Lewes 2, Lowestoft Town 2
14:53 19 March 2012
Substitute Nathan Stone grabbed a last gasp equaliser to keep Lowestoft’s title challenge alive on Saturday.
The Blues had fallen two goals behind in the early stages, but fought back to earn a point in the dying seconds of injury time.
Leaders Billericay won on Saturday to move seven points clear of Lowestoft having played a game more, but second-placed Hornchurch were beaten 2-1 by Cray Wanderers.
With Greg Crane still injured and Sam Gaughran unavailable, Lowestoft gambled by including the far from fit Matt Halliday and Andy Reynolds in the starting line-up against a Lewes side who are improving after a change of management.
Things looked promising for the Trawlerboys as they carved the home defence open in the first minute with Matt Nolan and Chris Henderson combining to create an opening for Robert Eagle, who brought a fine diving save from Matt Ingram.
Lewes stunned Lowestoft by taking the lead with their first attack as a high ball forward dropped between Halliday and Reynolds and Nathan Crabb nipped between them to steer the ball into the net.
Worse was to follow for the Trawlerboys as Lewes doubled their lead in the 12th minute. As a Lowestoft attack broke down the ball was quickly played forward by Jack Walder and Crabb used his pace to get clear of Halliday and shoot past the advancing Reynolds.
Dean Sinclair’s glancing header went just wide of the far post for the visitors, but they were struggling to contain a lively Lewes attack and Steve Robinson’s looping header hit the Blues’ crossbar.
On the half hour mark Halliday finally called it a day and was replaced by Michael Frew, with Sinclair dropping back into the centre of defence. The Blues’ defence immediately looked more compact, with Henderson moving out to the left where he gave Malvin Kamara a torrid time. The move paid dividends in the 41st minute as Henderson again got the better of the full-back before being brought down in the penalty area. Sinclair stepped up to drill home the spot kick to score for the second consecutive game.
Lewes had a third goal disallowed for a foul on Reynolds at the end of the first half.
The second half was mainly confined to midfield but in the final minute of injury time, Adrian Forbes’ quickly taken free-kick saw Stone muscle his way past Robinson before shooting low past Ingram.
• Lewes: Ingram, Kamara, Hamilton, Somner, Robinson, Hustwick, Walder (Draycott, 60), Harding, Crabb (Medlock, 86), Booth, Gregory (Howell, 74). Subs not used: Leach, Schaaf.
Goals: Crabb (6, 12)
• Lowestoft Town: Reynolds, Okay, Smith, Fisk, Halliday (Frew, 32), Mitchell, L Guentchev (Forbes, 76), Sinclair, Nolan (Stone, 55), Eagle. Subs not used: Ainsley, Jessup.
Booked: Fisk, Mitchell, Eagle, Frew, Forbes
Goals: Sinclair (pen, 41), Stone (90)
• Attendance: 680