Tonbridge Angels 4, Lowestoft Town 3
20:39 07 May 2011
Lowestoft Town suffered heartache at the hands of Tonbridge Angels in the Ryman League Premier play-off final at Longmead.
A Lewis Taylor strike 10 minutes from time proved the winner after the Trawlerboys had fought their way back from 3-1 down.
Lowestoft made an uncharacteristically lethargic start and were made to pay the price in the 12th minute as Tonbridge dangerman Ade Olorunda put his side in front.
Lowestoft were unable to clear from a corner and when Taylor’s shot was deflected into the path of Olorunda he rifled the ball past Reynolds.
It got worse for the Trawlerboys in the 22nd minute when Scott Mitchell was adjudged to have brought down Chris Piper on the edge of the area.
Danny Walder’s free kick took a massive deflection off the Lowestoft wall to completely wrongfoot Reynolds and give Lowestoft a mountain to climb as they did in the two sides’ league match in January.
Lowestoft gradually gained a foothold in the game and the home side were fortunate not to be reduced to 10 men when their skipper Scott Kinch made a horrendously high tackle on Andrew Cave-Brown.
Despite the Lowestoft players surrounding the referee, the official deemed a yellow card sufficient punishment, much to their bemusement.
Free kick specialist Adam Smith came within a whisker of getting his side back into the contest with a wonderful set piece from 25 yards but goalkeeper Lee Worgan tipped his effort on to the bar. Matt Nolan followed up but saw his shot blocked and the danger was cleared.
But Lowestoft did get the breakthrough they deserved a minute later when good work by Forbes found Nolan in the Angels’ penalty area. The stirker checked back on to his left foot and floated an inch-perfect cross for Mitchell at the back post to head home.
That looked like how it was going to stay before the break until the lively Olorunda got the wrong side of Haynes-Brown and the former Sudbury man inexplicably lunged in and brought down the striker with the referee having no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Walder stepped up to roll the ball into the corner, sending Reynolds the wrong way in the process.
But Lowestoft came out like a house on fire at the start of the second half and within two minutes Cave-Brown got his side back into the game after latching on to Guentchev’s knockdown and bundling the ball home.
Matt Nolan came close to getting the Trawlerboys back on level terms with a clever header which flew inches over the bar but 13 minutes from time the visitors had their equaliser and it was well worth waiting for.
Smith’s free kick was headed out only as far as Guentchev and from 25 yards out the former Hendon man rifled a bouncing ball into the top corner.
There now looked to be only one winner but in the 80th minute Taylor broke Lowestoft hearts when he waltzed through the defence before planting a shot from the edge of the area beyond Reynolds’ reach.
Tonbridge Angels (4-4-2): Worgan, Walder, Miles, Judge, Heath, Taylor, Kinch, Browning (Collin), Piper, Stone (Logan 53), Olorunda (Rook 77).
Lowestoft Town (4-4-2): Reynolds, Cave-Brown, Gaughran, Haynes-Brown, Smith, Guentchev, Mitchell, Cockrill (Fisk 46), Francis, Forbes (Stock 75), Nolan.