Lowestoft play 2 divisions higher than Town, in the Southern Premier, therefore Town knew it was never going to be an easy game.
With spirits high, it was all aboard the coach to Lowestoft on Saturday and all aboard the FA Cup Train once more!
The Town lined up as follows: Kirkwood, Osborne, Silford, Murphy (C), Davison-Gordon, Foulger, Webb, Stevens, McClelland, Fredericks, Towell. Subs: Adams, Pattie, Murrell, Pyman, Butawo, Donkor.
It was Town who set out the brighter of the 2 sides, playing with intent to damage the Lowestoft rearguard.
Leigh Stevens had an early sighter from the edge of the box, but he pulled it wide.
Then came a big chance for Town to open the scoring. Kirkwood’s long drop-Kick, was carried by swirling winds at Crown Meadow and went all the way through to McClelland, who got up and lobbed it over the keeper with his head, only to see it agonisingly land on the roof of the net. Inches away!
Another big chance went Town’s way just 2 minutes later. Brian Foulger headed Tom Silford’s free-kick back across goal, into the path of Webb, who headed it straight at the goalkeeper! 2 massive chances for the Town, but the score remained 0-0.
The game began to even out, with both sides pressing on to try and open the scoring.
Malachi Lynton had a go from inside the area for the hosts, but it stung the side netting.
Then came the hosts best chance for the opener. Lynton danced his way through the Town defence, before toe-poking an effort under Kirkwood. It hit the post, rolled across the line and somehow, there was Tom Silford who slid in to hook it away from danger at the last second! Unreal defending from Silford!
The Trawlerboys continued to go through the gears, showing their Step 3 quality in their movement.
Kyle Davison-Gordon showed more Town heroic defending, by throwing himself at an on-coming shot. Literally.
Dave Murphy then entered the referee’s book after a late tackle. The referee had already let Murphs off with one.
Just 4 minutes later on the 40th minute, Murphy found himself going for an early bath. He picked up a second yellow for a poor tackle in the centre of the pitch, which saw Town reduced to 10 men. Jordon Fredericks donned the armband for the remainder of the game.
Half-Time came around and Michael Donkor replaced Leigh Stevens at the break, with Town re-shuffling to try, somehow, to stay in the game, with a man disadvantage to a team 2 leagues above.
It was immediate pressure from Lowestoft, as they set out from the off to open the scoring.
Brad Kirkwood was called into action straight away, as he came out and got low to smother a chance.
But just 5 minutes into the second half, Lowestoft netted. A free-flowing passing move cut Town open and Malachi Lynton tucked the ball into the net from just a few yards out. 1-0.
Town however, their heads didn’t drop and continued to work tirelessly for the rest of the encounter.
Lowestoft had another opportunity, this time from an in-swinging free-kick, but it was headed over by Lopez.
Town then had a massive chance to pull themselves level. McClelland was his usual work-horse self and he was rewarded with his running when he dispossessed the Lowestoft Centre Back. He charged in on goal with one defender in front of him and shot, but it was saved by the keeper. Just to his right hand side though, was Danny Webb and one little square pass could’ve seen the Town take the lead, with Webb in a better position for a strike!
Kirkwood was soon called into action again, as he made a brilliant stop to deny Lowestoft as Town completely switched off.
Archie McClelland was replaced by Ross Adams with around half of the second period to go.
Brad Kirkwood then made 2 great saves in quick succession, one from a wind-carried cross and the other down to his right from a searing Lowestoft drive.
On the 74th minute, despite Town’s heroic efforts, the hosts extended their lead to 2. Travis Cole met a long free-kick at the far post and he powered it home with his head to give the Trawlerboys a 2-0 lead.
Brad Kirkwood made another top save to deny the Trawlerboys with time running out for Town.
Alfie Osborne was then replaced by Kuda Butawo.
Tom Silford then entered the referee’s pocket book.
Lowestoft had one more chance in them as the game drew to close. They dragged a shot wide from inside the area as the referee was on the cusp of wrapping this game up.
He did and the Town bow out of this year’s Emirates FA Cup.
What can I say? Well what a valiant performance from Town. Before they went down to 10 men, they were equal with the opponents, showing them what a good side they are.
When Town went to 10, it was always going to be a struggle to take anything from the game. But the lads on that pitch all worked their socks off and worked tirelessly for the badge on the front of that shirt.
Valiant and heroic efforts from the boys in Red and White, in front of a crowd of 388 at Crown Meadow!
Thank you to everyone who joined us in Suffolk! Your support is more than appreciated!
Although we are now out of this year’s FA Cup, there’s still the FA Vase, which is our next fixture, as we travel to Long Crendon next Sunday. This is a 1PM Kick Off, at Court Place Farm, the home of Oxford City.
See you there!
Up the Town!
By Kieran Carvell