Leatherhead 2 Lowestoft Town 1: Trawlerboys go down bravely against Tanners
- Credit: Archant
Lowestoft Town went down to a brave defeat against highly-fancied Leatherhead as the Trawlerboys almost scrambled for a point at Fetcham Grove.
The Trawlerboys gave a debut to four of their new signings with a fifth coming off the bench just past the half hour mark.
The Tanners had parted company with the charismatic Jimmy Bullard but new player manager Sammy Moore had assembled a side full of experienced former National League players.
It took the Trawlerboys 25 minutes of so to settle but once they had they more than matched their hosts and despite the defeat there were many positives to take from the game. Ben Dudzinski deservedly took the man of the match plaudits with an outstanding display but there were also excellent performances from Travis Cole, Harry Barker and Dean Leacock with Jacek Zielonka getting singled out for praise by the home team's manager.
Using a new formation this season it took Lowestoft 25 minutes to settle during which they could easily have been three or four goals adrift.
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Leatherhead were well on top during this period and looked to be heading for a decisive victory when Chike Kandi broke away to set up a simple tap in for Jack Midson after just five minutes.
The skill and strong running of both Kandi and Midson caused Lowestoft all sorts of problems and it took a string of excellent saves from Dudzinski to keep the deficit to one.
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It was not until the quarter hour mark that Lowestoft finally threatened the home goal with Shaun Bammant robbing Yannis Ambroisine but his cross was inches too far for Jake Reed to reach.
Lowestoft were now making a game of it with Reed again heading just too high from a Zielonka free kick. On 35 minutes Callum White came off the bench to make his debut in place of a struggling Rossi Jarvis with Barker moving into the centre of defence. A good spell of Lowestoft pressure almost resulted in an equaliser but Leacock's header from Zielonka's cross scraped the outside of the post.
The second half was a superbly balanced affair with both sides having spells on top in what had become an excellent contest. However a rare mistake by Cole as he lost possession just outside the penalty area led to Leatherhead getting their second goal with 15 minutes left to play. Once again it was Kandi who did the damage crossing for Midson to head home from close range.
Reed had a great chance to reduce the arrears 10 minutes from time as he raced clear but saw his shot parried by Zaki Oualah with Bammant's shot on the turn from the rebound sailing too high.
Lowestoft's efforts were finally rewarded in the final minute of normal time as Cole rose high to head home Adam Smith's free kick. There was almost a dramatic finish as Harvey Hodd's low driven cross deflected off a defender and just the wrong side of the upright.
Leatherhead: Oualah, Clohessy, Richards, Minshull, Cartwright, Ambroisine, Gallagher (Semakula 75), Moore (Blackman 67), Kandi, Midson, Davies (McManus 71). Subs not used: Nnamani, Mitford
Lowestoft Town: Dudzinski, Barker, Smith, Jarvis (White 35), Cole, Leacock, Zielonka, Fisk, Reed, Daniels (Hodd 53), Bammant, Subs not used: Westlake, Greenleaf, Putnins
Referee: Mr J Patterson