday Homes
Match Ball Sponsor - In memory of Brian Ellis

Met Police park the bus and steal a goal but in a second half with more urgency in their play, Lowestoft Town grab a point in a 1-1 draw.

Going into the match Lowestoft were missing Williams through a niggling injury and Henderson who was laid low with a virus.

Prior to the match kicking off the grandson of Garry Littlewood (Coby) led both sides out on to the pitch as the mascot for the day.

The match got underway in glorious sunshine and was just a few minutes old when Bird sent a free-kick for Met Police just wide of the target. Lowestoft responded with some lovely work by Gleeson setting Eagle and Smith away down the left, as Lowestoft started to settle into the game.
As on previous occasions between to the two sides, the Met Police were implementing a tight set-up, sitting back and looking to get joy via the counter attack. It was from one of their early counter attacks that saw the dangerous Hudson-Odoi show good footwork to get a shot away but it was easy for Jones to get behind in the Lowestoft goal.
The first clear cut chance came for Lowestoft when a ball into the Met Police box had to be punched away from under the bar by the keeper Searle and with it falling to Gleeson just two yards out, his effort was blocked and went behind for a corner.
As the fifteen minute mark arrived Lowestoft were finding it hard to the get the ball on the deck, as the Met Police were working hard to close them down quickly and give them no time to settle.
Both teams were getting caught by the offside trap and as a whole the game was failing to take shape or get going.
When the ball did come into the Lowestoft final third, Haynes-Brown was in a watchful mood and was keeping it tight at the back in his centre half position.
As the thirty minute mark arrived the game was still proving to be a tight and compact affair, with Lowestoft struggling to get much of the ball to Eagle and Smith, who had both shown signs of combining well together down the left in previous matches.
As halftime started to approach, Okay was lucky to avoid a booking for a scissor tackle on James and was just given a stern talking to. However, a couple of minutes before the break his tackles accumulated and resulted in the referee finally putting him in the book.
Near enough on the stroke of half time a long ball from deep saw Reed up against Salmon in the Met Police defence and with him getting a shot away it was closed down and deflected behind for a corner. It proved to be the last bit of action in a pretty quiet and uninspiring half of football, in which the game had little rhythm or tempo to it and Lowestoft were faced with the task of breaking down a Met Police side who were set-up for the draw.

Met Police made a change during the break as they introduced Collins in place of Neita and the half was just three minutes old when the away side got themselves ahead. The plan from Met Police was clearly to keep it tight, put numbers behind the ball and steal a goal and that's what they did when a good cross was sent in from the left by Bird and with Hudson-Odoi getting on the end, he left Jones rooted in the Lowestoft goal with his header for 1-0 (48 mins).
Lowestoft were in need of more drive and urgency in their play and with Gaughran powering forward from the back, it looked like something may open up for them but he was scythed to the ground by James, who promptly went into the referees book for his foul.
Fifteen second half minutes had passed and it was proving to be a frustrating afternoon for the blues with Frew and Reed looking isolated and Lowestoft in need of a 'Plan B'.
The 'Plan B' was then put into action, as Lowestoft upped their drive and urgency and with both Jarvis and Okay starting to win the midfield over, Lowestoft had more of a spring in their step.
A long punt from the back saw Reed manage to work the opportunity for a shot in the box but it was blocked by a mixture of the Met Police defence and the goalkeeper. However, Okay was at hand to pick up the scraps and with him initially looking like the ball had got tangled up under his feet and the chance had gone; he then recomposed himself to slot the ball home with great calmness into the far corner to draw the scores level at 1-1 (64 mins). Moments later a Jones kick looked to have found Frew up front and in on goal but Sutherland stuck with the Lowestoft forward and made a great tackle to deal with the danger.
Lowestoft were now the team in the ascendancy though and the goal had clearly lifted them and given them renewed belief. Some great work by Jack Ainsley saw him get the better of the right back Bird and from the angle his fierce effort had to be turned over the bar for a corner by the keeper.
Lowestoft were playing with much more urgency and a good tempo to their game and with Okay lifting a lovely ball into the box, Eagle stretched in the air superbly to get a flicked header on the ball, sending it over the keeper but agonisingly onto the post and back into play.
Okay and Jarvis were at the centre of the shift in play for Lowestoft, as the blues went searching for the lead. As always, Reed was putting in a real workman like performance up top and carved himself out a chance by stealing the ball in a dangerous area of the pitch but his quickly taken shot was off target and crashed into the advertising hoardings behind the Met Police goal.
There was now just under fifteen minutes remaining and with the Met Police making their second change of the afternoon, they started to sit a bit higher up the pitch and as a result it opened the
game up and gave Lowestoft a bit more time and space. The game and Lowestoft's play had however tailed off a little now and with options looking short on the bench for Lowestoft, it was looking like the game was going to run out as being a draw.
As the final minutes arrived, Okay played Smith in round the back but another solid tackle by Sutherland saw the away side deal with the danger.
The Met Police had marked Lowestoft well all game and had made it hard but with the game inside four minutes of stoppage time, hopes of Lowestoft nicking it late on seemed a possibility as Reed brilliantly shook off two defenders in the box to get a shot away but the keeper was alert and got down quickly at the feet of the striker to save.
Shortly after the final whistle sounded and the result was a fair one, in a game that won't live too long in the memory for either team.

It was a frustrating day for the blues in the whole but on a positive note it was a point against a tough and unpredictable side, who had come to put numbers behind the ball. It may have only been a point but it hadn't done too much harm to their play-off chances, as the table still looks favourable for the blues to capture that play-off berth.
Haynes-Brown had been moved to centre back and he had a very solid game alongside the outstandingly consistent Gaughran. However, for me, the improved performance in the second half by Lowestoft came as a result of Jarvis and Okay rolling up their sleeves and winning the midfield over. In recent weeks it's been a frustrating time for Okay, sitting on the bench and seeing limited game time but his mentality and attitude to win his place back during this time has been exemplary. He was a key figure on Tuesday night against Wingate and with another good performance that contained drive, focus and a well taken goal, Erkan Okay is my Man of the Match.

Lowestoft Town will now have the welcomed luxury of a midweek break, before turning their attentions to next Saturday, when they make the lengthy trip to Hampton and Richmond Borough.

Terry Bullen

Erkan Okay

Player of the Match

Erkan Okay

Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Wealdstone 46 96
2. Kingstonian 46 85
3. Bognor Regis Town 46 85
4. Lowestoft Town 46 84
5. AFC Hornchurch 46 83
6. Dulwich Hamlet 46 82
7. Maidstone United 46 81

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