Lowestoft Town have to settle for a point after dream start
- Credit: Richard Land/Focus Images Ltd
Stalybridge Celtic 1 Lowestoft Town 1
Lowestoft Town failed to convert a dream start into victory but collected a hard-fought point in the Conference North last night.
They took the lead after just 57 seconds thanks to Shaun Bammant, but a Paul Ennis equaliser after the break denied them a first league away win of the season.
The Trawlerboys delivered another gritty performance against a frustrated home side, who saw Liam Dickinson sent off for dissent after the final whistle.
Town started positively and in the first minute, Adam Smith's free-kick from 40 yards out was superbly whipped in and met by Bammant's head.
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He redirected it powerfully into the bottom corner from 15 yards out, beyond helpless home keeper Lewis King to hand the visitors a perfect start.
But they were pegged back early in the second half by Ennis and could not find a winner.
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The Trawlerboys showed three changes from the defeat at Gusieley on Saturday with keeper Ashlee Jones unavailable and Jake Jessup stepping in. Skipper Dan Gleeson returned to heart of their defence and Dawid Radomski replaced Jacek Zielonka, while the injured Lee Smith also missed out.
Such are the Blues' injury problems they were only able to name three substitutes
But they seemed unaffected by the changes and stunned the home side with Bammant's early strike.
Celtic were kept at arm's length for the majority of the first half at Bower Fold, with Jake Reed and Rossi Jarvis firing over from long range as play was condensed into the middle of the park.
The home side finally threatened six minutes before half-time, but Smith was on hand to deny them an equaliser.
Kevin Holsgrove moved on to Liam Dickinson's flick and looked set to round Jessup, but Smith was close enough to thwart the winger with a superb sliding tackle as he seemed set to score.
The Trawlerboys effectively frustrated the home side during the first half with good shape and commitment.
Indeed, Celtic's disappointment was encapsulated with a yellow card for keeper King for dissent as the players left the pitch for the interval.
The visitors were on the back foot at the start of the second half and on 57 minutes the equaliser came as Matt Regan advanced down the left and Ennis slid in between Sam Gaughran and Smith at the far post to convert his low cross from six yards out.
Celtic had their tails up and two minutes later thought they had the lead but substitute James Cadman was flagged offside as he volleyed home a Kelvin Bleau cross.
The game had finally opened up, and Jack Ainsley headed a Smith cross wide for the Trawlerboys, before Jessup denied Ben McKenna with his feet at the other end.
Radomski went close to restoring Lowestoft's lead with 12 minutes remaining but his right foot blast from 25 yards faded wide of the left hand post.
Town right-back Rickie Hayles then forced King into his first meaningful save with a fierce drive tipped behind for a corner as the visitors looked for a winner.
However, they were unable to force a decisive goal and had to settle for a point as their wait for an away win goes on.
Lowestoft Town - Jessup; Hayles, Gleeson (C), Gaughran, Smith; Ainsley, Fisk, Jarvis, Radomski, Bammant; Reed. Subs not used: Zielonka, Marsden, Davis
Goal: Bammant 1
Stalybridge Celtic - King; Bleau, Regan (C), Hughes Galinski; Jordan, Mudimu (Lomax, 84), Holsgrove (Cadman,45), McKenna; Ennis, Dickinson. Subs: Staunton-Turner, Heath, Martin.
Bookings: Jordan, King, Galinski, Cadman, Dickinson.
Goal: Ennis 57
Ref: J Hunt. Att: n/a