Bedford Town 0 Lowestoft Town 2: Young Trawlerboys ease into FA Cup second qualifying round
- Credit: Archant
Lowestoft Town cruised into the second qualifying round of the FA Cup as an own goal and a fine individual strike from Travis Cole downed Bedford.
With injuries still biting hard Lowestoft gave debuts to Freddie Westlake and Ollie Humphrey for the FA Cup visit to Bedford with nine players aged 23 or under in the squad of 14.
In bright sunshine both sides were pushing forward for an early breakthrough with Devante Stanley dragging a his shot wide and then Jake Reed just beaten by keeper Kyle Forster as he chased Harry Barker's teasing though ball.
Lowestoft were taking a grip on the game and were using the wings well and putting in a series of crosses with Reed putting one header just too high and sweeping another into the side netting.
Bedford also went close when their most dangerous player Lee Roache went past Westlake but saw his shot spiral up off Barker's boot and over the bar.
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Jacek Zielonka was coming more into the game putting the ball across for Cole to flash a header just too high and then catching Forster by surprise with a snap 20-yard effort which the keeper held at the second attempt.
Lowestoft took a deserved lead in the 26th minute when Lady Luck finally smiled down on them. Rossi Jarvis' excellent ball out to the left flank saw Callum White whip in a vicious cross which Ollie Swain, racing back to clear, could only turn high into his own net.
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There were further chances at both ends but just before the break Bedford lost striker Lee Roache through injury and moments later Barker's 100th appearance for the Trawlerboys was cut short as he limped off to be replaced by Cruise Nyadzayo.
Although Lowestoft were generally in control they needed a second goal to ease the nerves and they so nearly had it when Zielonka's corner saw Westlake's header cleared off the line by Matt Clifford.
The all-important second goal arrived in the 61st minute and was entirely down to the quick thinking of Reed and Cole. Reed was brought down in the centre circle and got up to slip a quickly taken free kick between the Bedford central defenders for Cole to race clear and take the ball around the keeper before shooting into an empty net.
That goal spurred Bedford into action and ex-Trawlerboy Bradley Woods-Garness moved into a more central attacking role forcing Ben Dudzinski into an excellent save. The Town keeper was then almost caught out by a speculative effort from some 35 yards by Ryan Auger which he had to stretch to tip over the bar. Woods-Garness then sent in another low drive which rebounded out off the base of the upright.
Lowestoft weathered that storm and were pressing again in the closing minutes with Nyadzayo a fraction away from his first senior goal as he beat the keeper but saw his shot clip the upright.
In the final minute Lowestoft sent on Josh Greenleaf for his debut and his immaculate turn allowed him to set up a chance for Zielonka who skied the ball high over the bar.
Bedford Town: Forster. Cooper, Clifford, McKenzie-Lowe, Swain, Peters, Stanley, Auger, Roache (Phillips 43), Sawyer (Brinkman 70), Woods-Garness (Gittens 84). Subs not used: Grant, Harpur.
Lowestoft Town: Dudzinski, Barker (Nyadzayo 43), Humphrey, Cole, Westlake, Leacock, Hodd, Jarvis, Reed (Greenleaf 89), Zielonka, White. Sub not used: Putnins
Referee: Mr S Bates