Ten-man Lowestoft Town roar back from 3-0 down to rescue draw at Solihull Moors
- Credit: Tom Smith/Focus Images Limited
If ever there was a fixture which summed up the cliché 'a game of two halves', then this was it.
For 40 minutes, Lowestoft had struggled to keep the ball, stuttered in defence and lacked any cutting threat.
Trailing 3-0 and then having goalkeeper Ashlee Jones sent off for the penalty incident which led to Solihull's third, the Trawlerboys' hopes were going downhill faster than a Olympic ski racer.
But once Rossi Jarvis nodded home for the visitors in first-half stoppage time they suddenly sensed the game was far from over and close-range finishes from Jack Ainsley and Jake Reed earned an unlikely, but thoroughly merited, point.
'For 42 minutes we were poor – but for the rest of the game we were tremendous,' said joint manager Ady Gallagher. 'To do that with 10 men, it feels like a win.'
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And such was the deserved celebration on the final whistle.
Let's not forget fifth-placed Solihull had lost just one of their last 12 league games and were the league's top scorers. And that's how they started as they raced into a three-goal lead after 40 minutes.
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Ryan Beswick headed home a deep right-wing cross from Jay Denny after six minutes and then Reece Fleet coolly slotted home from just inside the area after Darryl Knights provided the cross on 35 minutes.
It was 3-0 five minutes later. But it was a goal that certainly irked Lowestoft as a flick off defender Sam Gaughran's head from a long forward ball fell to Omar Bogle, who had been yards offside. But because the last touch was from Lowestoft, Bogle was onside and he tumbled theatrically when Jones dived at his feet.
Penalty, said referee David Richardson, and red card for Jones – before Bogle slotted home the spot-kick.
The striker was booked for kicking the ball away and was then fortunate to stay on the pitch moments later when he sent Curtis Haynes-Brown sprawling.
But those two incidents suddenly cranked up Lowestoft's fighting spirit and when Jarvis headed home Dean Mason's free-kick in first-half stoppage time they had something to build on.
And so they did. The next goal was crucial and four minutes after the break Ainsley hooked home after Reed's shot had been parried by keeper Tony Breeden to signal Lowestoft's revival was well and truly under way.
Micky Chapman's and Gallagher's pitch-side urgings to 'keep believing' and 'stay positive' revitalised the 10 men. Scrapping for every ball, Lowestoft denied Solihull possession, limiting the hosts to hopeful long shots which left substitute keeper Jake Jessup hardly involved, while becoming more and more of an attacking threat.
The equaliser they deserved followed on 66 minutes, with Reed sliding in at the far post to convert Haynes-Brown's cross from the left.
Reed could have snatched victory moments later, only to send a shot just wide, while Ainsley smashed a 25-yarder just wide as Lowestoft sought a remarkable winner.
'With the chances we had in the second half, it could have been a famous victory – but it ended as a famous draw,' added Gallagher.