Lowestoft Town 4, Hungerford Town 3

A Russell stock hat-trick finally saw off nine-man Hungerford Town after extra time in a thrilling tie at Crown Meadow. The extra 30 minutes saw Hungerford put on a terrific effort as the Blues huffed and puffed. But after 104 minutes Lowestoft finally took the lead for the first time in the tie.

A Russell stock hat-trick finally saw off nine-man Hungerford Town after extra time in a thrilling tie at Crown Meadow.

The extra 30 minutes saw Hungerford put on a terrific effort as the Blues huffed and puffed.

But after 104 minutes Lowestoft finally took the lead for the first time in the tie.

Hungerford exploded out of the blocks and had already forced keeper Andy Reynolds into two sharp saves before taking the lead in the third minute.


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Jamie Gosling's corner had Lowestoft in all sorts of trouble and when Martin McNeil headed the ball upwards striker Peter Macklin leapt to nod past the home keeper.

Blues striker Russell Stock went close to levelling after his header went inches wide but after nine minutes Hungerford had their second. A swift counter saw Gosling in space down the left and his excellent centre whistled through the six yard box and found Ian Concannon lurking at the far post and he duly side footed home to make it 2-0.

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Lowestoft finally started passing the ball with some conviction after their slow start and mid-way through the first half they worked a way back into the game.

Gary McGee failed to prod the ball home after it fell loose in the Hungerford box, but from Reece Hunn's resulting corner Darren Cockrill found time and space at the back post to stab the ball into the roof of the net from close range.

Although the home side were looking more cohesive the visitors always posed a threat going forward with their brilliantly incisive counter attacking.

And Concannon had an excellent chance to restore the visitors' two goal lead, but after beating a static Lowestoft defence he could only shoot wide.

t Half-time: Lowestoft 1, Hungerford 2

The start of the second half saw the game take a big swing in Lowestoft's favour when on 51 minutes right back John Cant - who had already been booked - lunged dangerously late on Richard Woodrow to leave referee Ian Rathbone no option but to issue a second yellow and reduce the visitors to 10 men.

But six minutes later Lowestoft failed to clear Gosling's corner and as the ball came to Tom Fila on the edge of the box he drilled an excellent shot low past Reynolds to restore Hungerford's two goal advantage.

But the visitors looked set to endure a nightmare end to the afternoon after Chris Blackford's challenge on Neil Plaskett was deemed worthy of a straight red and the Oxfordshire side were down to nine men.

With a two player advantage the ball hardly left the Hungerford area as Matty Potter drew a stunning save from Dominic Green.

And the pressure finally told in the last six minutes of normal time. Substitute Carl Poppy drilled his cross from the right which was flicked home by Stock on 84 minutes. And although Hungerford had two late chances to seal the match, with time almost out, Stock headed home from Woodrow's looping cross to send Crown Meadow wild and ensure extra time was needed.

t Full-time: Lowestoft 3, Hungerford 3

The extra 30 minutes saw Hungerford put on a terrific effort as the Blues huffed and puffed.

But after 104 minutes Lowestoft finally took the lead for the first time in the tie.

Tired defending from the visitors saw McGee work some space in the penalty area and his square ball was side footed home by Stock for his hat trick.

Green's terrific save from Darren Cockrill's late spot kick tipified the visitors' heart but last season's Wembley finalists still have a chance of going one better - somehow.

t Result: Lowestoft 4, Hungerford 3

t Lowestoft: Reynolds, Plaskett, Potter, Woodrow, McNeil, Darren Cockrill, Godbold, Dale Cockrill, Stock, McGee, Hunn

Subs: Poppy, King, M Saunders, McKenna

t Hungerford: Green, McMeeking, Cant, Blackford, Davis, Bedwell, Fila, R Saunders, Concannon, Macklin, Gosling

Subs: Rusher, Jordan, Edney, Maloney

t Referee: Ian Rathbone

t Attendance 1,016

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