Bury Town 1 Lowestoft Town 1
A stirring second half display saw Lowestoft Town rescue a point against Suffolk rivals Bury Town last night.
Lee Smith's late penalty ensured the Trawlerboys left with a share of the spoils although their title dreams now look to be over with Whitehawk needing to beat Leiston on Saturday to all but secure promotion.
However, this was a point gained for Craig Fleming's side after they deservedly fell behind in the first half to Craig Parker's spot kick. But Lowestoft staged an excellent fightback in the second half culminating in Lee Smith's equaliser after Hakeem Araba had been fouled inside the area by Tom Bullard.
The evening was soured though by a serious injury to Jack Defty with the striker set to miss the rest of the season after being stretchered off midway through the second half.
Lowestoft made a bright start with Henderson in particular looking dangerous despite a couple of reducing challenges from Bury skipper Tom Bullard.
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Lee Smith had a great chance to open the scoring in the fifth minute when Adam Smith's in-swinging free-kick found him free at the back post but his volleyed effort flashed over the bar.
The Trawlerboys might have had a penalty shortly after when a clumsy challenge by Warren Whitely on Erkan Okay sent the Lowestoft man tumbling but the referee was unimpressed.
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Henderson should have put Lowestoft in front when Fisk's ball over the top released him in behind the Bury back four. The former Ram Meadow favourite checked back inside Bullard but, at the crucial moment, he scuffed his shot and Garnham saved well with his legs.
This proved to be the turning point in the half as three minutes later Bury hit the front when Williams was penalised for tripping Sam Reed inside the penalty area. The former Ipswich Town Academy product could have little complaint as Parker coolly slid home the spot-kick sending Reynolds the wrong way in the process.
It was one-way traffic for the rest of the half as the swagger Lowestoft had started with suddenly disappeared. Reynolds made a fantastic double save to deny John Sands when a long ball over the top caught the Trawlerboys' back four square.
Reynolds then had to make a smart save to deny Parker a second before, on the stroke of half-time, Sam Reed rifled a shot just over the bar after driving at the heart of Lowestoft's back four.
It was the same story at the start of the second as once against the visitors were thankful to Reynolds for keeping them in the contest. Sands rose highest to meet Russell Short's cross but his downward header was brilliantly turned round the post by the Blues' shot-stopper.
Lowestoft's hopes of a comeback suffered a setback when top goalscorer, Defty, had to be substituted after clashing with Bullard with the former King's Lynn man leaving the field with his leg in a brace.
Hakeem Araba was introduced and made an instant impact when he flicked the ball on for Michael Frew, who found Henderson inside the six-yard box but Garnham was quick off his line to smother the chance.
Araba's physical presence was causing Bury problems with the home side looking content to protect their 1-0 advantage.
However, they couldn't hold out as Lowestoft were awarded a penalty five minutes from time when Araba was shoved over by Bullard. Lee Smith stepped up to ram home the penalty and the Trawlerboys wasted little time in searching for a winner.
Only a lack of composure by Araba prevented the Blues from taking the lead when he was found by Joe Benjamin but, with only Garnham to beat, he lashed over.
- Lowestoft Town (4-1-4-1): Reynolds, Gleeson, Crane, Williams, A Smith, L Smith, Fisk (Frew 67), Okay, Dawkin (Benjamin 80), Henderson, Defty (Araba 67). Subs not used: Eagle, Cunningham.
- Bury Town (4-4-2): Garnham, Short, Bullard, Tann, Coulson, Whitely (Key 88), Parker, Hall, Patrick, Reed, Sands. Subs not used: Nunn, Lee Reed, Clark, Logan.
- Referee: Nick Cooper
- Attendance: 594