Lowestoft Town skipper Greg Crane on a Conference mission
Lowestoft Town skipper Greg Crane has called on the Blues to banish the play-off final heartache suffered last season when they travel to AFC Hornchurch this afternoon looking to realise their Conference dreams.
Exactly a year ago today Lowestoft went down to an agonising 4-3 defeat at Tonbridge and Crane has emphasised to his team-mates the importance of not enduring that kind of disappointment again.
Dean Sinclair's injury-time penalty against Wealdstone ensured Lowestoft have another chance to win a place in the Conference set-up and Crane is determined not to let it slip by.
'I think it's good to have a look back and remember just how it felt last season,' said Crane, who was part of the Blues squad which fought back from 3-1 down before losing out to a late winner.
'We want to make sure that we don't feel like that again. Most of the boys played in that match and we're going to go to Hornchurch and finish the job off this time.'
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Hornchurch will be hoping to make home advantage count although the Blues have only lost once on the road since a nightmare February, which all but ended any hopes they had of securing automatic promotion.
Key to Lowestoft's chances of success will be keeping Hornchurch dangerman Martin Tuohy quiet, with the striker plundering 27 goals in the league this season.
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Crane and defensive partner Sam Gaughran are likely to be tasked with keeping a close eye on the front man while Blues will be counting on young goalkeeperJake Jessup to step up once again in the absence of Andy Reynolds, who is likely to be out with an ankle injury.
The 18-year-old was a commanding presence against Wealdstone despite being slightly at fault for the visitors' goal and Crane has no concerns the youngster will be able to handle such a big occasion this afternoon.
'He's done it all season - every time Reyns (Reynolds) has been out Jake has stepped in really well,' he said. 'He was a bit nervous at times – that's understandable – he's an 18-year-old kid.
'But he's coming into a game that's highly pressured. He came off his lines a number of time to really relieve the pressure on us and speaking as a defender, that's exactly what you want to see – a goalkeeper taking command of his penalty area.
'He's a really good young goalkeeper and he will be able to step up again.'