Lowestoft Town chief rues missed FA Trophy opportunity against Dover
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Lowestoft Town joint boss Micky Chapman admitted his side had missed out on a big opportunity to make the last 32 of the FA Trophy after defeat to 10-man Dover Athletic.
It was all set up for the Trawlerboys to secure their place in today's second round draw after goalkeeper Andrew Rafferty was shown a straight red card for pulling down Jack Ainsley just before half-time.
Ainsley stroked his penalty past stand-in goalkeeper Tom Wynter, a defender by trade, to level the tie after Tyrone Sterling's opener and Lowestoft knew they had the second half to break down the Conference Premier side.
However, Lowestoft played into the visitors' hands, adopting a sluggish approach that enabled Dover to pick off the Blues through some clinical finishing from Tom Murphy and James Poole.
'It is an opportunity lost and we are really disappointed,' said Chapman, who tried to seize the initiative in the second period by throwing on an extra striker in Bradley Woods-Garness. 'We felt by changing the system and getting another man up top that we could cause them problems but we just weren't at the races.
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'Sometimes you have to hold your hand up and admit that you weren't good enough on the day. We weren't on the front foot like we should have been and we allowed them to get numbers behind the ball and make it difficult for us.
'We needed to play high tempo and look to get in behind them but that didn't happen.
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'Credit to them, they made it difficult and they deserved to win the game.'
Frustratingly, Lowestoft didn't test out Wynter as Dover kept their opponents at a safe distance from their stand-in goalkeeper. Without Jake Reed due to a groin injury, Lowestoft lacked the firepower to cause Dover any significant problems.
With the league the club's priority, Chapman admitted they couldn't afford to take a chance on Reed and risk losing him for the long term.
'Reedy had a tight groin and we couldn't risk him on a heavy pitch,' added Chapman. 'It would have been a gamble and we weren't prepared to take it. If it had gone then he could have been out for up to six weeks.
'(Sam) Gaughran is another one – he pulled a muscle in his neck. We had to be careful with him.'