Omar Sowunmi spot on as Lowestoft Town edge towards safety zone
- Credit: Tom Smith/Focus Images Limited
Joint manager Ady Gallagher praised the spirit of his Lowestoft side after they came from behind to take the points at Leamington.
Trailing to a Jack Edwards goal at the break, the Trawlerboys hit back in the second half to secure a vital victory thanks to a Jack Ainsley penalty and a late Omar Sowunmi header.
He said: 'What is great about this group of lads is that they're resilient and keep coming back. We had to mix the team up because of having the game on Saturday – but the lads who came in put in a shift and they have all run themselves into the ground, which epitomises the spirit we have at Lowestoft Town Football Club.
'I thought we were excellent today, other than defensively just before half-time – I thought we had a good grip of the game.
'It was a near perfect first-half display and to keep showing that effort and resolve in the second half when we kept coming forward was magnificent.
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'Jake Reed has been in a rich vein of form and by his own standards he was disappointed with his performance on Saturday and felt he needed to give a little bit more. He's done today what he has done in most of the games this season – manage both centre-halves and give them a torrid time. It was his movement that led to the penalty.'
Victory means the Trawlerboys are virtually guaranteed Conference North football for another season – they are nine points clear of the drop zone with three games to play.
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It had looked as though they would have to settle for a share of the spoils but the towering Sowunmi headed home a perfectly-flighted Adam Smith free-kick to bag the winner on 90 minutes.
Lowestoft should have been at least two goals to the good before the half-time break as they carved open the home defence.
On four minutes, the impressive Jake Reed rode two challenges before dragging the ball back to Shaun Bammant but the midfielder skied his shot over the bar from eight yards.
Bammant, who scored in the 1-1 draw with the Warwickshire side at the start of the season, was guilty of another miss five minutes later when he pushed another close-range effort wide of the goal after being left unmarked at a free-kick.
Leamington's best early chance fell to tricky winger Lee Chilton, but he fired wide from a narrow angle.
And yet it was the home side who broke the deadlock two minutes before the break, the Lowestoft defence switching off at a corner and allowing Jack Edwards to steer the ball beyond keeper Jake Jessop, who had been called into the side after Ashlee Jones tweaked his knee in the warm-up.
Chances were limited at the start of the second period, Smith testing home keeper Jonny Maddison with a 25-yard free-kick while a snapshot from Brakes striker Lee Moore fizzed just wide of the Lowestoft goal.
But as the game entered the final quarter, it was the Trawlerboys who began to take control. Reed had a chance on 68 minutes only to dally too long in front of goal allowing defender Jamie Tank to deny him. Five minutes later the striker skipped past his marker out wide and whipped in a low cross which just eluded Chris Henderson.
The equaliser finally came on 77 minutes and as has so often happened this season, it was from the penalty spot, Ainsley drilling home his 15th goal of the season after Reed had been upended by James Mace.
Boosted by the goal, the visitors continued to press and Bradley Woods-Garness tried his luck from range only to see his shot calmly gathered by keeper Maddison.
Then, with the game about to enter the four minutes of injury time, Town were awarded a free-kick midway inside the Leamington half. Smith lofted the ball into the danger zone and Ipswich Town youngster Sowunmi did the rest, powering his header beyond the keeper.
There was still time for the home side to launch one final attack but Jessop did well to gather a fierce 18-yard shot from Jordan Goddard.
'I think Omar is going to stay with us for the rest of the season,' added Gallagher. 'He has grown as a player since he has been with us and he has given a lot again and he is a real danger from crosses. When you are playing under-21 football then there's no pressure and players can make mistakes with there being nothing on it – but in this league there's a lot at stake. It's a great learning curve for someone like Omar and he has really started to develop.'
Leamington: Maddison, Mace, Gudger, Magunda, Tank, Gordon, Edwards (Goddard 62), Taundry, Worsfold (Hicks 75), Moore, (Yafai 87) Chilton. Subs (not used): Warner, Fenne.
Lowestoft: Jessop, Ainsley, Smith, Okay, Sowunmi, Gaughran, Smith (Henderson 62), Jarvis, Reed (Haynes-Brown 90+1), Woods-Garness, Bammant. Subs (not used): Eagle, Marsden, Mason. Booked: Smith 86, Gaughran 90+3.
Referee: Simon Barrow.