Jake Reed takes centre as Lowestoft Town confirm their Step Three status
- Credit: Archant
Lowestoft Town needed just one point to confirm their step three status for next season - but they took all three from a pulsating five-goal thriller.
The day belonged to Jake Reed who completed his third hat-trick since his return from Leiston with five minutes remaining to make it a century of goals for the club.
Lowestoft dominated the early stages and deservedly took the lead after 27 minutes. Dylan Williams was looking lively for the Trawlerboys and his shrewd pass between the two central defenders saw Reed slide the ball past Ross Etheridge.
Lowestoft emphasised their superiority eight minutes later with a second goal. There seemed little danger as Reed collected the ball some 40 yards out but he promptly breezed past three challenges before firing home from the edge of the area.
Stratford were given a lifeline four minutes later following a mix-up between Josh Curry and Elvijs Putnins. Attempting to head back to the keeper Curry failed to put enough pace on the ball and it found its way to Nabil Shariff to tap in.
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That goal spurred Stratford into action and 90 seconds into the second period they equalised when Dan Creaney's downward header from a corner somehow squirmed under Putnins' body and into the net.
Putnins soon atoned for his error with a superb point blank save from top scorer Michael Taylor and after surviving that bout of pressure Lowestoft started to get back into the game. Shaun Bammant played Reed through but the striker was denied by a superb tackle by Jordan Williams but the hosts did have the final say when Henry Pollock's low cross was turned into the net by Reed from close range.
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Lowestoft Town: Putnins, Curry, Smith (Wren 90), Barker, Tann, Deeks, Zielonka (Pollock 82), Fisk, Reed, Bammant (Schaar 71), D Williams, Subs not used: Reynolds, J Wilkinson.
Stratford Town: Etheridge, Wilson, Fisher (Taylor 46), Fry, Sebbeh-Njie (Grocott 40), J Williams, Carvalho, Skendi, Shariff, Creaney, Isaac (Williams 88), Sub not used: Shergill.
Referee: A Byrne. Attendance 461.