Troubled Lowestoft guarantee safety as Elvijs stars in win at Met Police
- Credit: Archant
Lowestoft Town are staying up.
The Trawlerboys – beset by problems in recent weeks after revealing financial problems – defied the odds to get the three points that preserves their Step 3 status.
There were rapturous scenes at the end as players and supporters chanted 'We are staying up' at Imber Court where the Trawlerboys numbered at least half of the meagre attendance.
Victory was gained on the strength of a solid back line behind which Elvijs Putnins is now relishing the opportunity to show his capabilities after having spent most of the season on the bench. His immaculate display, including a crucial penalty save, saw him dominate his six-yard box, claiming numerous high balls and showing his bravery diving amongst the flying boots. In front of him Travis Cole and Rory McAuley were solid whilst Jacek Zielonka and Ollie Humphrey had their work cut out to reduce the number of crosses coming in to the box.
Although the Police had the major share of possession it was Lowestoft who created the better chances throughout. They had already gone close with Armani Schaar creating a chance for Renei Batlokwa which was deflected wide off Tom Williams' legs before they took the lead in the 16th minute.
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McAuley's long ball forward saw Schaar chasing a seemingly lost cause, but the pressure he applied to Will Salmon forced confusion between the central defender and keeper allowing Schaar to take advantage to score from a narrow angle.
Just four minutes later Shaun Bammant's clumsy tackle on Jonathan Wright gave the Police a penalty, but Putnins dived to his right to hold Tom Bird's poorly-struck spot kick. Bammant was close to atoning for his earlier blemish as he worked an opening for Batlokwa which just cleared the bar.
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Police applied heavy pressure as the first half came to a close with Wright missing a golden opportunity, heading over at the far post, and then the big striker inadvertently blocked a goalbound header from Salmon on the line. The ball was quickly cleared to Batlokwa who set Robert Eagle free but Williams again came to his side's rescue pushing the ball past the post.
The second half was mainly a defensive battle with Putnins producing an excellent reflex save from Wright's close-range effort and tipping a dipping strike from Callum Kealy over the bar. Lowestoft had chances, with Schaar twice skimming the bar from distance and a last-minute close-range effort from Batlokwa ruled out for offside.
Met Police: Williams, Goode, Bird, Autorino (Gallagher 58), Salmon, Gasson, Hippolyte-Patrick, Hickey, Wright, Mummery (Robinson 72), Enver-Marum (Kealy 68), Subs not used: Robertson, Arthur
Lowestoft: Putnins, Zielonka, Humphrey, Fisk, Cole, McAuley, Eagle, Smith, Schaar, Batlokwa, Bammant, Subs not used: Machaya, Wren, Langdale, Youngman, Leslie.
Referee: B Gill. Attendance: 80