Lowestoft Town 0-2 Southend United
Lowestoft Town continue their preparations for the new season as they lose 2-0 to Southend United in an encouraging performance.
Last season's loaned maestro Nico Cotton netted the game's opening goal against Lowestoft as a young Southend side prevailed over the Trawlerboys on Wednesday night. Cotton was quickly a fans favourite in Suffolk after he arrived on loan from the Shrimpers in February, but was on hand to tap home from close range in the twelfth minute after goalkeeper Ben Dudzinski had spilled a driven ball into the box towards his feet.
Lowestoft struggled especially in the first half to compete with Southend's flowing football and were saved by the woodwork moments after Cotton's opener as Michael Klass' long distance strike cannoned against the crossbar. Klass, however, would double the visitors lead on the twenty-fourth minute mark as a perfectly executed lobbed attempt dipped over the onrushing Dudzinski after a lofted ball from midfield had split the defence open. Town fought bravely to keep the score-line at two heading into half-time as Ollie Humphrey blocked a shot inside the penalty area and Dudzinski expertly palmed Harry Phillips' attempt over the crossbar. As for Lowestoft's attempts on goal in the first half, Shaun Bammant's header from a free kick was comfortably caught by Nathan Bishop, while physical defending from another former-Trawlerboy Harry Kyprianou ensured Jake Reed would have a torrid time up front.
Yet, Town's best chance of the match came just after the start of the second period. Shaun Bammant's header from a left-wing cross by Ollie Humphrey had Bishop well and truly beaten, however veered just wide of the post, as Lowestoft let a chance to get back in the match go begging. Southend would then resume total control of the match without scoring; both sides submitting impressive defensive performances in the second half, restricting their opponents to half-chances. The introduction of Harvey Hodd for the Trawlerboys injected some extra energy and inventiveness, as the winger seemed to be at the forefront of all of Lowestoft's attacks late in the game. It was the Shrimpers though that nearly added a third after 72 minutes, but substitute keeper Elvijs Putnins sprung himself well to prevent a direct free kick from flying home and guaranteed that his side would lose this match with a respectable 2-0 scoreline.
Overall, despite not scoring, positive connotations can be taken from this affair as Lowestoft defended well against a number of players who will be playing their football in League One next season. It was good for the fans to see Cotton come back, although it may have been more pleasing if he hadn't scored. Nevertheless, the performance was a big improvement on the disappointing match which saw Kirkley & Pakefield take a 4-1 victory at the Amber Dew Events Stadium on Saturday, and there are still many things to look forward to as the new Bostik League season nears.