GALLERY AND MATCH REPORT: Leiston 0-1 Lowestoft Town
Jake Reed’s first-half goal gave Lowestoft Town all three points in a tightly-contested Suffolk derby against Leiston.
Reed pounced with a clinical finish in the 15th minute to send the Trawlerboys’ fans home happy and seal a league double for Lowestoft over their arch-rivals.
However, the outcome could have been so different had Leon Ottley-Gooch not wasted a gilt-edged chance to rescue a point for Leiston with virtually the last kick of the game.
On a boggy pitch but in bright sunshine in north Suffolk, Lowestoft started the brighter and should have taken a 13th minute lead when captain Sam Gaughran broke through the Blues defence following a swift counter-attack but lacked composure with the finish, dragging his effort woefully wide.
However, Lowestoft, who beat promotion candidates Dulwich Hamlet 2-0 in their last game, didn’t have to wait too much longer for a goal as Reed clinically finished with the outside of his boot after Robert Eagle’s miscued shot fell to him 12 yards from goal.
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The visitors grew in confidence and lively frontman and former Leiston striker Emmanuel Osei would like to have done better when well-placed mid-way through the half.
Struggling to get a foothold in the match, Leiston boss Steve Ball decided to freshen things up at the break with Ottley-Gooch and Ryan Crisp replacing Craig Parker and Nnamdi Nwachuku.
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But it was Lowestoft who started the second period the stronger and only a brilliant save from Danny Gay denied Osei a goal that his efforts over the afternoon arguably deserved.
Leiston, who are much-changed on and off the field since the first encounter between these two in August which finished 3-0 to the Trawlerboys, kept plugging away and Crisp slipped at a pivotal moment after fellow sub Ottley-Gooch closed down Ashlee Jones in the vistors’ goal.
With time ticking away, Leiston began to throw everything at Lowestoft but the visitors’ defence, expertly marshalled by Gaughran, stood strong.
And when they were finally breached, they had keeper Jones to thank as he smothered substitute Rhys Henry’s late effort.
An even better chance fell to Ottley-Gooch moment’s later after terrific work from Crisp and Henry but with the goal at his mercy and just four yards out, the versatile striker headed over the bar much to the bemusement of the 545-strong crowd.
Leiston: Gay, Saker, Brothers, Head (c), Jefford, Simmons (Henry), Boardley, Heath, Parker (Crisp), Francis and Nwachuku (Ottley-Gooch). Unused subs: Tann and Rossis
Lowestoft Town: Jones, J Ainsley, S Ainsley, Williams, Gaughran, Okay, Jarvis, Henderson, Eagle, Reed (Frew) and Osei (Smith). Unused subs: Gleeson, Bailey and Haizel.