Croydon Athletic surged into the semi-finals of the Championship Manager League Cup last night as they came from behind to beat Ryman Division One North leaders Lowestoft Town 2-1 at the KT Stadium thanks to a last-minute goal.

The Rams started well with Leslie Thompson’s run into the six-yard box in the third minute thwarted by on-form Lowestoft goalkeeper Andrew Reynolds.

Lowestoft then mounted an attack only for the Rams’ Joe Howe to get in a decisive tackle to rob the striker of the ball in the penalty area.

Athletic began to dominate the first half, with Gary Noel’s header just wide after 20 minutes, and Noel’s shot on the turn minutes later went over the bar.

A great run from Tom Bolarinwa in the 27th minute led to a chance for Ben Godfrey in the box but the keeper again denied the Rams and saw the scores level at half time.

The second half saw a rejuvenated Lowestoft side mount several attacks, with Joe Francis’ close range shot just wide, and a well taken free kick was well saved by Andy Little in the Croydon goal.

Lowestoft went ahead in the 63rd minute with substitute James Godbold’s strike outside the 18 yard area putting the away side one up.

With Gareth Williams on as substitute for the Rams in the 69th minute it took him only three minutes to equalise for the home side with a 25 yard strike in the far corner of the net in the 72nd minute.

With the hardworking Chris Piper and Danny Waldren dominating the midfield, both Piper and Waldren saw their chances go just over the crossbar, and Williams again had a chance to put the Rams ahead when he found himself in space from a Chris Bourne cross but his attempt went just wide.

With Joe Howe operating as a centre half for the match, he still managed to make a searing run upfield and his cross was met by the head of Godfrey but Reynolds again kept his side’s hopes alive with a diving save.

As the half wore on, Tim O’Shea introduced Academy player Rob Depeazer to make his first team debut and he managed to hold his own amongst the more experienced players.

With the game drawing to a close and extra time and penalties looking the order of the day, the Rams had one last attack and players piled into the penalty box with the first shot being blocked, the second being parried out by the keeper and finally Williams netting from close range to send the home side into the next round on 90 minutes.

They will play the winner of the Sittingbourne v Wealdstone quarter final on March 18.

Croydon Athletic: Andy Little, Joe Howe, Chris Bourne, Danny Waldren (Rob Depeazer, 85), Bentley Graham, Ben Lewis, Tom Bolarinwa, Chris Piper, Ben Godfrey, Gary Noel (Gareth Williams, 69), Leslie Thompson (Rory Hill, 57). Subs not used: Zak Henry, Goma Lambu.