Stalybridge Celtic 3 Lowestoft Town 1: Early gifts are making life tough for the Trawlerboys
- Credit: Ian Wadkins/Focus Images Limited
Life in National League North is pretty tough for Lowestoft Town at the best of times.
As well as the early starts and long distances for away games, the Trawlerboys are regularly taking on teams with much larger budgets.
They have been holding their own since promotion last year, but now they seem to be inflicting another handicap on themselves.
For the second game running, they handed their opponents a head start by conceding early goals.
In their previous match, they found themselves 3-0 down to FC United of Manchester in the first half, before failing to recover.
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On Saturday, they brought in new loan signing Danny Burns at centre half to partner fellow recent recruit Sam Nunn in an effort to solve the problem. But the match was just 12 minutes old when the Blues had presented Stalybridge Celtic with a 2-0 lead.
It was a lead the home side would not relinquish, despite the efforts of the Blues, who consequently put on a decent display but could not repair the early damage.
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Celtic striker Steve Tames was the beneficiary of Town's generosity as he made the most of the poor defending to bag a brace.
After four minutes, the Town back line failed to deal with a long throw to the near post and Tames was on hand to slot home the loose ball from just six yards. Trawlerboys keeper Marcus Garnham could do little about it and found himself in the same situation eight minutes later when Tames turned Nunn in the Lowestoft box and fired low beyond him.
To the visitors' credit they responded well to the early carnage and began to plot a way back into the match.
Their most likely route was through Ryan Jarvis down the right wing. On 16 minutes he drilled in a low cross, which was destined for Jake Reed but for a last-gasp intervention by centre back Jack Higgins to turn it over his own bar.
Five minutes later, he saw his fierce strike deflected into the side netting, with home keeper Tony McMillan beaten.
With half an hour on the clock, he again went close as his right-footed effort fizzed wide of the far post after a flowing passing move.
It was as close as the Trawlerboys got in the first half and, despite pressurising the home side early in the second period, they still could not find a way through with three quarters of the game gone.
Celtic then inflicted the killer blow as left back John Shaw was unmarked to head home a right wing cross from 15 yards.
Reed did pull a goal back for the Blues with 70 minutes gone as neat football released him through the middle and he calmly slotted into the corner.
Erkan Okay and Danny Crow saw efforts blocked as Town finished the game with five forwards on the pitch. But ultimately it was not enough as yet again the Trawlerboys had given themselves too big a mountain to climb.