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Pitching In Southern Premier League Central

Lowestoft Town

Hednesford Town

Cater (2)

(0) 0

(1) 1



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Reece Flanagan



Banbury United (A) 19.3.22

Hednesford recorded their first win in six games this afternoon as they added to Lowestoft’s relegation worries with all three points at Crown Meadow courtesy of a very early George Cater goal


The Pitmen had been boosted by news yesterday that Birmingham City's U23 goalkeeper Oliver Basey had rejoined the club on a second loan deal ahead of today's game, having recovered from the hand injury that had seen his previous loan spell at the club cut short. He was the only change to the side that had drawn 3-3 at Tamworth in midweek as he replaced the error-prone Joe O'Shaughnessy


Lowestoft - sitting five points adrift of safety in twentieth place in the Southern Premier League Central table - were in the midst of a dreadful run of form, having only won one of their last six games, losing four of the other five in the process. Manager Jamie Godbold made one change of his own to the side that had lost 3-2 to play-off chasing AFC Rushden & Diamonds last weekend as Dylan Ruffles replaced Mitchell Belmar at left-back


And what a start it was for the away side, as George Cater picked up where he left off with the game's opening goal in just the second minute; Reece Flanagan's corner was not cleared effectively by the Lowestoft defence, with Kyle Bennett and Flanagan keeping the move alive by working the ball out to George Cater on the left flank. The in-form winger cut inside and drifted past Kieran Higgs before firing past Luis Tibbles in the Lowestoft goal from a tight angle; it was the winger's third goal in the last two games

On a hard and bobbly pitch, the hosts looked to strike straight back but were foiled by a stoic Hednesford defence that kept the Blues at bay for much of the first period; a seventh-minute move saw Wilkinson and the talented Louis McIntosh combine to work the ball into the penalty area for the prolific Jake Reed, only for Harvey Portman to step across and make a timely challenge to deny the striker a shot at goal

In the twelfth minute, a neat passing move from the Pitmen saw Flanagan and Cater play Bennett into space down the right, with the former Bristol Rovers forward dancing past Ruffles before seeing his attempted cross to Riley O'Sullivan cut out by the out-stretched leg of skipper Ryan Jarvis

A corner kick from the Trawlerboys in the sixteenth minute saw Basey involved for the first time in the afternoon, confidently punching the ball away from danger as players from both sides congregated inside his six-yard box

Midway through an uninspiring first half, O'Sullivan brought the ball down under pressure from Harry Knights before laying the ball off to Parker, who made a run into the Lowestoft penalty area with the ball at his feet before overrunning the ball and allowing the hosts to clear their lines

Four minutes later, Bennett's clever pass into the path of Cater set the winger on his way to the left of the Lowestoft penalty area, only for an offside flag to deny the goalscorer another effort at goal

Back came the hosts through Reed, who made a run down the right to collect a pass from McIntosh on the half-hour mark, clipping the ball into the penalty area but failed to find anyone in blue as the ball dropped harmlessly wide of the target at the far post

Four minutes later, it was Cater who supplied a cross to no one as his low ball into the Lowestoft box after Flanagan had played him into space, watching the ball skipping across the six-yard box and out of play on the far side of the ground for a throw-in

Good, patient approach play from the Pitmen on thirty-seven minutes saw Carter Lycett, Cater and Bennett all keep the ball well before playing O'Sullivan into space to the left-hand side of the Lowestoft penalty area, where he was taken wide by Jarvis before the Lowestoft skipper blocked O'Sullivan's attempted cross-cum-shot

With six minutes of the half remaining, Lowestoft had their best chance to level matters as Higgs played the ball into the feet of Wilkinson on the edge of the Hednesford penalty area; the winger was taken wide by Lewis Hayden, culminating in an angled shot for Wilkinson that that was deflected just wide by the Hednesford right-back for a corner kick

From Reed's resultant corner kick, the inswinging cross somehow evaded everyone in the Hednesford six-yard box and drifted just wide of the far post as the wind took the ball behind

In the final minute of the half, the Pitmen broke quickly through Lycett down the left, charging into the Lowestoft penalty area before clipping a cross far too high and long for either O'Sullivan or Bennett to reach as they entered the six-yard box

It had been a low-quality and fairly forgettable forty-five minutes of football, with chances at a premium and very little for the 318-strong crowd to get excited about on this cole but bright Saturday afternoon

The hosts were forced into a substitution just five minutes after the restart as forward Josh Harvey came on in place of Wilkinson to add more to the shot-shy Lowestoft attack

