Lowestoft Town 1, Bognor Regis Town 2
Lowestoft Town slumped to their second home defeat of the season against a classy Bognor Regis side at Crown Meadow.
With several key players out Lowestoft looked to some of their squad players to make their mark but after a lively opening the visitors took control.
James Crane put Bognor ahead before the break and early in the second half Steve Harper deflected the ball home after Sam Gaughran couldn’t clear his lines.
Lowestoft rallied and pulled one back from substitute Dale Cockrill’s penalty after Chris Henderson had been fouled. The Blues had chances to gain a point but Bognor held out for a deserved three points.
Lowestoft could have been in front after 44 seconds when Henderson robbed Stuart Axten and quickly played in strike partner Michael Frew. The former Corby man tried to check back inside on to his right foot and could only screw his shot wide from the edge of the box.
Frew had another decent chance moments later after good work down the right flank by Aaron Jones but the forward blazed over from a tight angle.
The Blues were looking very sharp through the work of Frew and Henderson and the latter came close to opening the scoring in the 11th minute but his shot was deflected just wide form the edge of the area.
Bognor Regis started to settle into the match at this point but, while their passing was pleasing on the eye, Lowestoft looked solid at the back.
Just before the half-hour mark Sam Gaughran had a great chance to give his side the lead after a fine cross from Stuart Ainsley but the defender’s touch was heavy and Axten was able to snuff out the danger. From the resulting corner Gaughran rose highest at the back post but saw his header tipped round the upright by Stoner.
Five minutes before the break and the sucker punch arrived that Bognor had been looking for. An aimless ball forward was not dealt with Gaughran and Crane was in on goal. The visitors’ leading scorer kept his composure to lift the ball over the advancing Jessup and give his side the advantage with his seventh of the season.
It got worse for the Blues at the start of the second half as Bognor doubled their lead. Harvey Whyte found himself in acres of space down the right flank and his driven cross saw Gaughran try to clear his lines and succeed in only hitting the ball against Harper, who deflected into the back of the net.
The Lowestoft management tried to change the pattern of the game by bringing on Eagle and Cockrill for Frew and Jones but the Blues didn’t carry the same threat they had in the first half.
Just when hope appeared to have gone Henderson was bundled over in the box by Stockford and Cockrill rammed home the penalty to reduce the arrears.
The Blues suddenly had their tails up and they should have got back on level terms in the 79th minute when a fantastic cross by Lee Smith picked out Henderson in the six-yard area but the striker got his header all wrong and glanced wide.
Matt Smith almost marked his first league start but saw his header cleared off the line from a dangerous Cunningham corner.
Bognor were lucky in injury time when Henderson got clear down the right and his shot across the face of goal was cleared off the line by Axten back to his goalkeeper. However, the referee inexplicably decided it wasn’t a pass back and the Blues had slipped to their second home defeat of the season.
- Lowestoft Town (4-4-2): Jessup, Saker, Nelson, Gaughran, Ainsley, L Smith, Okay, Jones (Cockrill 66), Francis (Cunningham 73), Frew (Eagle 51), Henderson. Subs not used: Fitzgerald, Wilson.
- Bognor Regis Town (4-3-3): Stoner, Marzetti, Axten, John, Wollers (Stockford 46), Beck (Tuck 76), Wills, Crane, Harper, Whyte, Robinson (Dodd 80). Subs not used: Walshe, Boyle.
- Referee: Duncan Foreman
- Attendance: 634