Lowestoft into semi-finals

FA Vase sixth roundLowestoft Town 4, Bideford 0Whatever it is about Lowestoft Town and the FA Vase, it has not gone away after the Blues booked their place in this year's semi-finals.

FA Vase sixth round

Lowestoft Town 4, Bideford 0

Whatever it is about Lowestoft Town and the FA Vase, it has not gone away after the Blues booked their place in this year's semi-finals.

Having been within minutes of a famous win at Wembley last May, Town are now just two games from the chance to trump their 2-1 defeat to Kirkham & Wesham.

A two-legged semi-final berth was Lowestoft's reward for a comfortable sixth round victory over Bideford at Crown Meadow on Saturday.

The final result never looked in doubt once Russell Stock guided an excellent header past Robins' keeper Ryan Draper from a flowing Town attack on 29 minutes.

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The big man completed the scoring late on with a cool finish after second half strikes from Gary McGee and Richard Woodrow reflected the Blues' superiority against a game but ultimately limited Western Premier side, in front of another huge home gate - 1,725.

Joint manager Ady Gallagher said: “I think at this level of any national competition, travel is going to be a big hindrance for any team because they're not used to it.

“I felt they started incredibly well in that 20 minutes and tested us, but once we got some control I felt that we dominated throughout the rest of the game and really done what we've been doing to teams recently, and that's closing games out.

“We knew they were an experienced side but probably wanted to get an early goal to sit on a little bit.

“If we held out for 20/25 minutes we always believed that our fitness and strength would take us through the game. So to get the goal when we did was perfect and it appeared to deflate them a little bit, and I think our second half display was top quality.”

Last season's Vase run was Town's only possibility of silverware - this time round, making the last four of the Vase sits alongside a Suffolk Premier Cup semi-final and a 12-point lead at the top of the Ridgeons Premier Division.

“We've said already that we can't just put all our eggs in one basket,” admitted Gallagher. “We set out like every other team to win this competition, but we're still riding high in the league - we cannot take our eye off that - we've got a cup semi-final to play at Portman Road on Wednesday night, which is a great situation to be in.

“We need to retain our focus, but I'm hoping - I certainly believe - that we've got the squad here to compete on all fronts this year, and they've got the hunger and the desire to do it, so hopefully it will be a great season.

“But the reality is we haven't won anything and you don't win anything until May, so let's just keep plugging away and see where it takes us.”

After a poor opening, the noise of Jamie Godbold's glorious 25-yard strike hitting the upright seemed to shock Lowestoft into life, as moments later Woodrow's superb pass and Reece Hunn's dinked cross led to Stock's opener.

Bideford striker Shane Tolley should have done better with a free header late in the first half, and the Robins were punished three minutes after the restart.

McGee found himself with just Draper to beat after the visitor's left their defensive organisation in the dressing room, and the striker delightfully lobbed home.

McGee then saw his crisp striker canon back off the inside of the post, before an exquisite counter attack brought Lowestoft's third.

Instigated by Dale Cockrill and McGee, Godbold's perfect slide-rule pass left Woodrow to finish with composure.

Stock bagged his second with seven minutes remaining after Carl Poppy's cracking ball, to give Town a relatively comfortable passage into the last four, in a game without a single booking.

Lowestoft: Reynolds, Poppy, Potter, Woodrow, Plaskett, Darren Cockrill, Godbold (Hough 88), Dale Cockrill, Stock (McKenna 86), McGee, Hunn (King 82). Unused subs: Saunders, McNeil. Goals: Stock (29, 83), McGee (48), Woodrow (69).

Bideford: Draper, Downing (Densham 51), Barker, Herrera, Hawkings, Rivans, Francis, Down, Tolley (Lewis 68), Wood, Laight. Unused sub: Veale.

Referee: Ray Lee (Essex)

Attendance: 1,725

The two Vase semi-final legs take place on March 28 and April 4 respectively.

To find out Lowestoft's opponents from today's draw, visit EDP24.co.uk