Lowestoft Town 3 Harrow Borough 0: Blues hope to make it fourth time lucky in the play-offs
- Credit: James Bass
The drama of the Ryman Premier play-offs will decide Lowestoft Town's destiny for the fourth consecutive season, after the Trawlerboys won their third match on the trot.
That late recovery of form – losing only two of their last 19 matches – could well provide Lowestoft with one of the key factors needed to secure play-off success; momentum.
The Blues will now be thrown straight back into action on Wednesday night, as they look to continue their five-match unbeaten run when they travel to Bognor Regis Town (7.45pm kick-off).
This 3-0 home win against 18th-placed Harrow Borough secured fourth place for Lowestoft, having been in seventh place just eight days prior.
It means an away semi-final against Bognor, who finished third. Last season the Trawlerboys reached the play-off final, agonisingly losing 2-1 at home to Concord Rangers, and the two previous seasons saw play-off final defeats at Tonbridge and Hornchurch.
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Whatever happens, the delight of the Lowestoft management, players and support was clear for all to see at full-time on Saturday.
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Goals from Robert Eagle, Shaun Bammant and Michael Frew wrapped up the victory, but Harrow Borough had started well and Adam Louth gave Lowestoft an early scare by curling a free-kick inches wide, before goalkeeper Ashlee Jones dived bravely at Victor Osubu's feet to divert the ball away for a corner.
Lowestoft suffered a blow in the 38th minute with Curtley Williams crashing into the hoardings and being carried away to hospital with a suspected dislocated shoulder. Monday's two-goal hero in the 2-1 win at Bury Town, Jack Ainsley, came off the bench to replace him.
The home side finally made the breakthrough they craved in the final minute of the first half with a goal worthy of winning any game.
On-loan Dereham Town striker Shaun Bammant held the ball up before slipping it back to Eagle for the winger to unleash a majestic drive which crashed against the post before rolling along the goal-line and just inside the other post.
The tension was then lifted for the Blues and they piled the pressure on to Harrow after the break.
Chris Henderson and Jake Reed both went close before the second goal arrived when top-scorer Reed played the ball through to Eagle, whose shot was blocked and despite being wrestled to the ground, Bammant somehow managed to get his foot to the ball and hook it over his head into the roof of the net.
Harrow were reduced to 10 men when Anthony Page was given a straight red after a clash with Andrew Fisk and Lowestoft finished the game on a high note, as Ainsley slipped the ball to substitute Michael Frew to slide the ball past the keeper with his first touch of the match.
Lowestoft: Jones, Williams (J Ainsley 38), A Smith, Fisk, Gleeson, Gaughran, Henderson (Haynes-Brown 80), Jarvis, Reed, Bammant (Frew 90), Eagle. Substitutes not used: S Ainsley, Jessup.
Harrow Borough: Shea, Barima, Louth, Williams, Gilbert, Page, Dyer, Wolleaston, Charles-Smith (Taylor 72), Butterworth (Akinola 72), Osobu (Debattista 57). Substitues not used: Lucien, Cooper.
Referee: Alan Dale