Football fate of promotion hopefuls Lowestoft Town and Bognor Regis Town will be decided by special seaside showdown
- Credit: Nick Butcher
It is the ultimate seaside showdown – the sunrise coast versus the country's sunniest beach resort.
And while it may not have the stature of a coastal clash of the likes of Brighton versus Bournemouth, attentions in one corner of north Suffolk will tonight be focused on footballing fortunes in West Sussex as Lowestoft Town travel to Bognor Regis Town.
For the fourth successive season, the Trawlerboys have made it through to the Ryman League Premier Division play-offs. Victory tonight would mean that after another successful campaign they would be just 90 minutes away from promotion. But after a heartbreaking hat-trick of consecutive defeats in the final, the club is aiming to make it 'fourth time lucky' and fulfil its dreams of securing Conference-level football.
Hoping to cast aside previous final-day disappointments, the Blues are aiming to move up the non-league pyramid into the Skrill Conference South division.
Standing in their way will be a Bognor Regis side,who finished in third place – a point ahead of Lowestoft. And this seaside showdown will be crucial in deciding the fate of each other's season – with the winner of tonight's play-off semi final set to face the winner of the Kingstonian versus AFC Hornchurch match on Monday.
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And it could not be more evenly poised between the two seaside towns, after Lowestoft beat Bognor Regis 2-0 at home last August, while The Rocks triumphed 4-1 on a Tuesday night in January.
With two coaches set to make the four-hour, 190-mile plus journey from Lowestoft to cheer the Blues on at Bognor, fans of the Trawlerboys are also expected to make the longest trip of the season in cars to support them all the way.
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And last night, ahead of the crucial encounter, Lowestoft Town chairman Gary Keyzor said: 'We've been on an incredible run to reach the play-offs and the players have been absolutely superb. We could not fault them or the backing of our fans, and on Saturday the atmosphere with more than 800 supporters cheering us on was brilliant.
'When I came on board it was my goal to get conference football and we have been so close three years on the trot that hopefully it will be fourth time lucky,' Mr Keyzor said.
Last season, their first in the Ryman premier division, Bognor Regis Town finished in 14th place – with Lowestoft finishing in second place and eventually losing out in the play-off final.
Fast forward to this campaign, with the seaside town on the south coast of England – who can trace its roots back to when it was a small fishing village – set to collide with a town dubbed the sunrise coast that is steeped in maritime heritage.
Both towns still have fishermen in operation, as they keep the traditional links with the sea alive – and with Bognor famed for its links with Butlins, as Lowestoft boasts Pontins, Warner and Potters holiday and leisure resorts close-by, there is plenty for the two sides to play for.
On average, Bognor Regis has more sunshine than any other town in Britain – making it the country's sunshine capital.
But come 7.45pm tonight, Lowestoft are aiming to continue the momentum of a fine run of just two defeats in their last 19 games – as they look to illuminate the south coast and ensure they reach yet another play-off final.
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