Town must wait another few days to celebrate
Jonathan Redhead Lowestoft Town 4, Maldon Town 0: The Lowestoft Town champagne is on ice as they closed to within a point of the league title. Corks were within a minute of being popped at Crown Meadow after this emphatic victory, but a late equaliser for Concord Rangers at home to East Thurrock denied the Blues their moment of glory.
Lowestoft Town 4, Maldon Town 0
The Lowestoft Town champagne is on ice as they closed to within a point of the league title yesterday.
Corks were within a minute of being popped at Crown Meadow after this emphatic victory, but a late equaliser for Concord Rangers at home to East Thurrock denied the Blues their moment of glory.
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However, it is merely delaying the inevitable as Town need just a point from their remaining five matches to confirm the Ryman Division One North crown. And Saturday's clash with Cheshunt at the Meadow is already on the mind of joint manager Micky Chapman after he watched an excellent display capped with goals from Jamie Forshaw, his first for the club, Dale Cockrill and a Matt Nolan brace against the outclassed visitors.
“It was a fantastic performance,” he said. “The boys were different class right from the kick-off. They know what they've got to do and they know what the prize is at the end of it. They knew it was going to be tough as Maldon had nothing to lose and sides like that are always going to be dangerous.
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“A clean sheet, four great goals, it could have been a few more and you can't ask any more to be honest. We know what we've got to do. We've got five games left and we need to win a game of football and we want to do it as soon as possible.
“Our next game is against Cheshunt and it's not going to be easy as there's going to be a lot of pressure on us, but what a fantastic position to be in.”
Victory against Maldon was never in doubt as the Blues bossed the game in terms of possession and territory from the opening kick-off.
Despite five changes from the team which beat Redbridge the Blues were instantly into their stride.
Leading scorer Nolan almost opened his account in the 13th minute when his turn and shot from the edge of the box struck the post and stayed out.
But four minutes later, Forshaw, who has had to wait patiently for his chance to start, scored a brilliant opener. Joe Francis played a delicious ball over the top of the Maldon defence and the former Ebbsfleet striker controlled with his right foot before slotting home with his left. The final touch came off a defender, but it was Forshaw's goal - and the club's 100th league strike of the season.
The home side continued to carve out opportunities but had to wait until the 47th minute to double their lead.
From a long free-kick forward by Andy Reynolds, Nolan flicked on and Cockrill timed his run superbly into the box to volley precisely into the top corner as keeper Paul Rutherford was rooted to the spot.
Forshaw went close to doubling his tally as Rutherford tipped away his cross-cum-shot before his 25-yard curler landed on the roof of the net with Rutherford beaten.
Reynolds was called into action for the first time on 67 minutes to tip over a Jack Jeffries effort, but it was all one-way traffic and leading scorer Nolan added the third with 18 minutes remaining.
He volleyed home left-footed from the edge of the box after a neat one-two with Francis, and then he completed the rout five minutes from time after slamming home a cut back from sub Jamie Godbold.
There was still time for Maldon striker Laurant Hamici to earn a second yellow card and a subsequent red from referee Stuart Pawley, but his side were well-beaten before then.
At the final whistle the Blues players and managers waited on the pitch for the full-time score from Canvey Island as around 300 fans waited to celebrate.
But despite the Concord equaliser, they still went home happy knowing the title surely belongs to their side.
t Lowestoft Town: Reynolds, Plaskett (Godbold, 76 mins), Smith, Holt, Crane, Halliday, Mitchell, Dale Cockrill, Nolan, Forshaw (Bussens, 76), Francis (Bloomfield, 86). Subs not used: McGee, Fisk
t Referee: Stuart Pawley.
t Attendance: 827.