STOURBRIDGE 3 LOWESTOFT TOWN 1
Winger Greg Mills inspired the Glassboys to a 3 – 1 victory against Lowestoft Town with two goals and an assist.
After making their exit from the FA Cup and FA Trophy on consecutive Saturdays, the home side were keen to get back to winning ways, but they didn’t have things all their own way against a Lowestoft side that belied their lowly position with some tidy football that could have yielded more goals with their 20-year loanee from Ipswich Town, Conor McKendry, particularly catching the eye.
The Glassboys showed two changes from the Trophy tie at Kettering with Chekaine Steele and Greg Mills coming in for Aaron Forde, deemed not to have fully recovered from injury, and Luke Benbow, not available because of family commitments. Darryl Westlake partnered Leon Broadhurst in the centre of the midfield as a result.
The visitors from Suffolk made the livelier start with Kieran Higgs going close in the opening exchanges and then on 7 minutes McKendry worked room for a low shot from 20 yards that James Wren saved down to his left.
Stourbridge responded three minutes later with Rob Thompson-Brown fastening on to a header from Paul McCone and advancing before hitting a shot from 22 yards that bounced wide of Elvijs Putnins right-hand post.
The Trawlerboys had a good chance to take the lead in the 14th minute when a raking through ball down the middle by McKendry put Higgs in on goal, however a heavy touch allowed Wren the opportunity to dive at his feet and collect the ball.
Mills was causing the visitors problems down the left flank and on 23 minutes he dribbled to the by-line before sending over a low cross that just evaded Broadhurst and Steele.
With half-an-hour played McKendry provided a cross from the right and Robert Eagle turned and fired a shot from 20 yards over the bar.
Five minutes later Mills threatened again as he cut in from the left and hit a low shot that took a deflection causing some spin on the ball, but Putnins was able to gather first as Anderson lurked.
Stourbridge opened the scoring five minutes before the break with Broadhurst finding Mills who played a back-heel to Thompson-Brown. The two combined with Mills fastening on to the through ball into the left-hand side of the box and he opened up his body before rolling his shot low past Putnins into the net.
Lowestoft looked to hit back quickly. In the 43rd minute a corner from the right was not cleared away to safety and eventually James Blanchfield struck from just outside the box over the bar.
A minute into stoppage time Connor Deeks should have levelled proceedings as Higgs linked up with Armani Scharr on the right and the cross in found Deeks at the far post who turned his close range effort past the post.
HT Stourbridge 1 Lowestoft Town 0
A spell of pressure from the visitors early in the second period saw Jamie Godbold's men get back on level terms in the 56th minute. Shortly before that McKendry fed Higgs and he duly touched the ball off to Eagle who struck a left-foot low shot towards the bottom corner which drew a good save from Wren to turn it round the post.
However as the Suffolk side continued to push, Rossi Jarvis lifted a cross in from the right and Deeks atoned for his earlier miss by rising above McCone and looping a header beyond Wren who had been drawn off his line into no man's land.
Any thoughts of a possible upset soon subsided though as Stourbridge got their noses back in-front just three minutes later as Anderson pulled a low cross back from the right and Mills wrapped his foot round the ball to curl his shot past Putnins for another quality finish.
In the 66th minute it became 3 - 1 as Mills delivered an inswinging free-kick from the left and Aaron Hayden directed a close range header into the net.
Callum Powell replaced Steele with 68 minutes gone having recovered from a knee injury.
Lowestoft refused to lie down and they threatened again on 71 minutes as Eagle found McKendry who ran off the back of McCone and he fizzed in a low cross from the left-hand side of the area but there was nobody on hand to capitalise.
Christophorou, Broadhurst and Thompson-Brown all picked up bookings for the home side as play became scrappy in the latter stages but the visitors couldn't muster the second goal that would have set up a grandstand finish.
STOURBRIDGE: Wren; Hayden; Brown; McCone; Christophorou; Westlake; Steele (Powell 68); Broadhurst; Anderson; Thompson-Brown' Mills.
Subs not used: Pierpoint; Evans; Forde; Maher.
Booked - Christophorou, Broadhurst and Thompson-Brown
Photographs from Shirley Whitlow available to view at -
Updated 23:48 - 4 Nov 2018 by Nigel Gregg