Lewes 2, Lowestoft Town 1
Lowestoft Town came 11 agonising minutes from holding out with 10 men away at Lewes.
The Trawlerboys were were forced to play the whole of the second half a man short at the Dripping Pan after winger Joe Francis had been sent off just before the break for two yellow cards in quick succesion.
But despite their second half disadvantage, the visitors from Suffolk were keeping their East Sussex hosts fairly comfortably at bay until midfielder Jack Walder popped up in the 79th minute to steal a winner for the Rooks.
Lowestoft had taken the lead in the 16th minutes – with a goal from Francis, himself. The wide man fired a delicious left-footed free-kick into the bottom right hand corner of Kieron Thorp's net from fully 20 yards, after Rooks captain Steve Robinson had been penalised for going through the back of Lee Smith.
It looked for all the world that James Fergany had equalised five minutes later when the young Rook burst through to meet a bouncing through ball before keeper Andrew Plummer, but his sweet lob over the Trawlerboys keeper bounced just past the far post.
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But the hosts were level within two minutes of that. Anthony Thomas saw an angled shot saved by Plummer but the ball was sent straight back into the box by Steve Brinkhurst, where Ben Godfrey was lurking to turn the ball in.
With the game approaching half time, Lewes had three men in the referee's notebook to Lowestoft's none. But all that changed dramatically when Francis received two cautions inside three minutes – first for a trip on right back Brinkhurst and then for another trip, on Karl Beckford. Neither foul was malicious or cynical but referee but referee Graham Kane probably had no choice but to send him off.
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However, despite their man advantage, Lewes struggled to make the most of the extra break after the break.
Very little was created for the Rooks until skipper Robinson saw a drilled effort cleared off the line by a desperate Lowestoft defender on 62 minutes. And it took until the 79th minute before they broke through, Walder piling the ball in past Plummer at the far post following a Joe Kay cross.
Just three minutes later, Walder was the Rooks hero at the other end of the pitch, when he athletically hooked a Robert Eagle header off his own goal line.
• Lewes: Kieron Thorp, Steve Brinkhurst, Lewis Hamilton (Joe Kay 69), Jack Walder, Steve Robinson, Chris Breach, James Fergany, Anthony Thomas (Callum Dunne 64), Ben Godfrey, Karl Beckford, Layton Schaaf (Max Howell 64). Subs not usedCharlie Leach, Jordan Stubbings. Bookings: Brinkhurst, Robinson, Thomas,
• Lowestoft: Plummer, Baker, Ainsley (Eagle 36), Fisk, Mitchell, Gaughran, Smith, Cockrill, Defty (Frew 84), Henderson, Francis. Subs not used: Jones, Okay, Jessup. Bookings: Francis (two: 41 and 44); Mitchell.
• Referee: Graham Kane.
• Attendance: 247