Photo gallery: We’ve done it! Lowestoft fans celebrate promotion at the fourth time of asking
- Credit: James Bass
We've done it! That was the cry in Lowestoft last night as the town's football team secured promotion – at the fourth time of asking.
The triumphant Trawlerboys were cheered to glory in the sunshine at their Crown Meadow ground yesterday, as more than 2,600 fans gathered to see their 3-0 victory over AFC Hornchurch in the Ryman League Premier Division play-off final.
The win saw the team make history – giving them a place in the Skrill Conference set-up for the first time, and leaving them just two steps away from the Football League.
In the end, any fears of last-minute nerves were dismissed as Lowestoft saw off the team that beat them in the play-off final two seasons ago.
The hosts were 1-0 up at half time and went on to score another two goals early in the second half.
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A cheer went up as the final whistle blew and home fans streamed on to the pitch to congratulate the jubilant players as a victory chant rang out from the stand.
This was the fourth successive season that The Trawlerboys had reached the play-offs, having tasted defeat in the previous three.
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A delighted club chairman Gary Keyzor said the win was well deserved.
'They were incredible today,' he said. 'We've had three years where we have been beaten but today was our day. They came out and their attitude and effort were fantastic. The crowd really got behind them.'
Mr Keyzor said club staff would take a few days off and then start preparing for life in the Conference North or South next season.
He added: 'I have always said from day one that Lowestoft as a town deserves to have a football club playing at Conference level. It has taken us a while to get there but we have done it now and I hope more fans will come and watch us.'
Lowestoft Town dates back to 1887 and the club turned semi-professional in 1962,
They dominated the league during the 1960s, reaching the first round of the FA Cup in 1966–67,
The team got to Wembley in 2008, reaching the final of the FA Vase.
Since then, Lowestoft have risen up the non-league pyramid.
David Butcher, 47, of South Road, Corton said: 'I was at the last three play-off finals and it is about time they won. They deserved it.'
Hayley Maud, 19, of Crown Street, Lowestoft, said: 'I thought it was a brilliant performance by the lads. They really got stuck in. When we scored that third goal I knew we had secured it.'
Debra Northfield, 42, from Lowestoft said: 'It was a brilliant game. Right from the start I though this is it, we are going to do it. I have supported them all my life. My dad brought me here when I was still in a pram. We have had some great games in the past but this has definitely been the highlight.'
Shirley Whitlow, 48, from Lowestoft, said: 'The crowd was behind them today, which was really nice.'
Paul Whitlow, 58, from Lowestoft, said: 'I think it is the best we have seen them play this season.
'They were playing the ball on the ground which was excellent. If we can carry on like that next season we have got a good chance.'
David Boatman, 55, from Wayne Close, Lowestoft, said: 'It is just fantastic. They have been waiting four years.
'They deserved it before now but today it all came together. It was much different from last year.'
Jessica Golder, 18, from Lowestoft, said: 'The atmosphere was great and we deserved to win.
Mark Smith, 43, from Lowestoft, said: 'It is good times.
'I have been bringing my daughter to these games for years and it is all worthwhile now.'
Lowestoft-born boxer Anthony Ogogo tweeted: 'Very proud of Lowestoft Town FC for winning promotion after three consecutive years of heartache at the same stage.'