Photo galley: Lowestoft Town rue bad luck after slipping to FA Cup defeat at Tamworth
- Credit: Tom Smith/Focus Images Limited
Every successful cup team needs a slice of fortune but Lowestoft were left ruing their ill luck after their FA Cup dreams were shattered.
Having been handed an away tie, against a league rival, and with eight first-team regulars absent, the patched-up Trawlerboys' third qualifying round tie at Tamworth was always going to be a tough ask.
But when a 'stonewall' penalty was also denied, it turned an uphill task into a Himalayan one.
Joint bosses Micky Chapman and Ady Gallagher were furious when Chris Henderson's flying break down the right on 19 minutes was halted when Tamworth left-back Tom James sent him sprawling. Penalty, screamed the Lowestoft bench, but referee Daniel Meeson disagreed and waved play on.
Instead, Tamworth cranked up the pressure, grabbed a 79th-minute winner and left Gallagher frustrated at what might have been.
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'Tamworth fans have come up to us and said it's a stonewall penalty,' he said.
'Even one of their staff said it was a stonewall penalty.
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'The referee said at half-time he made a mistake but we're out of the cup and that's obviously hard to take.
'Referees are honest, they make mistakes like players do but that's the way things are going for us at the moment.'
It was, arguably, the game's turning point. A goal would have given Lowestoft momentum, an energy-giving confidence and something precious to hold but Tamworth increasingly pegged them back after that scare.
For all their endeavour – and there was no shortage of effort – Lowestoft struggled to sustain any real pressure as Tamworth's passing and movement pulled them all over the pitch. That's not to say Lowestoft did not have their chances. Bradley Woods-Garness dragged a shot wide from 14 yards after Henderson's perseverance and Shaun Bammant's cross provided their best opportunity of the game just after half-time.
In the first half, Woods-Garness flashed a shot over while Henderson and substitute Jefferson Louis smashed other strikes off target from the edge of the area after the break.
But, for all the resilience of Jack Ainsley and Sam Gaughran at the heart of defence and the midfield harrying of Dawid Radomski and Andrew Fisk, Tamworth offered the far greater goal threat.
Gaughran cleared Kayden Jackson's goal-bound effort, keeper Jake Jessup clawed away a close-range Jackson flick, and Connor Taylor drilled a low 20-yarder against the outside of the right-hand post in the first half.
The woodwork also kept out a stinging drive from Leon Mettam with 20 minutes left but there was to be no reprieve for the visitors on 79 minutes.
Jackson created room for himself on the left flank, and pulled the ball back for Lambs player-manager Andy Morrell.
His lay-off to Brendon Daniels was simple enough, but the finish was sublime as the wide player switched the ball from right to left foot, to right, and lashed his shot into the far corner.
The Lambs almost had a second when Jessup pushed aside Jackson's angled drive but the hosts were happy to run down the clock and look ahead to today's draw.