Harlow Town 2 Lowestoft Town 1
After an excellent first half and a 1-0 lead, Lowestoft pay the price for missed chances and defensive lapses, crashing out of the cup 2-1 to Harlow.
Harlow Town: May, Barnard, Parry, Gliddon, D Williams, Blewitt, Dadson (McKenzie 82 mins), Muguo, Read, Antoine, Martin. Subs; McKenzie, Akande, S Williams, Alexanderson, Curley
Lowestoft Town: Viner, Okay, Gaughran, Haynes-Brown, Adam Smith (Stuart Ainsley 84 mins), Fisk, Jack Ainsley, Lee Smith, Eagle, Henderson, Frew (Tarawali 84 mins). Subs; Stuart Ainsley, Tarawali, Otobo
After an excellent first half performance and a 1-0 lead, Lowestoft pay the price for missed chances and defensive lapses as they crash out of the FA Cup with a 2-1 defeat at Harlow Town.
Lowestoft were carrying injuries going into the game and the injury list grew even further prior to kick-off. Jones arrived at the ground feeling unwell, Woods-Garness had a troublesome knee and Gleeson was unable to play, with the surface putting too much stress on his back. Lowestoft were therefore forced to go into the game with just three substitutes on the bench.
The game got underway with the Harlow fans in full voice, equipped with horns and their infamous air raid siren.
Harlow were the first to see an effort following some good interchanging football ending with Dadson stabbing the ball wide. Lowestoft soon settled though and with Jack Ainsley already showing down the right, Parry was lucky to avoid a booking after going right through the back of Jack Ainsley. The first fifteen minutes were fairly competitive and the Lowestoft midfield were enjoying the pitch, knocking it about effectively on the 3G surface.
Jack Ainsley was regularly being found, beating his man on the right and ensuring Lowestoft were getting in to the corner and pressuring the Harlow defence. It was therefore no real surprise when Lowestoft took the lead but what a goal to take the lead with. A Jack Ainsley ball from the right saw Frew control it just inside the area and with him finding time to open up the goal and set himself, he bent the ball sweetly into the top corner for 1-0 (20mins).
Lowestoft were adapting to the pitch well, defending tightly and looking very comfortable with their football on the surface. Lee Smith was covering plenty of ground and Jack Ainsley was looking right on his game in keeping the Harlow defence busy. Henderson was also looking lively and Frew was playing really well across the front, bringing others into play and also getting into the channels.
Both teams were competing hard but with the ball gone, Barnard went flying through Henderson in the middle of the pitch and received a stern talking to off the referee and a yellow card.
Lowestoft were ticking over nicely with every player looking sharp from the back through to front of the team. Harlow were struggling to get a handle on the Lowestoft midfield and Lowestoft nearly doubled their lead with a bit of skill that wouldn't have looked out of place at the San Siro. Henderson approached the Harlow area and with a beautiful drag-back and spin on the ball, he left the defence for dead and sent his shot just past the wrong side of the post.
The Harlow fans were sounding their air raid siren and singing to try and lift their team and it nearly had an instant effect, with a shot going just past the far post.
Harlow pushed Lowestoft into their half in the last few minutes of the half to try and force a leveller before the break and Jack Ainsley was forced to block a stinging effort with his body from Dadson. Lowestoft made it to the break in front though and were worthy of their lead.
In recent games Lowestoft have started the second half slowly and been caught out in defence and with Harlow having a free header on goal, Lowestoft were relieved to see it go way off target. Harlow had certainly come out with some wind in their sails and were looking to level things up in double quick time. Dadson showed signs of being the main threat for Harlow in the first half and with him showing great footwork to get into the Lowestoft box, he was unable to pull it back to a team mate.
Lowestoft appeared to have ridden the huff and puff from Harlow and were now settling into the game again. Eagle forced the keeper May to turn a shot round the post with a good strike but Harlow puffed their chests out again and came right back at them.
Okay was having a bit of a torrid time at right back and with Parry getting a cross in from the left corner, Antoine was presented with a header close in but made a woeful mess of it, missing the target completely.
The Harlow fans were certainly playing their part with their siren and songs firing Harlow on but Lowestoft were still trying to carve out the openings. Eagle managed to work his way into the area from the left and from a tough angle he forced the keeper to save one handed to send the ball behind. It had been a good fifteen minutes to open the second half, with both sides seeing chances but Harlow were working hard and ensuring Lowestoft were not given the time to play it around on the deck like they had so comfortably in the first half.
Dadson exposed Lowestoft again, getting in round the back but this time his pull back did find a team mate with Antoine making no mistake from close in to level it at 1-1 (69 mins).
Dodson was certainly causing Lowestoft and Okay a few issues and with another ball coming in from the right it was nodded down in the Lowestoft area and slammed home close in by Read, as Harlow moved 2-1 ahead (72 mins).
Lowestoft had been caught out with a few defensive lapses but were still creating enough chances to ensure they were still very much in the game. Jack Ainsley burst through the middle and forced the keeper to grapple his shot wide. Then moments later Jack Ainsley was involved again, finding Henderson but with the target opening up nicely he fluffed his lines, dragging the shot across goal and causing no threat to the keeper or goal.
With the final ten minutes now being entered Harlow introduced McKenzie for the impressive Dadson, as they looked to see out the win.
Fisk crossed from a short corner for Lowestoft and with it coming to Henderson he spun and fired over, as Lowestoft looked to be running out of time.
Lowestoft introduced Stuart Ainsley and Tarawali for Adam Smith and Frew with six minutes of normal time and a number of stoppage time minutes to be added. Lowestoft tried desperately hard to press Harlow in the closing minutes but with the final whistle sounding they were left to rue missed opportunities and a couple of defensive lapses, as Harlow celebrated a 2-1 win.
Lowestoft in the whole played well, especially in a very impressive first half but when things are not going right, things just don't go for you and it makes it even harder. The team shouldn't beat themselves up over this performance, as on another day it would have been a victory.
The team, management and supporters just need to keep their heads up and push through this testing period, as it will come good again. The FA Cup is the one cup that can provide a spotlight and financial reward for the club, which is a bonus but now that it's over, full concentration will now return to the league.
Today's Man of the Match was between two Lowestoft players in my opinion. Jack Ainsley was always providing width on the right and on a number of occasions he was the key in opening up a few chances for Lowestoft, while also battling hard with any opponent who tried to dispossess him. Then you had Michael Frew who worked really hard across the frontline, providing touches to bring his team mates into play and also working the channels. Not to mention is fantastic goal, which was worthy of being shown on Match of the Day. My Man of the Match was Michael Frew.
Lowestoft now have a free midweek and will hope that a few of the injured players start to return to the squad prior to their next game, when they travel away to Enfield in the league next Saturday.
Keep believing in us, it will come good.