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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