Lowestoft Town 1 Dover Athletic 3: Blues miss their big chance in FA Trophy
- Credit: James Bass
Lowestoft Town spurned a great chance to progress in the FA Trophy as they went down to 10-man Dover Athletic at Crown Meadow.
After going behind to Tyrone Sterling's opener, Lowestoft were handed a lifeline before half-time when Dover keeper, Andrew Rafferty, pulled down Jack Ainsley inside the penalty area. Rafferty was given his marching orders and Ainsley fired past substitute goalkeeper Tom Wynter, normally a defender, to restore parity.
It was all set up for Lowestoft to sweep aside the 10 men in the second half but they failed to work Wynter and the visitors clinically finished off the Blues.
Dangerman Tom Murphy rifled home to restore the Whites' advantage after a mistake by Ashlee Jones and the Trawlerboys were caught on the break in injury time allowing substitute James Poole to fire home.
Lowestoft almost got off to a dream start when, after 55 seconds, Rickie Hayles met Robert Eagle's corner but could only glance just wide from 12 yards.
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Dover immediately served notice of the kind of threat they posed when Murphy cut in from the right flank before unleashing a rising drive that flew inches over the bar.
The visitors proceeded to take a grip on proceedings with Murphy in particular looking a constant threat. The winger showed a great piece of skill to lose Adam Smith in the 17th minute but with a clear sight of goal he sliced horribly wide.
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Dover went a lot closer to breaking the deadlock midway through the half when Sean Francis met Barry Cogan's corner only to see his headed effort hacked off the line by Adam Smith.
With Shaun Bammant ploughing a lone furrow up front, Lowestoft were struggling to pose an attacking threat. Realising this, Erkan Okay made an excellent break forward in the 24th minute and his run wasn't tracked by his opposite number. He checked inside the Dover defender and his scuffed effort from the edge of the area was tipped onto the post by Rafferty.
Dover took full advantage of their let-off shortly after when Murphy's low shot was superbly saved by Jones but the rebound only ran as far as Sterling, who rammed the ball home from close range.
The visitors had chances to extend their lead before the break as they cut the Blues defence open on several occasions. Only some profligate finishing from Murphy and Stefan Payne prevented them from extending their advantage.
The misses would come back to haunt Dover though when the match swung in Lowestoft's favour as Rafferty was shown a straight red card. Okay had made another good break forward and when his shot was saved, Ainsley was on to the rebound.
The former Ipswich man tried to take the ball round the keeper and was pulled down with the refereeing pointing to the spot and giving Rafferty his marching orders.
Nick Deverdics was sacrificed and Tom Wynter, a defender by trade, took the goalkeeper's gloves and Ainsley stroked the penalty home.
Bradley Woods-Garness came on at the expense of Dawid Radomski as Lowestoft tried to take advantage of the extra man. The former Canvey Island striker almost made an instant impact when Rossi Jarvis' pass bisected the Dover defence to put him through on goal.
Woods-Garness tried to square to Bammant, whose first touch let him down and the chance had gone.
Lowestoft were carrying more of a threat with two up front but, against the run of play, Dover got their noses back in front in the 66th minute. Jones could only flap at a Cogan corner and when the ball came to Murphy, he rifled the ball home from 10 yards.
Lowestoft huffed and puffed but couldn't work force substitute goalkeeper Wynter into any significant saves. As the Blues pushed forward in search of an equaliser they were caught on the break when Poole calmly slotted home.
Lowestoft (4-5-1): Jones, Hayles, Gleeson, Haynes-Brown, Smith, Jarvis, Radomski (Woods-Garness 46), Okay, Ainsley, Eagle (Davis 83), Bammant (Zielonka 88). Subs not used: Jessup.
Dover Athletic (3-5-2): Rafferty, Orlu, Bellamy, Murphy, Cogan, Payne (Poole 80), Francis, Sterling, Deverdics (Wynter 45), Bonner, Essam.
Referee: Alan Young