Lowestoft Town 3 Carshalton Athletic 2
Michael Frew kept Lowestoft Town’s slender title hopes alive with an injury time winner against Carshalton Athletic this afternoon.
The former Corby struck in the 91st minute of time added on with a fantastic 25-yard effort to give the Blues all three points although Billericay’s win at home to East Thurrock leaves the Essex side on the verge of promotion.
Lowestoft closed on second-placed Hornchurch after they lost at Wealdstone and the Blues could go level on points with them if they win their game in hand.
Robert Eagle’s deflected effort gave Lowestoft a dream start but they were pegged back when Paul Vine finished well for his 28th of the season. Eagle restored the Blues lead within a minute from close range but Sonny Ayres’ smart strike made it 2-2 early in the second half.
Lowestoft were given a bigger mountain to climb when Nathan Stone was sent off for two bookable offences but Frew’s introduction off the bench proved crucial as his fine effort gave the Trawlerboys victory.
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There was still time for Carshalton to also be reduced to 10 men when Craig Tanner received his marching orders for a late tackle.
Lowestoft got off to their characteristic fast start but for once they got the early breakthrough although it was down to a huge slice of good fortune in the fourth minute.
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Andrew Fisk worked the ball out to Eagle wide on the left and the former Norwich City winger decided to try his luck from 20 yards. His effort was heading well off target before taking a huge deflection off David Ray leaving Carshalton goalkeeper Nick Hamann completely helpless.
The visitors didn’t panic though and in Vine they knew they had a forward capable of striking at any minute, which he did in the 18th. Luke Nolan made an enterprising run from right back before feeding the ball into Vines who, under pressure from Sam Gaughran and Andy Reynolds, squeezed his shot home off the post.
Within 60 seconds Lowestoft had re-established their lead thanks to a flowing move. Guentchev found Henderson, who released Stone in behind the Carshalton back four. The former Leiston man, making his first start for the Blues, advanced to the by-line before drilling the ball across the six-yard area where Eagle was there to ram the ball home from close range.
Carshalton still looked dangerous on the break and could have pulled level before the break when Vine was inexplicably left free from a corner but his scuffed effort from 10 yards was easily cleared to the relief of the home fans.
Michael Kamara headed against his own bar in injury time at the end of the half under pressure from Stone, whose physical presence was causing the visitors problems.
Carshalton pulled level six minutes into the second half when Ayres wasn’t closed down and his left-footed shot from 20 yards found a way past the despairing dive of Reynolds.
The pendulum swung even further in Carshalton’s direction when Stone was sent off for two bookable offences in the space of 30 seconds. He was first cautioned for fouling Kamara and, in contesting the decision, the referee gave him his marching orders.
Carshalton went in search of a winner and only an excellent save from Reynolds prevented Ayres from making it 3-2 after a quick break. Tanner had a long range effort that whistled just over the bar while Lowestoft were struggling to come to terms with playing with 10 men.
Just when all hope had almost been lost Frew produced a moment of magic when his curling shot form 25 yards found the top corner in the first of seven minutes of injury time.
Carshalton’s frustration manifested itself in Tanner’s late dismissal for a late tackle on Henderson.
- Lowestoft Town (4-4-2): Reynolds, Forbes (Halliday 67), Mitchell, Gaughran, Smith, Guentchev (Frew 67), Fisk, Sinclair (Ainsley 90), Eagle, Henderson, Stone. Subs not used: Francis, Forshaw.
- Carshalton Athletic (4-4-2): Hamann, Nolan, Kamara, Ray, Joseph, Frith, Crook, Tanner, Pigden, Ayres, Vines. Subs not used: Adjei, Murphy.
- Referee: Steve Artis
- Attendance: 601