Stratford Town 1 Lowestoft Town 3: Blues step up a gear ahead of cross-border derby
- Credit: Archant
Lowestoft Town produced their best performance of the season to gain an excellent three points – and set themselves up perfectly for the visit of rivals King's Lynn Town on Monday.
The game got off to an explosive start – in the second minute an under-hit back pass by Kieran Higgs was seized upon by Mike Taylor who rounded Elvijs Putnins but saw his goalbound effort cleared off the line by Rossi Jarvis.
Play immediately switched to the other end where a great run by Armani Schaar saw him find Shaun Bammant who turned a defender and hit a screamer into the top far corner of the net to give the Trawlerboys a third-minute lead.
There was a worry for Lowestoft in the 25th minute when Putnins pulled up after claiming a long through ball, but after treatment he carried on, although clearly hampered. Stratford were having a good spell at this stage, forcing Lowestoft back, and Claudio Dias forced Putnins into a fine diving save.
The home side deservedly equalised five minutes from time with the dangerous Dias getting the ball just inside the Lowestoft half and surging forward before unleashing a fierce low drive that flew past the unsighted Putnins.
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Andy Reynolds replaced Putnins at the start of the second half, which saw Stratford start on top. Lowestoft, though, got their second wind and started to trouble the home defence with some neat interpassing.
Lowestoft should have taken the lead following a well-rehearsed free-kick routine which saw Adam Smith's ball played by Jacek Zielonka into the path of Bammant whose shot hit the outside of the post.
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Lowestoft introduced Ben Fowkes in the 75th minute and the substitute put Lowestoft ahead again minutes later after being set up by Higgs, who was a constant threat down the left.
The icing on the cake came a minute from the end when a series of one-touch passes ripped the home defence apart for Zielonka to slip the ball past the keeper.
There was just time for Reynolds to produce a final cameo performance in diving to save a 20-yard effort from Carvalho and reacting quickly to block Taylor's close range follow up.
Stratford Town: Vaughan, Wilson, Williams, Grocott, McAteer, Fry, Carvalho, Skendi, Taylor, Shariff, Dias (Cox 73). Subs not used: Ahenkorah, Behan, Bako, Maslen-Jones.
Lowestoft Town: Putnins (Reynolds 46), Curry, Higgs, Smith, Jarvis, Deeks, Zielonka, Pollock (Awuah 83), Bammant, Fisk (Fowkes 75), Schaar. Subs not used: Tann, Wren.
Referee: S Brown