Quick double from Francis gives Blues a key victory
East Thurrock 1, Lowestoft Town 2: Two goals from Joe Francis saw Lowestoft again come from behind to collect three excellent away points from one of their closest rivals for the Ryman League Division One North title.
East Thurrock 1, Lowestoft Tn 2
Two goals from Joe Francis saw
Lowestoft again come from behind to collect three excellent away points from one of their closest rivals for the Ryman League Division One North title.
Third-placed East Thurrock, seven points adrift from a game more beforehand, desperately needed to win to keep the table-topping Trawler Boys within sight.
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But although they took the lead early in the second half it was swiftly over-turned as the men from Suffolk opened a nine-point cushion over second-placed Thamesmead - who have played three games more.
There was an early scare for Lowestoft when Chris Ellerbeck raced through in the opening minutes but shot against the legs of keeper Andy Reynolds.
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Both sides went close again, with Adam Smith shooting across the face of goal for Lowestoft and league top-scorer Sam Higgins seeing a 30 yard effort tipped over the bar by Reynolds.
The closest either side went to a first half goal was when Gary McGee clipped the crossbar. But the goals the first half had threatened suddenly came in a burst early in the second period.
East Thurrock took the lead in the 52nd minute when a long ball forward was misjudged by Matthew Halliday and Ellerbeck chipped over Reynolds and in off the underside of the bar.
It took Lowestoft just three minutes to equalise when a superb diagonal ball from Dale Cockerill picked out Joe Francis, who shot just inside the near post.
The Blues then took the lead in the 59th minute. Matt Nolan was brought down just outside the penalty area and Francis drilled the free-kick directly into the top corner of the net.
East Thurrock tried to get back into the game and Max Cornhill sent a header on to the roof of the net.
Francis went close to completing a hat-trick but his 30-yard drive dipped just over the bar.
Lowestoft: Reynolds, Poppy, Smith, Holt, Crane, Halliday, Mitchell, Dale Cockrill, Nolan, McGee, Francis. Subs: Bussens, Darren Cockerill, Potter, Cutajar, Clark.