Gallagher hopes good will come from Lowestoft Town’s FA Trophy exit
Joint boss Ady Gallagher hopes Lowestoft Town's shock first-round FA Trophy exit to lowly Uxbridge will serve as a wake-up call.
A bizarre late flurry of action helped condemn the Ryman Premier promotion hopefuls to their first Crown Meadow defeat of the season – and to a side struggling a level below the Trawlerboys in the non-league pyramid, near the foot of the Zamaretto League's second tier.
'We were the better side, had a lot of chances – we counted six one-on-ones in the game – and if you don't take your chances you don't deserve to win,' said Gallagher.
'They've probably had less chances than that in the whole game, rode their luck and took their chances, so it's a bit of a wake-up call for us, because I didn't think we were great at times, but we certainly created enough to win the game.'
Saturday was the first time a Lowestoft fixture had beaten the weather since the previous round of the Trophy on November 20. But they probably wished it had not, as four goals and a sending off in the final four minutes – plus four minutes of added time – sealed their fate.
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Not that Gallagher was using Town's enforced break as an excuse – especially given Uxbridge have had exactly the same gap in their fixtures due to the weather.
'It's not relevant; we have to look at ourselves,' said Gallagher. 'We knew it was going to be tough, the pitch is heavy and a bit of a leveller because it's not in great shape, but we wouldn't use that as an excuse. We've been able to train, the players are good enough and I think the performance was good enough to win the game, even though it wasn't outstanding.
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'It just came down to missed opportunities and I think the whole thing is summed up as a missed opportunity in this competition – the shooting today summed it up.'
Town had the better of the chances before the break, but on the hour disaster struck when Greg Crane's shocking back pass gave away a needless corner, and from Dean Clark's delivery Chris Moore steered his downward header home to stun Crown Meadow.
Lowestoft pressed after that, but heroics from goalkeeper Michael Piwonski and some wasteful finishing kept the Reds' lead intact.
In fact, Stuart Farrell missed a great chance to double it – moments before Adrian Forbes – making his return from a knee injury – should have levelled, but contrived to drive wide of the far post.
From there things went crazy. First Mohamid Hashi lashed in from close range four minutes from time, before Moore grabbed his second two minutes later.
The Blues were seemingly down and out but Forbes notched from close range in the 89th minute and again in the third minute of injury time to give Town the slimmest of hopes – added to by full-back Gavin Brown's sending off for a second booking as he tried to prevent Lowestoft from retrieving the ball quickly following their second goal.
But time ran out soon after to leave Town focusing on playing catch-up in their quest for promotion from the Ryman League.
The Trawlerboys travel to Canvey Island on Tuesday, and will hope to make the most of having at least three games in hand on all seven teams above them in the league following the wintery weather.
'We need to get back on the league trail really and we need to get some results, because we're getting behind in games and it's a very tough league,' added Gallagher. 'But we will certainly need to perform better than we did today to get the necessary points in the league.
'We need to dust ourselves down, take the disappointment – we haven't had many over the last few years – and it's time for us to respond. Some players I actually thought played very well today but some were not quite on their game, and they need to react.'
But Gallagher admitted the sight of Forbes and striker Matt Nolan returning to action following injury will help their cause.
'If we can get back to anywhere near full strength as a squad, which we haven't been all season, then we've got a great chance to push on this season and do well,' he said.
'Forbesey has been out and we still need to nurse Matt through, but I've said many times before I think he's arguably the best striker that's ever played for Lowestoft Town, in my opinion. I really do think he's that good and we need him fit and playing, because when he plays we're certainly a more creative side.'
• Lowestoft (4-4-2): Reynolds 7; Cave-Brown 6, Crane 6, Haynes-Brown 7, Smith 6 (Nolan 75, 7); Godbold 6, Mitchell 7, Fisk 7, Francis 7; McGlone 6, Forshaw 6 (Forbes 61, 7). Unused sub: Gaughran, Bloomfield, Woodrow. Goals: Forbes 89, 90+3. Booking: Forshaw.
• Uxbridge (4-2-3-1): Piwonski 8; Brown 6, Fitzgerald 7, Dennison 6, Thomas 7; Clark 7 (Hashi 80, 7), Carter 7; Costa 7 (Farrell 46 7), Warner 6, Moore 7; Tomkins 7. Unused sub (only four): Burton, Howe. Goals: Moore 60, 88; Hashi 86. Sending off: Brown 90+3.
• Referee: Neil Hair; Attendance: 609