Parker's industry saw him win the ball in midfield on fifty-three minutes and spray the ball out to Hayden down the right flank, with the former Walsall Wood utility man sending over a cross that Tibbles did well to claim ahead of O'Sullivan at his near post

Harvey almost put the hosts level with his first sight at goal since coming on in the fifty-sixth minute as Jarvis's fine through ball from his own half found Reed in behind the Hednesford defence; the striker took a couple of touches before squaring the ball to Harvey just inside the Hednesrord penalty area, only for Harvey's shot to lack power as he struck a weak effort straight into the hands of Basey

Lowestoft's Tai Fleming incurred the wrath of referee Mr Laflin on the hour mark as he was booked for a foul on O'Sullivan to stop the striker from breaking quickly in the Lowestoft half

Hayden very nearly put the visitors two goals to the good three minutes later with a fine individual effort as he seized upon a loose pass from Jarvis just inside the Lowestoft half and made a storming run past three Lowestoft defenders before striking a left-footed effort at goal from eight yards out that was deflected away by a last-ditch tackle from Knights. The ball ran back to Hayden, whose follow-up shot from a tight angle was turned behind by Tibbles

Tibbles was alert to deny Cameron Ebbutt on sixty-six minutes after Kyle Bennett had broken the Lowestoft offside trap to latch onto a long ball forwards from Lycett and take the ball into the penalty area, laying the off to the former Hereford forward who attempted a sidefooted effort from ten yards out that was beaten away by the home stopper

The home side were still struggling to make the breakthrough, with Reed firing high and wide of goal with a wild effort on seventy minutes after being played into the Hednesford penalty area by McIntosh

A quick counter from the hosts three minutes later saw Ruffles made a charging run down the left before supplying the ball to Harvey, who was jockeyed out out the flank by Hayden's persistence. His cross into the penalty area was half-cleared by Harvey Portman before Flanagan blocked Higgs' attempted follow-up shot on the edge of the penalty area

The Pitmen's first substitution of the afternoon came with thirteen minutes remaining as Portman was given a well-earned rest by manager Keenen Meakin-Richards, replaced by recent signing Luke Ward at centre-back

More good build-up play from the Pitmen on seventy-nine minutes saw them work the ball from right to left and back into the path of Cater, whose lay-off to Bennett eventually found O'Sullivan via a touch from Flanagan as the ball was worked back across the face of the Lowestoft penalty area. Tuesday night's goalscorer worked the ball onto his left foot before striking a firm shot at goal that Tibbles pushed away for a Hednesford corner kick

Flanagan's resultant corner kick caught the gusty North Sea wind and ended up swerving away from Bennett and O'Sullivan in the Lowestoft six-yard box before dropping wide of the far post

Substitute Harvey picked up the Trawlerboys' second booking of the afternoon with five minutes of the game remaining as he brought down Parker to earn himself a yellow card

A minute later, Ebbutt was to be the second Hednesford player of the afternoon to be substituted as the experienced Courtney Richards finally returned to the pitch after another long injury lay-off for the former captain

Successive Lowestoft corner kicks again failed to sufficiently test the Hednesford rearguard, with Basey and his young back line once again dealing with the limited threat of the hosts with relative ease

A quick counter from the Pitmen with two minutes remaining saw man of the match Flanagan play the ball to Cater, who tricked his way past the highly-rated Josh Wells before seeing his cross blocked by Jarvis and cleared before O'Sullivan could get to the loose ball

With the game drifting into added time, Flanagan picked up the game's third and final booking of the afternoon for a foul on Jarvis inside the Hednesford half, handing Lowestoft a free-kick that was wasted by the hosts as the Pitmen cleared their lines with ease

It had been a fairly straightforward afternoon's work for the Pitmen, who had struck early and sat on their lead for nearly the entirety of the match without looking likely to concede against a woefully uninspired Lowestoft side that looked short of goals and confidence; they look doomed to relegation unless they can find some form in the final six weeks of the season to make up what is now a five-point gap to Bromsgrove Sporting in eighteenth spot. A league double over the Trawlerboys means that the Pitmen have now moved past forty points for the season and have essentially secured safety for the season, ahead of next week's daunting-looking encounter at champions-elect Banbury United

Lowestoft Town: Tibbles, Wells, Ruffles, Jarvis ©, Knights, Cole, Higgs, Fleming , Reed, McIntosh (Lane 78), Wilkinson (Harvey 50 )      Subs Unused: Pollock, Burwood, Tann 

Hednesford Town: Basey, Hayden, Lycett, Portman (Ward 77), Ison ©, Flanagan , Ebbutt (Richards 86), Parker, O'Sullivan, Bennett, Cater     Subs Unused: Brown-Jones, Rashad, O'Shaughnessy

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