Reed at the double for Lowestoft
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Lowestoft Town 2 Grays Athletic 1
A brace from leading scorer Jake Reed ensured Lowestoft picked up maximum points against Ryman League Premier Division bottom side Grays Athletic.
But they were made to wait for the deciding goal, coming just four minutes from time, after visiting midfielder David Fallah had drawn Grays Athletic level on 67 minutes.
The Trawlerboys received a welcome boost at the start of play. The club announced the signing of highly rated defender Travis Cole – after Ipswich Town cancelled his scholarship registration.
Cole has signed a two and a half year contract with the club, to take him to the end of the 2018/19 season, and he lined up alongside Frazer Blake-Tracy in the heart of the defence.
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manager Ady Gallagher made the one change from the disappointing defeat at the hands of Canvey Island, with Adam Smith replacing Rory McAuley, who was suffering from illness.
And it was the home side that started on the front foot, despite the heavy wind and rain. Chris Henderson forced a save from keeper Tangara before Harvey Hodd shot narrowly wide.
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The Essex side came into the game on the back of a wretched run of form, winning only two matches in the league and sitting rock bottom of the table.
And they were soon thankful for a brilliant goal-saving block from Terrell Forbes, as Henderson looked destined to score.
The visitors, with player/manager Jamie Stuart in the centre of defence, were struggling to cope with the driving wind.
And they were caught out by a long ball on 17 minutes which allowed Lowestoft to take the lead. Jake Reed latched onto the ball from defence, and calmly rounded keeper Tangara before slotting home right-footed.
It was the least that home side deserved, as it had been one-way traffic for the first period of the match.
Earlier in the campaign, Lowestoft claimed a comprehensive 3-0 win away at Grays Athletic, with two goals from Joe Marsden and another from Reed claiming the points.
And as the visitors looked for revenge, Angolan striker Lheureux Menga headed over when well placed and Luke Hornsley forced keeper Jamie Waite into a smart stop.
The Trawlerboys responded with a chance of their own on 36 minutes, as Reed shot narrowly wide.
The visitors made a change at the start of the second half with Alexander Cunningham replacing Harry Watkins.
The start of the second period was scrappy, with both sides exchanging half chances but neither goalkeeper was tested.
The first meaningful chance of the half arrived on 56 minutes as the ball fell to Cole, but after rounding the keeper and slotting home, the effort was ruled out for offside.
But the Trawlerboys were caught by a rare Grays Athletic break on 67 minutes, which saw them equalise with a goal of real quality. A burst down the left from substitute Cunningham saw his cross fall to Menga.
The tall striker knocked the ball into the path of David Fallah, who powered a strike past Waite for his fifth goal of the season.
After the goal, it was the visitors who continued to press, with Luke Hornsley shooting wide before Ryan Jarvis headed a dangerous corner off the line.
With 10 minutes remaining, Gallagher opted to bring on striker Shaun Bammant – who replaced Jarvis.
And just four minutes from time, Lowestoft did manage to re-take the lead.
Some neat footwork from Hodd allowed him to cross for Reed to convert his second of the afternoon and 10th of the season.
It was a neat left-footed finish, and was extremely important in the bigger picture of the Ryman Premier League season – as Lowestoft claimed a crucial three points.
Lowestoft Town: Waite, Barker, Smith, Fisk, Cole, Blake-Tracy, Hodd, Rossi Jarvis (capt), Henderson, Reed, Ryan Jarvis.
Subs: Marsden, Forshaw, Joel Glover, Bammant (for Ryan Jarvis 80), Josh Glover.
Grays Athletic: Tangara, Osei, Mascoll, Stuart, Forbes, Campbell (capt), Watkins, Cole, Menga, Hornsley, Fallah.
Subs: Cunningham (for Watkins 45), Stansbury, Pacquette (for Menga 67), Aghatise, Salaudeen (for Fallah 85).
Referee: Alistair Wilson