Coalville Town 0 Lowestoft Town 0
Lowestoft Town draw 0-0 in a heated FA Cup tie at Coalville Town to set up a replay this Tuesday night at the Crown Meadow.
Lowestoft Town Main Sponsors:- Smith Bros Timber
Coalville Town: Bowles, Farmer, Stuart, Saunders, McAteer, McNaught, Miveld, Davies, Marshall, Wooley (Edwards 68 mins), Way
Subs not used; Brown-Hill, Kay, Cotton
Lowestoft Town: Jessup, Ainsley, Hayles, Gleeson, Haynes-Brown, Henderson (Hodd 90 mins), Jarvis (Okay 32 mins), Fisk, Smith, Bammant, Louis (Woods-Garness 68 mins)
Subs not used; Gaughran, Radomski, Marsden, Swatman
Lowestoft Town were on the road again in the FA Cup for the fourth season running. Missing from the squad was the suspended Eagle following his sending off at Worcester City, Reed who was cup-tied after playing for AFC Sudbury in an earlier round and Jones with a hamstring injury. This meant a start in goal for Jessup, while youth team goalkeeping prospect Asa Swatman took up a place on the bench.
Returning to the squad and starting line up were Jack Ainsley and the passed fit Jarvis and Gleeson. Coalville started the match with just the four subs on the bench out of a possible seven.
The game kicked off on a dry pitch that was clearly going to be a bit of a leveller initially, as Lowestoft set up with Smith on the left of midfield in the absence of a Eagle.
Lowestoft were the first to see an opportunity with Fisk dinking a ball into Louis but with him stopping and thinking offside had been called, it hadn't and by the time he'd set himself again to get a shot away, it was easily saved at the foot of the post by the keeper.
In truth the game was a pretty scrappy affair as the twenty minute mark passed with the only other talking point in that time coming when a Haynes-Brown ball round the back of the Coalville defence found Bammant but with two defenders getting on to him, they dealt with the danger.
The dry pitch wasn't helping the bounce of the ball and as a result there was very little play on the deck from either side. Coalville saw their first opportunity of the game with a ball in from the left to Wooley and with him running onto it and wrong-footing Haynes-Brown, the goal opened up but the shot was weak and right at Jessup in the Lowestoft goal.
At the other end a quick corner allowed Smith to send a ball in from the right that Louis rose to got on the end of but his header was just wide of the upright.
Coalville were looking to get it forward quickly and get into the faces of the Lowestoft defence but Hayles was in a defiant mood, standing tall and winning most of his battles in the air and on the deck.
Jarvis had returned from a hamstring injury for the match but his afternoon came to a sad conclusion just after the thirty minute mark, with his hamstring going again and him being replaced by Okay (32 mins).
Moments later Lowestoft supporters hearts were in mouths as the blues defence sat off and allowed time for Davies to send a great hit flashing in on goal and just millimetres over the bar. Coalville had certainly had the best of the chances and were working hard as a team and even though Lowestoft were able to put a small spell of pressure together just before the break, it had been a half in which Lowestoft had lacked sharpness and any sort of quality to their play.
The second half started with Bammant getting in and charging down on goal but with him looking to pull the trigger, across came McAteer to make a great last ditch tackle save the home side. Seconds later the home keeper Bowles had to turn a drifting Ainsley effort over the bar as a much improved Lowestoft had increased the tempo in their play and were look much sharper.
Lowestoft continued to improve as Okay got himself in the right place at the right time to hit the ball sweetly and force the keeper to turn it over from the edge of the area, as the sixty minute mark arrived.
Coalville were not making as much of an impression now and were lucky not to be reduced to ten, as Stuart went in high with his studs on the thigh of Henderson and was very, very lucky to just be shown yellow.
Coalville were soon in trouble again as Henderson picked up the ball in a dangerous position but with Bammant free in space and the best option available, he decided instead to keep the ball and shuffle across the defence, before scuffing a poor effort towards goal.
Hayles was looking solid at the back but one player who was really shining was the returning Ainsley at right back. After missing the last two away games he could have easily have looked rusty but instead he was getting forward at every opportunity and bringing a quality with it at the same time. One of many good passes by the Lowestoft right back saw him pick out Henderson who went into the corner before sending the ball across the box but frustratingly for Lowestoft there were no blue shirts on the end of it.
With Reed cup-tied, Lowestoft were missing something different up top and even though Bammant was working hard, his strike partner Louis was having an ineffective day up against the Coalville defenders and was duly replaced by Woods-Garness with just over twenty minutes remaining.
Coalville were a shadow of the team from the first half and were now just resorting to a number of questionable and at times dirty fouls against a Lowestoft side who had improved second half but were still some way from the level they're capable of playing at.
The final ten minutes of the match saw Coalville start to come back into the game but without any real threat. In the last minute of the match a Haynes-Brown ball from the left picked out Woods-Garness, who had looked sharp since coming on but with him going backwards when connecting with his head, the header drifted past the upright. Hodd replaced Henderson at the death but there was one more chance for a side to win it in stoppage time, and it was a chance that fell to the home side. After winning a free-kick on the corner of the Lowestoft area, Stuart delivered the ball into the box and with Saunders up from the back he found himself in a great position just two yards out but didn't make the best of the opportunity and with the final whistle shortly following, both teams were left to fight it out again on Tuesday.
It was a fair result in a pretty scrappy and heated affair in which Coalville had worked hard in the first half and Lowestoft had looked well short of the levels they're capable of achieving. The second half saw Lowestoft improve their sharpness and tempo but in truth never really found enough to warrant the win.
Hayles put in a very good shift in the centre of defence, winning the large share of his battles in the air and on the deck. However, my man of the match was a player who has missed the last couple of away games but came back with real fire in his belly, providing good quality passing and support from right back. My Man of the Match is Jack Ainsley.
The teams will now replay at the Crown Meadow this Tuesday night (7:45pm kick-off), when Lowestoft will be looking to put the tie to bed and continue their FA Cup journey.