Lowestoft Town 2 Maidstone 1
17:24 01 March 2014
Jake Reed’s injury-time striker secured a dramatic win for Lowestoft Town over high-flying Maidstone United at Crown Meadow.
The former Dagenham & Redbridge man struck in the fourth minute of added time to secure the Trawlerboys’ third successive win in the league.
The match looked set to end all square after Chris Henderson’s superb 73rd minute effort was cancelled out by Luke Rooney’s goal just 60 seconds later.
But Reed had the final say with a poacher’s strike as he flicked home from eight yards after Jack Ainsley’s fine set-piece.
Lowestoft kept faith with the side that took all three points at Billericay in midweek and the Blues certainly looked like a side full of confidence in the opening stages.
Henderson, operating down the right flank, was at his pest-like best in the opening half and set the tempo early on when he broke the offside trap only to scuff his cross when Reed was waiting in the penalty area.
Lowestoft looked like the side challenging for the title in the first period, making their high-flying opponents look ordinary for long spells with their pressing game.
However, the visitors almost snatched the lead against the run of play when Jack Parkinson rose highest at the back post to meet Luke Rooney’s corner but his glancing header flew just wide.
But it was still Lowestoft that looked the more likely to break the deadlock and Reed came within inches of doing just that in the 19th minute.
Henderson split the Maidstone defence with a fine pass and Reed was on to it in a flash. The former Dagenham & Redbridge striker bore down on goal but, from an acute angle, he could only poke his effort wide.
Curtley Williams was the next to go close midway through the half when the defender met Robert Eagle’s corner at the near post but his effort flew just over the bar.
Lowestoft had another excellent chance just before the break when clever footwork by Reed found Michael Frew with a clear route to goal. However, the striker looked hesitant, allowing Elliott Cox to come round from right back and make an excellent cover tackle.
The Trawlerboys looked to catch Maidstone cold at the start of the second period with two chances in quick succession. A fine run from Stuart Ainsley saw the defender cut in from the right flank before firing just wide from the edge of the area.
Robert Eagle then went close when his miscued cross almost caught out Lee Worgan but the goalkeeper back pedalled quickly to tip onto the roof of the net.
Maidstone then had a period of possession culminating in a series of corners which tested the Blues defence. Lowestoft keeper Ashlee Jones did not look comfortable under pressure and on one occasion had to rely on Dan Gleeson to clear a Jerome Sobers effort off the line after he had misjudged the cross.
Jones atoned for his error shortly after though with a fine save to deny Zak Attwood after he had been played clean through on goal by Kaiyne Woolery.
Maidstone were turning the screw and Alex Brown came within a whisker of making it 1-0 when his deflected effort from the edge of the area cannoned off the crossbar.
But Lowestoft hung in there and got their reward in the 73rd minute thanks to a fantastic strike by Henderson. There looked little on when the ball broke to the winger on the edge of the area but he proceeded to arrow a left-footed effort into the top corner.
It was the advantage Lowestoft had been craving but, within a minute, they had relinquished it.
The lively Rooney jinked his way past a couple of challenges on the edge of the area and his left-footed shot took a wicked deflection off Dan Gleeson to completely wrong-foot Jones and level it up at 1-1.
Lowestoft had a shout for a penalty in the closing stages when Reed looked to be brought down by Tom Mills in the area but the referee waved away the home side’s appeals.
Reed wouldn’t be denied though and in the fourth minute of injury time the striker’s deft touch found the back of the net from Jack Ainsley’s delivery.
Maidstone’s frustration was clear and Jack Parkinson’s x-rated challenge saw the midfielder receive a straight red card just before the final whistle.
- Lowestoft Town (4-4-2): Jones, Williams, Gleeson, Gaughran, S Ainsley (Haynes-Brown 56), Henderson, Fisk, Jarvis, Eagle, Frew (J Ainsley 78), Reed. Subs not used: Okay, A Smith, Jessup.
- Maidstone United (4-5-1): Worgan, Cox, Andrews, Sobers, Mills, Parkinson, Brown, Woolery (Robertson 67), Rooney, Flisher, Attwood. Subs not used: Parkinson, Sullivan, Swift, Godmon.
- Referee: John Steel
- Attendance: 671