Lowestoft Town 3, Kingstonian 2
Dean Sinclair kept Lowestoft Town’s title hopes alive with a late penalty despite the Blues playing much of the second period with 10 men.
Erkan Okay’s second-half dismissal put the Blues on the back foot after they had squandered a two-goal lead, given to them thanks to goals from Chris Henderson and Andrew Fisk.
Kingstonian looked set to complete a memorable comeback but Lowestoft managed to win a penalty late on when Greg Crane was felled. Sinclair kept his cool to send K’s ‘keeper Rob Tolfrey the wrong way and ensure the Trawlerboys remain in the championship race.
Greg Crane came close to giving the Blues a dream start when he reacted quickest in Kingstonian’s penalty area only to see his effort from 12 yards hacked off the line by Ryan Woods.
It proved to be merely a stay of execution for the visitors when the Blues deservedly got their noses in front in the 13th minute. Robert Eagle’s deep corner was headed across goal by Gaughran and Nolan nodded the ball into the six-yard area where Henderson bundled the ball home.
It was one-way traffic and only a good save by Rob Tolfrey prevented Nolan from doubling Lowestoft’s advantage.
However, there was nothing the K’s shot-stopper could do in the 22nd minute when Fisk’s lung-bursting run into the penalty area was rewarded with an easy finish as the Kingstonian defenders stood like statues.
Lowestoft appeared to take their foot off the gas for the remainder of the first half and the K’s gradually grew in confidence. The Blues were given a warning sign when Saheed Sankoh headed just wide after a fine cross by Tom Bird shortly before Andy Reynolds produced a fine save to deny a long range effort from Sam Clayton.
However, six minutes before the break Kingstonian pulled one back and it was a move right off the training ground. When the visitors were awarded a free-kick 25 yards from goal everyone was expecting Clayton to try his luck but the K’s had other ideas.
Unbeknownst to the Lowestoft defence, Traynor had peeled off the wall and Clayton’s slide-rule pass found the prolific striker who finished well to bring his side back into the game.
Lowestoft had a massive let-off just before half-time when Simon Huckle dragged his shot wide from 10 yards after good work by Clayton down the right.
But 11 minutes into the second half Crown Meadow was stunned into silence thanks to an outstanding strike by Sankoh. The midfielder skipped past Gaughran before unleashing a thunderbolt from 25 yards that Reynolds could only stand and admire as the ball clipped the bar on its way home.
Things went from bad to worse for the Blues midway through the second half when Erkan Okay was shown a red card for a second bookable offence after a late challenge on Woods.
But Lowestoft showed they are made of stern stuff and against the odds they hit the front once again with 15 minutes to go when substitute Crane was pulled down inside the penalty area. Sinclair kept his head to send Tolfrey the wrong way and give Lowestoft something to hang on to.
• Lowestoft (4-4-2): Reynolds, Okay, Crane, Gaughran, Smith, Mitchell, Sinclair, Fisk, Eagle, Henderson (Frew, 84), Nolan (Stone, 71). Subs not used: Ainsley, Guentchev, Frew, Francis, Stone.
• Kingstonian (4-1-4-1): Tolfrey, Good, MacDonald, Gayle, Bird, Huckle, Clayton, Woods (Rae Beadle, 81), Sankoh, Pattison (Tait, 63), Traynor. Subs not used: Page, Wannadio, Faith.
• Referee: John Magill
• Attendance: 533