Lowestoft Town 2 – 1 Wealdstone
2 - 1
Wealdstone’s fifteen match unbeaten run finally came to a disappointing end at Lowestoft on Saturday. Despite taking a first half lead through Britt Assombalonga, Stones succumbed to two strikes from the championship chasing home side in the second period – the controversial winner coming from the penalty spot – in front of a large but surprisingly subdued crowd of 855.
Speaking after the match on the club call line Stones Manager Gordon Bartlett did not attempt to hide his huge disappointment at the manner of the defeat: ‘I am gutted, bitterly disappointed at this defeat, our first away loss since October. We decided to change the formation today and play two quick players up front to expose their backline. In the first half this worked well and you could see that they were visibly worried at half- time, but we only had the one goal to show for our superiority.
In the second half you have to look at individual errors and we didn’t defend properly and we made wrong decisions. One error changed the whole course of the game and we came away with nothing. This is the worse feeling I have had about a game for a long time and we shot ourselves in the foot today. We have to start scoring more from other areas and winning games, roll on Monday night’
Britt Assombalonga gave Stones the lead midway through the first half after being given time and space in the penalty area and Lowestoft looked set to taste defeat for the second time in a week.
But Chris Henderson for the home side struck five minutes into the second period and brought the Blues back on level terms with a well taken strike from 20 yards.
The Trawlerboy’s comeback was complete just after the hour mark when Lubo Guentchev was brought down by David Hicks and Francis slotted home to give them three crucial points.
Lowestoft looked lively in the very early stages and could have been in front as early as the fifth minute when Scott Mitchell’s curling free kick went just wide. They dominated with Eagle dictating play in central midfield; the former Norwich City midfielder’s corner found Crane alone at the back post but his goal bound header was diverted over the crossbar by Henderson.
But Lowestoft were certainly not having it all their own way though with Stones skipper Lee Chappell repeatedly getting in behind Adrian Forbes down the left flank
And it was space down Lowestoft’s left flank that proved their undoing in the 22nd minute when Stones took the lead. Assombalonga sprung the offside trap and cut in from the wing to fire emphatically home at Andy Reynolds’ near post.
Wealdstone visibly grew in confidence and began to dominate play themselves, but the Blues could have got back on level terms when Lubo Guentchev’s volleyed pass released Eagle behind the Stones’ back four, but North produced an excellent save to deny the midfielder.
Chris O’Leary was inches away from doubling Wealdstone’s lead late in the first half when Smith headed Chappell’s cross back across the face of goal but the midfield enforcer just failed to divert the ball home.
But five minutes into the second half Lowestoft were back on level terms from an excellent strike by Henderson. Francis managed to charge down an attempted clearance by Dominic Sterling and the ball ran to Henderson on the edge of the area and he planted a right-footed strike into the top corner from 20 yards.
Andrew Fisk’s deft pass found Guentchev inside the penalty area and when Hicks appeared to foul the former Hendon man the referee pointed to the spot despite appeals for handball in the lead up. Francis stepped up to firmly side foot the ball home to North’s right and the Suffolk side’s turnaround was complete.
Stones struggled to create more chances from the midfield but right at the death Reynolds fumbled a powerful 25-yard free-kick by sub Scott Fitzgerald and Richard Jolly looked odds on to rescue a point. However, the Lowestoft stopper sprung back up to agonisingly block Jolly’s effort from inside the six-yard area.
Wealdstone: North, Hammond, Sterling, Cronin, McCubbin, C Smith (Jolly 70), Hicks (Pett 64), O’Leary (Fitzgerald 83), Chappell, Dean, Assombalonga. Subs not used: Brooks, Poniskaitis.