Alan Boon Cup: Bury Town 2, Lowestoft Town 0
Lowestoft Town bowed out of the Alan Boon Cup at the semi-final stage last night after defeat at Bury Town in Micky Chapman's 1,000th match in charge of the Trawlerboys.
A niggly contest was settled by two first half goals through Danny Cunningham and Sam Reed as the Trawlerboys struggled to create clearcut openings of their own.
Lowestoft got off to the worst possible start but only referee Shon Meale will know exactly why he gave a penalty in the third minute. Bury playmaker Danny Cunningham floated a ball into the box and as the ball floated harmlessly on to Andy Reynolds the referee pointed to the spot.
After fervent protests from the Lowestoft players, the referee indicated that Sam Gaughran had been pulling at a Bury shirt and Cunningham kept his cool to ram home the spot-kick to Andy Reynolds' left and give the home side the lead.
It could have got worse for Lowestoft in the 16th minute when the lively John Sands released Lee Smith in behind the Trawlerboys' back four but the midfielder failed to keep his composure and blazed over.
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Lowestoft were struggling to gain any kind of foothold in the contest with Matt Nolan often an isolated figure up front as wingers Michael Frew and Chris Henderson struggled to offer any support to the front man.
At the other end John Sands was proving a real thorn in the side of the Lowestoft backline and a jinking run from the striker ended with the ball running to Lee Smith, whose goalbound shot was brilliantly blocked by Andrew Fisk.
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The second goal that Bury had been threatening throughout finally arrived in injury time at the end of the first period and it was largely of Lowestoft's making. A long punt forward was chased down by Cunningham, whose pressure forced Reynolds into a poor clearance and the home side were on to it in a flash.
Smith backed up the play well and drew in Gaughran before releasing Sam Reed, who fired across Reynolds to double Bury's advantage.
Lowestoft started the second half with a lot more purpose and almost halved the deficit in the 50th minute when Ainsley's free-kick found Gaughran at the back post but his header was turned round the past Marcus Garnham. Shortly after, Matt Nolan showed wonderful control to pull the ball out the air but he sidefooted just wide as Lowestoft looked to turn the screw.
Bury almost put the tie to bed in the 68th minute when Sands met Cunningham's free-kick but Reynolds produced a brilliant instinctive save and Forbes completed the clearance off the line.
The former Norwich City winger was lucky not to receive his marching orders late on when he brought down Sands as he bore down on goal but the referee decided on a yellow card before Frew brought a good save out of Garnham in injury time.
• Lowestoft Town (4-3-3): Reynolds, Forbes (Forshaw, 88), Gaughran, Mitchell, Ainsley, Fisk, Sinclair, Eagle (Francis, 61), Henderson (Guentchev, 70), Frew, Nolan. Subs not used: Okay, Godbold.
• Bury Town (4-4-2): Garnham, Short, Nunn, Bullard, Coulson, Smith, L Reed, Kennedy, Cunningham (Leabon, 80), S Reed (Clark, 71), Sands. Subs not used: Hall, Hipperson, Robbins.
• Referee: Shon Meale