Lowestoft Town 1 Gloucester City 1: Blues relegated from National League North
- Credit: Andy Kearns/Focus Images Limited
Lowestoft Town have been relegated from National League North.
The Trawlerboys could only manage a 1-1 draw at home to Gloucester City, which coupled with Brackley's 1-0 win at home to Tamworth, relegated the Blues on goal difference.
Lowestoft looked safe midway through the first half when Danny Crow put them in front but the Trawlerboys ran out of steam in the second period leaving the door ajar for Brackley to stage the great escape.
News filtered through that the Northamptonshire side had gained the lead against Tamworth and when Louis Robles equalised for Gloucester, Lowestoft looked doomed.
Lowestoft knew they would need a huge improvement from their display against North Ferriby and Jake Reed set the tone in the second minute when the striker smashed into Gloucester goalkeeper Jasbir Singh when chasing a through-ball.
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The striker, who was making his first start in the league since an ankle injury sustained last month, looked a lively presence in the opening stages but it was Michael Spillane who came closest to opening the scoring in the fifth minute but the former Norwich City man just couldn't make contact with Crow's well-flighted corner in the six-yard area.
Gloucester served a warning in the seventh minute that they were capable of providing a threat of their own. Colby Bishop got the wrong side of Spillane in the Lowestoft penalty area but fortunately for the Blues the striker nodded over the bar.
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But it was Lowestoft that looked the more likely and they thought they had hit the front in the 17th minute when Reed's flick put Crow through on goal and the Blues' hitman guided the ball home from the edge of the area. Crown Meadow erupted but celebrations were cut short upon the sight of the referee's assistant raising his flag.
The Trawlerboys' faithful wouldn't have to wait long though to see their side open the scoring. Adam Smith's free-kick to the back post was headed back across goal by Kyprianou where the waiting Reed look certain to score. However, Singh made a fine reflex stop to deny Reed but Crow was on hand to lash home the rebound.
Relief swept through the Meadow and for the rest of the half Lowestoft contained their opponents without offering much threat themselves.
But the nerves that crippled Lowestoft in their match against North Ferriby in midweek returned in the second half to the Blues' fatal cost.
The warning signs were there just before the hour mark when Lewis Hall saw a looping header saved by Ben Killip.
The killer blow arrived in the 66th minute. A long ball into Lowestoft's box wasn't dealt with and Kyprianou's poor clearing header fell into the path of substitute Robles, who couldn't miss from six yards.
The Trawlerboys huffed and puffed thereafter but they looked a beaten side and in truth Gloucester looked the side more likely to score.
Adam Smith saw a free-kick fly just wide but the most excitement in the closing stages came when bogus news came through that Tamworth had equalised against Brackley. It wasn't the case and even when Spillane was thrown up top as an emergency centre forward Lowestoft still failed to carve out any worthwhile opportunities.
The season had finally caught up with the Blues and they must plan now for another season in the Ryman League Premier – the league they had fought so hard to get out of.
Lowestoft (4-4-2): Killip, Barker, Spillane, Kyprianou, A Smith, Henderson, Deeks, Rossi Jarvis, Bammant, Crow (Eagle 73), Reed. Subs not used: Marsden, Mason, Nyayzayo.
Gloucester City (4-4-2): Singh, Green, Hamilton, Avery, Jones, Hall (Robles 60), Knowles, Webb, Dinsley (Hanks 80), Sterling-James (E Williams 31), Bishop. Subs not used: Richards, M Williams.
Referee: Ian Rathbone