Lowestoft Town 2 Oxford City 1: Blues come from behind to claim vital win
- Credit: Tom Smith/Focus Images Limited
Lowestoft Town's first-half resurgence was enough to secure all three points at home to Oxford City in the Vanarama Conference North this afternoon.
Kynan Isaac had given Oxford the lead in the 16th minute and the visitors had numerous chances to extend their lead against an initially lacklustre Lowestoft side.
However, it all changed in the 35th minute when Jake Reed got his first goal for the Blues since re-signing last month with a fine right-footed finish. The turnaround was completed on the stroke of half-time when Lee Smith, making his first appearance since re-signing from Biggleswade, teed up Chris Henderson, who volleyed home at the back post.
Lowestoft had chances to wrap up victory in the second half, most notably through Lee Smith, who saw his header wonderfully saved by Nathan Abbey. Oxford's hopes of getting something out of the game were all but ended 15 minutes from time when defender Alejandro Santiago was given his marching orders for two bookable offences.
Lowestoft flew out of the blocks and could have been in front after 40 seconds when Lee Smith crossed for Reed inside the six-yard box but a combination of Santiago and Abbey snuffed out the striker.
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That early scare didn't knock the visitors out of their stride however and they proceeded to take a firm grip of the game. Isaac should have put his side in front in the 14th minute when he was played through by Javier Rodriguez but Jake Jessup was off his line quickly and managed to tip his shot wide.
However, two minutes later, Lowestoft weren't so fortunate as Isaac made no mistake. Paul Stonehouse wasn't closed down on the left flank and his cross was touched on by Jussuf for Isaac to glance home at the back post form six yards.
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Oxford then should have been out of sight as they carved through Lowestoft at will for the next 20 minutes. Santiago had an effort tipped over the bar by Jessup whilst Alejandro Mullings headed wide when left completely unmarked.
Oxford would come to rue these missed chances when, against the run of play, Lowestoft got back on level terms in the 35th minute.
Lee Smith, who was perhaps the only Blues outfield player to emerge with any credit for the opening half-hour, curled an excellent pass in behind the Oxford back four for Reed to run on to. The former Dagenham & Redbridge man's touch let him down and the chance looked to have gone. However, Oxford failed to clear their lines and when the ball arrived back at Reed, he made no mistake from 12 yards, rifling into the bottom corner.
It got even better for the hosts on the stroke of half-time as they got their noses in front and, again, Lee Smith was the architect. The winger got free down the left and sent over a pinpoint cross for Henderson at the back post and he volleyed home from a tight angle. The momentum was well and truly with Lowestoft and they could have extended their lead in injury time at the end of the first half. Henderson showed Rodriguez a clean pair of heels down the left flank but goalkeeper Abbey did well to beat away the forward's cross-shot.
The contest took on more of an attritional feel in the second half although Jack Ainsley nearly extended the Blues lead but his scything run ended with a poor finish from the former Ipswich man.
Ainsley then teed up Robert Eagle on the hour mark but the Blues' substitute's volley was superbly saved by Abbey. The Oxford goalkeeper produced more heroics shortly after when Eagle's in-swinging free-kick was met by Lee Smith, whose header was brilliantly tipped wide by Abbey.
The visitors' task got even tougher in the 75th minute when Santiago was given a second yellow card for a late tackle on Dawid Radomski.
It didn't stop Oxford carrying a threat though and only an excellent block on the line by Rickie Hayles prevented Claudio Hoban from levelling matters in the 80th minute.
- Lowestoft Town (4-4-2): Jessup, Ainsley, Hayles, Haynes-Brown, A Smith, L Smith, Fisk, Radomski, Henderson (Eagle 48), Reed (Bammant 89), Woods-Garness (Zielonka 90). Subs not used: Louis, Davis.
- Oxford City (4-5-1): Abbey, L Henderson, Lapoujade, Santiago, Stonehouse, Pond, Mullings (Hoban 68), Winters, Rodriguez, Isaac (Barcelos 64), Jussuf (Jackson 46). Subs not used: Benjamin.
- Referee: Steve Plane
- Attendance: 641