Breathtaking match at Park Drive
By Lee Witney
26th Mar 2023 | Football
Maldon & Tiptree 5, Lowestoft 3
Jammers celebrated Non League Day in style, putting play off chasing Lowestoft Town to the sword in magnificent fashion to record a 5-3 victory at Park Drive on Saturday (25 March).
There were two changes from the starting lineup that were frustrated by Coggeshall last time out, with Rob Budd returning in goal and a first start for Toluwani Ayoola after his cameo appearance from the bench last Saturday. There was also a place on the bench for new man Louie Remi, who was signed from New Salamis prior to this weeks' transfer deadline.
There was a nervy opening for the Jammers, struggling to clear the ball after losing possession, but the visitors couldn't make the most of the early opportunity and Maldon eventually cleared their lines.
With six minutes on the clock, the hosts were ahead through Ayoola's first goal in a Jammers' shirt. Bringing the ball down well, he used his strength to hold off the defender and produce a composed finish past visiting goalkeeper Luke Holt into his bottom right corner.
1-0 up and the sun was shining. Life was good…..for about a minute until a coming together on the edge of the Maldon box saw the referee award Lowestoft a somewhat contentious penalty. Adam Hipperson made no mistake, sending Budd the wrong way to level things up at 1-1.
Undeterred, the Jammers set about re-establishing their lead with Michael Salako's pressing nearly forcing an error from Travis Cole in his own 6 yard box. Unfortunately for the Maldon man, luck was against him and the ball ricocheted against him and away for a goal kick.
Maldon were looking lively and were soon on the charge again. This time it was left back Chris Gregan making things happen. His ball in nearly set up goalscorer Ayoola, but the defender nipped in to put the ball out for a corner. From the resulting corner, captain Michael Finneran had a chance to add to his burgeoning goal tally. Unfortunately, he put his shot well over from a couple of yards out.
At the other end, there were some signs of life from Lowestoft. A cross field ball from the right narrowly missing the outstretched foot of Jake Reed and on 22 minutes, Budd produced a fine save to claw a Shaun Bammant header out of his top left hand corner.
Just after 25 minutes, Finneran had a great chance to put Maldon back ahead. It all came from a corner which came from good work from Terrell Egbri to earn it. The ball was recycled and the captain shot from a narrow angle, drawing a fine save from Holt with his legs.
Having weathered a spell of considerable Maldon pressure, the visitors landed a sucker punch right before half time when Reed was set through one on one with Budd, slotting past the Maldon keeper to put them 2-1 up.
It was nearly 3-1 to Lowestoft on the stroke of half time when the ball fell to Sam Johnson on the edge of the box. His clipped shot, however, sailed just over the Maldon bar.
The second half had everything. Five minutes in, right back Charlie Norman bought down Maldon's Terrell Egbri as the tricky Jammers man looked to get away. Lewis Jaggs' freekick just missed the head of Ayoola at the far post.
On 55 minutes, Salako lit the touch paper on the second half, bringing the scores level with a powerful header from a Jaggs cross that left Holt with no chance.
2-2 and the Jammers had certainly got the feeling. A long ball forward from Budd was flicked on by half time substitute, Louie Remi to Egbri who was causing all sorts of trouble for the Lowestoft back line. Only the assistant's flag stopped the Maldon man in his tracks.
Just after the hour, Egbri and Gregan linked up nicely down the left hand side and the latter crossed in for Ayoola- who himself was giving Lowestoft plenty to think about- but he couldn't direct his effort on target.
Back down at the other end, a 25 yard effort from Lowestoft's Sam Johnson brought the best out of Budd as he plunged low to his left to push the goal bound shot away for a corner.
With 25 minutes left, Maldon were given a golden opportunity to retake the lead when a cross in from Egbri hit a Lowestoft hand in the box. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. After some delaying tactics from the visitors that Emi Martinez would've been proud of, it was left to debutant Remi to send the keeper the wrong way to put the Jammers ahead 3-2.
The game threatened to get a bit heated, and a bit of handbags from both sets of players.
Not wanting to stay out of the limelight for too long, Ayoola seemingly put the game out of reach with 18 minutes left. Salako got to the byline and drilled the ball across the box, it found Ayoola striding onto the scene to tap home his second of the day.
Lowestoft refused to lie down and four minutes later, Jake Reed bagged his second as he took advantage of Maldon's high line to slide the ball under the advancing Budd.
If you're struggling to keep up, that made it 4-3 to Maldon with just under 15 minutes left. The home side continued to foray forward, with Salako being brought down by Nunn as he looked to be through on goal. This wholly unchristian act by the Lowestoft man resulted in a yellow card when it could easily have been red.
The game was finally put to bed with two minutes left and Egbri got the goal that his play had deserved all day. More pressing from the front from Salako forced Holt into a rushed clearance which fell at the mercurial feet of Egbri. He jinked and danced his way through the desperate defence to place the ball past the despairing Holt to send the home fans into raptures.
The full time whistle signalled the end of one of the most breathtaking halves of football and lifts the Jammers into 14th place - 10 points clear of the bottom four .