Tilbury 1, Lowestoft Town 2
Jonathan Redhead A clever finish 15 minutes from time from Scott Mitchell enabled Lowestoft Town to open a five-point advantage at the top of Ryman League Division One North.
A clever finish 15 minutes from time from Scott Mitchell enabled Lowestoft Town to open a five-point advantage at the top of Ryman League Division One North.
Mitchell nipped in ahead of Dockers keeper Andy Hall to flick the ball home for a deserved winner after the visitors dominated territory and possession.
It wasn't a vintage performance, but the Blues bounced back well from defeat on Tuesday to reassert their grip on the title race.
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Town made five changes to the team beaten at home by Brentwood, including handing a full debut to 17-year-old Louis Cutajar at left-back as they switched to a 4-5-1 formation with Matt Nolan up front on his own. And after a cagey start it was the Blues who created the first chance, but no one could get on the end of Joe Francis' driven cross.
On the quarter hour, Nolan volleyed over from the edge of the box after being teed up by Francis, but a minute later the same duo combined to hand the visitors the lead. Nolan controlled an Andy Reynolds clearance before cutting inside and drilling a low cross into the path of Francis who volleyed home from six yards out.
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The home side should have equalised four minutes later, but Manlee Brown somehow contrived to miss from a couple of yards out. On 22 minutes, Brown did get his goal, but it was tinged with controversy. Town appealed for a foul on Francis near halfway, but as play continued, Brown wriggled beyond Matt Halliday and fired low past Reynolds from seven yards.
The goal rocked the Blues, but they retained control of territory and possession without threatening too often on a terribly bobbly pitch.
Nolan had a glorious chance to restore Town's lead eight minutes into the second half with the pitch playing its part. He gambled on a poor pass back to the keeper, but having collected the ball, he was unable to get over his left-foot effort and spooned over the bar.
Andrew Fisk almost got in on the end of a Mitchell throughball. The Dockers were almost unable to get the ball out of their own half as the Blues squeezed them in. And the pressure told in the 75th minute as Neil Plaskett played the ball forwards and Mitchell, running through from midfield got to the bouncing ball ahead of Hall to nick it beyond him and in.
In an instant, the home side responded and Gary Holt was called upon to make a last ditch clearance from inside his own six yard box.
Mitchell went close with an audacious 50 yard effort which just drifted wide. But it mattered little as Town claimed three valuable points.
t Lowestoft Town: Reynolds, Plaskett, Darren Cockrill, Halliday, Cutajar, Bussens (for Forshaw 87), Holt, Fisk, Mitchell, Francis, Nolan. Subs: Bloomfield, Forshaw, Lovelock.
t Attendance: 95