Late Goal Denies Blues a Point
Lowestoft snatched a late winning goal after a spirited comeback by the Blues writes The Mariner
Blues came so close to earning a much needed point at wind and rainswept Lowestoft on Saturday, but despite some spirited defending throughout the game they were undone by their own carelessness in possession which ultimately cost them a share of the points.
Lowestoft - playing with the rain and wind at their backs - dominated the opening period with Blues finding it difficult to break out of their own half. Amadou Tangara was called into action inside the first five minutes diving to his right to save from a Henderson drive. It was Henderson again who came close to opening the scoring when a deep cross to the far post found him unmarked but he prodded the ball wide of the upright.
Blues were restricted to the occasional breakaway and in one such move they had a claim for a penalty when Lheureux Menga was clipped as he shaped to shoot but the referee waved play on.
Tangara came to the rescue when he made a desperate block save to keep the scores level but in the 17th minute the hosts got the breakthrough and it was a simple enough move. A Blues attack broke down deep in the visitors’ half. A long ball out of defence caught the Blues back four square. Reed latched on to the ball, outpaced Jamie Stuart and slotted the ball past Tangara.
Blues gradually got themselves back into the game with David Fallah occasionally looking dangerous although he was not running at his normal pace. One suspects he is still carrying a slight injury. It was Fallah who initially created an opening for Menga driving forward. He laid the ball into Adeyinka Cole who crossed to Menga but his header sailed over.
Blues then had weathered the early storm with some determined and at times fortunate defending and with the prospects of the conditions in their favour in the second period they could look to at least level the scores. As the half drew to a close Luke Hornsley had a half chance latching onto a quick free kick but he screwed his shot just wide.
Hornsley was in action straight from the kick off winning Blues a corner which then failed to produce an effort on goal and then Lowestoft came close with Reed heading over following a free kick. Another Blues corner saw Stuart go close with a diving header that flew just wide of the post.
Blues were now enjoying their fair share of possession, but were squandering good chances with careless passes allowing Lowestoft to clear the danger. Sandy Cunningham - who came on at the start of the half - was making some good runs but again his final ball lacked accuracy and the momentum was lost.
Jamie Mascoll drove a free kick just wide and then Lowestoft could have gone in front when a low cross flashed across the Blues box without a home forward getting a contact on the ball.
It was the Blues though that snatched an equaliser in the 67th minute. Cunningham collected the ball wide out on the left and swung a deep cross to the far post where the lurking Menga managed to play the ball back to Fallah who made no mistake volleying the ball past Waite. Boosted by the goal Blues looked for their second with Hornsley just clipping the ball wide of the post.
Not to be outdone ,the hosts began to stretch the play with wide men Hood and Henderson seeing plenty of the ball but the Blues’ goal remained intact thanks to some dogged defending. A quick Grays break saw Cunningham brought down unceremoniously. Mascoll stepped up but fired the free kick wide of the post. A Blues corner then caused panic in the home defence with the ball dropping just under the bar and scrambled away to safety.
With the game moving into the closing minutes, Blues travelling fans were hoping their side could hold out or even snatch a late winner but it wasn't to be. Blues won a throw deep in the Lowestoft half. The ball was lost with Nathan Campbell giving the ball away, and the hosts capitalised on the error. The ball was played quickly out wide to Hood who rounded Mascoll, sending in a teasing cross to Reed who dispatched the ball past the exposed Tangara to notch his and the home side’s winner.
The goal was symptomatic of so many this season, where individual errors proved decisive in the end result. There was just enough time for a Blues free kick but unfortunately it came to nothing.
So another defeat which could so easily have been avoided. More care when in possession, more physicality and ruthlessness in front of goal could have seen a different outcome.
All games are now important if Blues are to maintain their Ryman Premier status - none more so than next week’s visit to fellow strugglers Met Police. Manager Stuart will be looking to his players to battle for every ball in an effort to get some result from this game. Anything less will leave Blues with an uphill task till the end of the season.
It's still tight at the bottom but a couple of wins can make all the difference. Blues’ faithful fans will be hoping the fightback starts next week.