Lowestoft Town left to rue their luck after dramatic away defeat at Hednesford
- Credit: Andy Kearns/Focus Images Limited
Lowestoft Town's management team were left wondering what they have done to upset Lady Luck once again as a hotly-disputed late penalty robbed them of a deserved point against Hednesford.
To add to their woes, there were three further additions to the casualty list by the end of the game.
With centre-backs Dan Gleeson and Sam Gaughran both ruled out there was an immediate debut for 19-year-old Omar Sowunmi, signed on a month's loan from Ipswich Town the night before the game.
Joe Marsden, who had impressed in his 20-minute spell in the 3-1 defeat at league leaders AFC Fylde the previous week, was included in the starting line-up in place of Dean Mason, who dropped to the bench.
Hednesford made a flying start to the game with Jamey Osborne and Jack Thomas pulling the strings and twice in the opening couple of minutes Sowunmi was in the centre of things with saving tackles to deny Steve Diggins and Osborne excellent close-range scoring opportunities.
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There was a gale force wind blowing diagonally across the pitch and despite having this in their favour it was 20 minutes before Lowestoft had weathered the early Hednesford storm and started to get into the game.
After surviving a penalty appeal when an awkward bounce saw the ball strike his hand, Marsden was soon in action at the other end as he cut into the area but saw his shot blocked in front of goal.
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Rossi Jarvis then sent a reverse pass through for Jake Reed which was cut out by the outstretched leg of Paul McCone. As Lowestoft continued to press, right-back Jack Ainsley joined the attack and sent in a ferocious 20-yard drive which cannoned into team-mate Shaun Bammant and was cleared.
Goalkeeper Ashlee Jones again took centre stage as he saved at the foot of the post from Ben Bailey before flying across the goal to superbly save a spectacular overhead shot from Thomas.
It was Lowestoft on the attack as the half ended with a Curtis Haynes-Brown long throw flicked on by Bammant to Andrew Fisk whose header was held by Dan Crane. Left-back Adam Smith was injured in the build-up to the attack and was carried off to be replaced by Erkan Okay.
Lowestoft started the second half with Jarvis dropping into the back four and Okay taking up a position in midfield. Haynes-Brown moved across to the full-back position and was immediately on the end of a rash tackle by Diggin, who was shown a yellow card. Just four minutes into the half Marsden went down injured and he too had to be replaced, with Mason taking his place on the right of midfield.
The second half was becoming a cut and thrust affair. Jones was in superb form and made a miraculous save from a close-range effort from Osborne. Sowunmi moved up for an Eagle free-kick but his header was saved by Crane. It was then Jones' turn again as he made a sharp reflex save after a Darren Campion cross had been met at the near post and then excelled again to clutch a 10-yard drive from Thomas.
With just three minutes left to play the hosts were awarded a controversial penalty as substitute Paul Sullivan went down in the area despite there seeming to be little contact, resulting in a mass melee which resulted in Fisk being shown a second yellow card and Mason also going into the book. After things had quietened down Sullivan converted the spot kick to put Hednesford ahead,
Lowestoft sent on Bradley Woods-Garness in place of Eagle and threw everyone forward to try and snatch an equaliser but left themselves outnumbered at the back and a three-on-one break saw Walker shoot past an exposed Jones three minutes into added time to put a flattering edge to the scoreline in Hednesford's favour.
The Trawlerboys return to action on Saturday, at home against Hyde.