Merstham 6 Lowestoft Town 2: Trawlerboys put to the sword
- Credit: Archant
For the neutral and home fans this game had everything you could hope for.
Eight excellent goals, near misses at both ends and 90 minutes of non-stop attacking football in a game that was a credit to the Bostik League in front of League chairman Nick Robinson.
Town manager, Ady Gallagher, though was left pondering just why his team allowed their hosts so much time and space to run at his defence.
Lowestoft were forced into one change to their starting line up with Rory McAuley returning to the side in place of the unavailable Sam Borrer with Travis Cole moving into a midfield role.
Lowestoft made a positive start and it was only the outstretched foot of Liam Harwood that denied Harvey Hodd an early strike but it was the Moatsiders who opened the scoring in the 12th minute. Kershaney Samuels saw his initial shot blocked and his second attempt was also parried by Ben Dudzinski only to fall at the feet of Reece Hall who had a simple tap-in at the far post.
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Merstham doubled their lead in the 25th minute when Dan Bennett was allowed to run through from the half way line before hitting a superb strike into the corner of the net.
Lowestoft were also looking dangerous going forward and Jake Reed's diagonal ball into the area saw Jacek Zielonka bear down on goal only for Chris Haigh to bravely save at his feet.
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Merstham added their third goal in the 31st minute. Michael Abnett overlapped down the right before pulling the ball back to Ryan Hall who hit an excellent strike from 20 yards.
Things were looking ominous for the Trawlerboys when Merstham made it four just four minutes later when Ryan Hall completed his hat-trick as he latched on to the rebound after his first header had hit the crossbar.
Lowestoft though showed their mettle by reducing the arrears inside a minute. Cole forced his way through a couple of tackles before finding Cruise Nyadzayo who unleashed a thunderous shot into the roof of the net from 20 yards.
Three minutes later, after a heavy spell of pressure, Lowestoft earned a corner and from Adam Smith's flag kick Cole rose at the far post to send a header back over the keeper into the net.
The rest of the first half and most of the second became a cat and mouse affair with near misses at both ends with the next goal likely to determine the final outcome.
With seven minutes left, Cole's header from another Zielonka corner was cleared off the line by Bennett with the keeper beaten and straight away Merstham broke away with substitute Youseff Bamba setting up Reece Hall to score from six yards.
Hodd was denied by a superb save from Haigh before in the dying seconds a Lowestoft corner was cleared leaving Bamba a clear run through to drive home a sixth goal from 30 yards giving the home side a deserved, if rather flattering, victory.
Merstham: Haigh, Abnett, Harrison, Cooper, Harwood, Hamilton-Forbes (Black 85), Bennett, Samuels, Pingling (Bamba 75), Ryan Hall (Jones 89), Reece Hall. Subs not used: Bonnett-Johnson, Douglas
Lowestoft: Dudzinski, White, Barker, Smith, McAuley, Leacock, Zielonka, Cole, Reed, Hodd, Nyadzayo (Greenleaf 71). Subs not used: Westlake, Wren, Putnins.
Referee: Mr M Ryan