Call to all across Lowestoft - help the Blues make it fourth time lucky
- Credit: Stephen Lawrence/phcimages.com
A rallying call has gone out to people across Lowestoft – urging them to back the Blues by turning out in their thousands on Monday.
Lowestoft Town are just 90 minutes away from promotion, having reached the Ryman League Premier Division play-off final for the fourth successive season.
But after a heartbreaking hat-trick of consecutive defeats in the final, the club is aiming to make it fourth time lucky and fulfil its dreams of securing Conference-level football.
Hoping to cast aside previous final-day disappointments, Lowestoft are aiming to move up the non-league pyramid into what would be the Skrill Conference North division – just two steps away from the Football League.
And fans of the Trawlerboys are being called upon to be Lowestoft's 12th man once more – with Monday's play-off final at Crown Meadow being billed as one of the most important games in the club's history. Standing in their way will be AFC Hornchurch, who were relegated from the Conference South last season after beating the Blues 2-1 in the play-off final on May 7, 2012 – when a last-gasp extra-time winner broke Lowestoft hearts.
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Club officials said that Monday's match 'will not be all ticket,' and fans are being urged to arrive early for the play-off final. Gates and bars open at noon on Monday with the game kicking off at 3pm.
Tickets will be on sale at the social club between 11am and 2pm tomorrow (Saturday) and Lowestoft Town chairman Gary Keyzor said: 'It's great for the town. Obviously it will be interesting with Hornchurch winning the play-offs two years ago, but anything can happen. We are the form team and it is fantastic to have reached the final.'
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Mr Keyzor said: 'When I came on board as chairman it was my goal to get conference football and we have been so close three years on the trot that hopefully it will be fourth time lucky. The supporters have been fantastic and to have 60 there on Wednesday singing all night was superb – hopefully more than 2,500 will turn out (like last year's final) on Monday.'
Bob Blizzard, patron of Lowestoft Town, and club director will be at Monday's crucial match – and he hopes more than 2,000 people will turn up to roar the side to victory.
He said: 'There is only one place to be on Monday and that is Crown Meadow. Let's hope its four times lucky,'
And Journal staff will be at the game handing out purchasable supporters' goody bags on Monday.
Yesterday, civic leaders sent the club their own messages of support. Waveney MP Peter Aldous, said: 'Best of luck to them on Monday. Having laid down solid foundations over the past few years I think promotion would be richly deserved.
'You find that when a town's football team is successful there are positive knock-on effects for the town – it generates a tremendous feeling,' Mr Aldous added. 'If they win it will help put Lowestoft on the map.'
Colin Law, leader of Waveney District Council said it would be a boost for the town if the team got promoted to a higher league. He said: 'Hopefully they will do better than last time and obviously we wish them well. The town should rally around the team.'
Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate for Waveney and long-time Blues fan, Bob Blizzard, was at Wednesday night's game and he said it was the 'best' performance he had seen from the Trawlerboys. He now hopes the team can turn on the style again on Monday to clinch promotion.
'It was a wonderful felling when we won,' he said. The atmosphere was amazing. We were so proud of the players, anyone of them could have been man of the match.'
Mr Blizzard added that Monday's final also provided a chance for the Blues to settle a score against Hornchurch – after the Essex side had won the play off final two years ago.
The Trawlerboys made it into this year's play-offs after finishing fourth in the premier division this season. After beating Bognor Regis 2-1 in a seaside semi-final showdown on Wednesday night, they have now secured a home final against AFC Hornchurch, who finished fifth and a point behind the Blues.
It could not be more evenly poised between the two finalists – with the Essex side winning 2-1 at home courtesy of a late penalty at Hornchurch Stadium in August, and Lowestoft winning 3-0 at Crown Meadow in November.
Lowestoft are currently on a run of just two defeats in their last 20 games, as they aim to continue the momentum on Monday – while The Urchins have lost five of their previous 20 matches.
After Wednesday's semi final success, skipper Dan Gleeson tweeted: 'Nothing won yet but great shift from the lads. Keep grafting and keep believing.' Jake Reed, who scored the crucial second goal in the 2-1 win at Bognor Regis, tweeted: 'Half the job done roll on final on Monday.'
? If you cannot make it to the ground in person, you can keep up to date with all the action live from Crown Meadow by logging on to www.lowestoftjournal24.co.uk