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Gibbs Hits Late 30-Yarder as U23s Win at Lowestoft
Wednesday, 9th Sep 2020 00:23 by James Ager

A fantastic long-range strike in stoppage time from sub Liam Gibbs helped a Town U23s side beat Lowestoft Town 2-1 at Crown Meadow in a pre-season friendly on Tuesday evening.

The hosts should have opened the scoring in the tenth minute but striker Jake Reed headed Jacek Zielonka's cross wide of the target from six yards out.

Moments later at the other end, left-back Jack Wilkinson did well to clear off the line after Colin Oppong had rolled the ball towards a seemingly unguarded net following a burst forward and then a collision between keeper Luis Tibbles and defender Adam Tann.

Tibbles did well to get down to keep an effort from Ben Folami out before the Trawlerboys struck the woodwork direct from a corner just after midway through the half. Zielonka curled the ball over Blues stopper Lewis Ridd and hit the inside of the far post but the Town defence managed to clear the danger.

And although Ridd then did well to parry a drive from Zielonka wide, Lowestoft's number seven responded by opening the scoring on the half-hour mark with a fine strike from 30 yards out, which bounced awkwardly and just inside the post; away from Ridd's despairing dive.

Town - with Gerard Nash and Terry Butcher in charge - nearly hit straight back but Tibbles scrambled across to keep McGavin's low free-kick out which he had curled around a defensive wall.

With five minutes of the first half remaining, Town were awarded a penalty when Folami was tripped as he ran into the area. The Australian U23 international stepped up to take the spot-kick himself but Tibbles produced a fine save to push the ball up into the air, and the keeper then gathered the loose ball.

Right-back Connor O'Reilly fizzed a shot just wide of the far post six minutes after the restart, shortly before Ridd was out quickly to deny Reed by making a good block.

On 65 McGavin played a delightful chipped pass to release Folami but former Town academy scholar Travis Cole got back and made a fine last-ditch tackle to preserve the home side's lead.

Reed again headed wide when he looked better placed to score and it proved to be a costly miss as, with 20 minutes remaining, McGavin levelled the scores.

The ball had initially come off a Lowestoft defender and fallen kindly for Gibbs, who rounded sub keeper Warren Burwood and rolled the ball towards goal, only for Cole to somehow prevent the ball from crossing the line. However the danger wasn't cleared and the ball was pulled back to McGavin, who produced a cool first-time finish to score.

As the game entered its final few minutes, another sublime pass from McGavin teed up Folami but the striker was kept on his left foot and Burwood pushed his shot away for a corner.

Then in the first minute of stoppage time, substitute Gibbs won the game for Town with an excellent strike from 30 yards out which flew into the top corner and drew applause from most of those in attendance.

McGavin was without doubt the standout performer and was involved in most of the chances that Town created, and the number four took his goal well too.

Trialist Jack Hanson again featured but didn't see too much of the ball during his time on the pitch, while Levi Andoh came off the bench to make his first appearance of pre-season.

U23s: Ridd, O'Reilly (Crowe 62), Smith, McGavin, Kabongolo (Andoh 76), Stewart (Baggott 76), Crane (Z Brown 69), Hanson (Gibbs 59), Folami, Healy (Viral 76), Oppong (Simpson 69). Unused: Bort.

Photo: Matchday Images

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Saxonblue74 added 06:49 - Sep 9
30 yards? Get him in the first team! Some of our guys are struggling from 30 inches!

Upthetown1970 added 06:50 - Sep 9
Toss up between watching the first team on ifollow or the u23's. I'm glad I went to Lowerstoft. To be fair the u23's first half performance was not great and Lowerstoft deserved their lead. McGavin the only shinning light. For me the game turned on its head once young Gibbs came off the bench. This young lads off the ball movement was excellent which created our first goal. Gibbs passing was sublime and as for his winner, wow!!! What a strike!!, well worth the entry fee. McGavin and Gibbs for me should be around the 1st team, these 2 linked up very well. Lambert has said time and time again if your good enough your old enough!. Well Paul these 2 are good enough in my opinion.

FAcup78 added 06:59 - Sep 9
Gibbs and McGavin certainly our u23 stand out players. All these young lads can do is keep performing but I fear Lambert is going to stick with experience this season so I dont see young players being used much. If he didn't use them last night then when will he. I agree upthetown these 2 should be around the first team for sure. Gibbs my mom last night, definitely made an impact once he came on.

Linkboy13 added 08:28 - Sep 9
Players are not going to get picked for the first team on the strength of a display against a non league side. Gibbs for me is our best young player but is not physically ready yet for first team football. We've seen our youngsters get badly injured, Dozzell, Nydam, Lankester etc. They need to go out on loan to further their development as Downes and Wolfenden did ,didn't do them any harm. I just find it embarrassing when a youngster scores a goal in a low level game and people start shouting get him in the first team.

midastouch added 08:36 - Sep 9
Was standing fairly near the goal last night and it was a very sweetly struck winning shot.  Well worth the admission fee alone!  Big credit to Lowestoft Town FC, a very friendly and warm atmosphere at Crown Meadow last night.

positivity added 08:38 - Sep 9
no el mizouni again? is he injured?

Ericgates12 added 08:52 - Sep 9
What a player Gibbs is. My worry is that when he is physically ready as you suggest Linkboy13 he will not be with us. I know Gibbs has got a lot of attention from premier league teams so we need to get him tied to a longterm deal. Now I know contracts dont really mean that much but it will give the club a bit of power to say no to other clubs. I think (please correct me if I'm wrong) Gibbs contract expires at the end of this season. Lets hope talks have started because I for one would love to see this lad in our first team. If you haven't seen Gibbs play you need too because hes the real deal in my opinion.

hector_clifford added 11:27 - Sep 9
Very interesting that Nash and Butcher are in charge.
If Lambert was to leave, I can see Evans appointing from within, in order for continuity of style of play and formation that he likes.
I think Nash and Butcher, might be the right combination.

Pilgrimblue added 16:34 - Sep 9
Always rated Nash and very surprised he's still with us. Would be good if he was given the chance with Butch

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