Lowestoft Town 2 Grays 2
Lowestoft Town were denied victory by a dramatic late equaliser from Jeff Hammond as Grays rallied to snatch a point at Crown Meadow.
Lee Smith looked to have bagged all three points for the Trawlerboys when he scrambled the ball home after missing a penalty just moments earlier.
But in the last attack of the game Hammond headed home when Lowestoft failed to clear the corner and the Grays front man was there to take full advantage and leave the Blues without a win in three games.
Lee Smith had given Lowestoft the lead just before half-time with a composed finish after good work from Bradley Woods-Garness. However, the Trawlerboys were pegged back early in the second half when Curtis Haynes-Brown put through his own net.
Both sides struggled to come to terms with the slippery surface in the opening stages but Lowestoft always looked the more likely to break the deadlock.
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Robert Eagle's delivery from set-pieces was causing the visitors problems with the former Norwich City winger twice finding Lee Smith inside the penalty area but, on both occasions, the midfielder headed over.
Lowestoft toiled going forward but in Eagle they have a player with the kind of technical ability few others can match at this level. He gave a glimpse of his talent in the 25th minute with a nice turn on the edge of the area but his scuffed right-footed shot was easily collected by Grays goalkeeper Lamar Johnson.
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Grays, who began the season with four straight wins, showed little to back up their impressive start as Haynes-Brown and Sam Gaughran easily shackled lone frontman Hammond.
Jack Ainsley had a good chance to open the scoring in the 38th minute when latching on to Chris Henderson's pass but Grays defender Ryan Maxwell did well to intercept just as the former Ipswich man was about to shoot.
But Lowestoft got the breakthrough they deserved two minutes before the break when Woods-Garness robbed Phil Anderson before cleverly back-heeling into the path of Lee Smith, who swept the ball home from 14 yards.
Lowestoft's lead was short-lived however as the Blues were left counting the cost of another sluggish start to the second half. In trying to clear Leon Latite's vicious in-swinging corner Haynes-Brown could only flick the ball into his own net despite the best efforts of Adam Smith on the line to keep it out.
Grays' confidence was suddenly restored and Latite's set-pieces were causing real problems. However, it was Lowestoft who had the best chance to snatch the points when Jack Ainsley got the better of Craig Pope to bear down on the goalkeeper. However, from a tight angle Johnson produced an excellent one-handed save with Lee Smith furious Ainsley didn't square the ball to him.
But Lowestoft thought they had found a winner when Henderson was tripped inside the penalty area by Craig Pope. Lee Smith's initial spot-kick was saved but the ball was somehow kept alive and the former Bury man slammed home from close range.
But the drama wasn't over and Hammond headed home to deprive Lowestoft of the three points they so desperately wanted.
- Lowestoft Town (4-3-3): Jones, Gleeson, Gaughran, Haynes-Brown, A Smith, Fisk, Eagle, J Ainsley, Smith, Henderson, Woods-Garness (Frew 82). Subs not used: Okay, S Ainsley, Cunningham, Otobo.
- Grays Athletic (4-5-1): Johnson, Pope, Baker, Nightingill, Anderson, Small, Latite, Maxwell, Beaney, Carlos, Hammond. Subs not used: West, Hamdan, Cruikshank, Flynn, Ramos-Gonzalez.
- Referee: Anthony Da Costa
- Attendance: 257