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The Rooks FA Trophy campaign ended after 90 minutes as they went down 3-1 to a strong Lowestoft Town team on a stormy afternoon in Suffolk,reports Stuart Fuller.
Manager Hugo Langton made two changes from the side that beat Merstham eleven days ago with Alex Malins returning to the team at the expense of Tom Bolarinwa, whilst new signing Ben Allen came in for Ronnie Conlon.
The Rooks played in the first half with the wind behind them but struggled to keep the ball on the floor. The first chance of the game fell to Lewes in the 15th minute when a well-worked move down the left saw Ben Allen’s pull back catch Aaron Cosgrave off balance as he tried to turn his defender.
A minute later the home side nearly took the lead when Reed beat Nathan Stroomberg-Clarke to a through ball but Alex Malins got back to clear the ball off the line. The Rooks keeper wasn’t so lucky a minute later when Reed got behind the defence, beat Nathan and squared to Higgs to made no mistake from close range.
The Lewes bench made a tactical change in the 25thminute with Eddie Wakley making way for Brad Santos but it was the home side who finished the half on top, scoring a second in the 43rd minute when a cross from the left wasn’t cleared and Parsons scored from close range.
The tie was all but over in the 54th minute when Higgs scored his second, smashing the ball home from the edge of the box after being given too much space to run at the defence and pick his spot.
The game lost its way after that third goal with the frustration of the Rooks evident by bookings for Ben Allen and Brad Santos. However, with eight minutes to go they had a goal back when Aaron Cosgrave’s run into the box was initially blocked but he then laid it on for Gary Noel to slot home from 10 yards. But the home side held out in the final few minutes to progress into the next round of the FA Trophy.
After the game boss Hugo Langton gave an honest assessment of the afternoon.
With Tuesday’s Isthmian Premier League game against Carshalton Athletic postponed due to their re-arranged FA Trophy game against Merstham needed to be played, the Rooks are next in action next Saturday when they host East Thurrock United, kick off 3pm.
Lowestoft Town: Tibbles, Zielonka, Murphy, Jarvis, Andoh, Lopez, McIntosh (Ruffles 76mins), Fisk, Reed, Higgs, Parsons (Debenham 86mins)
Subs not used: Reynolds, Honeywood, Cox
Lewes: Stroomberg-Clarke, Walsh, Beresford, Wakley (Santos 25mins), Malins, Frimpong, Arthurs, Bosma (Noel 62mins), Cosgrave ,Blewden, Allen
Subs not used: Bloor, Khinda-John, Redwood
Booked: Malins, Santos, Allen
Attendance: 236 (9 Rooks fans)