Ryman Premier Division: Lowestoft Town 0, Cray Wanderers 2
- Credit: James Bass
Lowestoft Town's fine recent form was brought to an abrupt end by lowly Cray Wanderers on Saturday.
The Kent side arrived at Crown Meadow in turmoil with a recent change of manager and having to virtually rebuild their entire squad but that was not readily apparent as they produced a battling performance to deny the Trawlerboys the space and time to play their normal passing game.
The warning was there from the outset as Jack Clark's cross found Helge Orome unmarked at the far post and he should have done better than place his header well wide. Lowestoft were finding it difficult to get going but they earned a corner and from Robert Eagle's centre Sam Gaughran's header was cleared off the line by Carlos Talbot. Jake Reed then released Eagle but Charlie Grainger impressively turned his shot around the post.
Cray again had a good chance to open the scoring but from Clark's free kick Tommy Whitnell headed a fraction too high. Gaughran then suffered a similar fate at the other end.
Lowestoft's half-time pep talk seemed to have worked with Ainsley and Reed combining to set up a chance for new signing Manny Osei but his shot on the turn was held by Grainger. The Blues were stunned in the 57th minute, however, when Cray took the lead. Clark's corner fell to Danny Young who turned the ball in from close range.
The diminutive Jason Henry had been dominating midfield and it was not until his withdrawal with about 20 minutes to go that Lowestoft finally managed to take control. Eagle's cross found Ainsley in space but his 12-yard effort beat Grainger yet unfortunately crashed against the post.
Ainsley played a neat one-two with Reed before cutting the ball back to Andrew Fisk who could only shoot straight at the keeper. Dan Gleeson's free kick found substitute Michael Frew at the far post but he too could only direct his header straight at Grainger.
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And as the game came to an end Lowestoft moved Gaughran up front but as they committed men forward they were caught on the break four minutes into added time with Whitnell racing clear to go round Ashlee Jones to shoot into the net.
Lowestoft Town: Jones, Williams, A Smith, Okay (Fisk 72), Gleeson, Gaughran, J Ainsley, Jarvis, Reed, Osei (Frew 72), Eagle. Subs not used: Haynes-Brown, Doddington, Jessup.
Cray Wanderers: Grainger, Talbot, Clark, Orome, Young, Henry (Bardon 73), Stavrinou, Larin, Macklin, Jahar.