Gorleston 2 Lowestoft Town 3
In a fairly high tempo game, Lowestoft come out on top with another confident win.
Jones, Okay, Haynes-Brown, Gaughran, A Smith, Gleeson, L Smith, Fisk, Eagle, Henderson, J Ainsley. Subs; various, including some youngsters from youth/reserves
Last season's Canvey Island keeper Ashley Jones was on trial and given a starting berth in goal for Lowestoft, while Jack Ainsley was given the nod up front, as Lowestoft set-up in a 4-1-4-1 formation.
The game was pretty high tempo with Lowestoft playing a lot of keep ball, looking confident in their passing again.
Jack Ainsley could and should have hit the target early on for Lowestoft, following some brilliant work in the middle by Eagle and some clever footwork to set up the chance but Ainsley could only find the side netting. It was a good and fairly free flowing game and with a shot from distance, Gorleston forced Jones to save and then pounce on the follow up to deny them.
Lowestoft again threatened with an Eagle cross finding the head of Henderson but the header was just over the bar.
Gorleston were working hard and having some play but Lowestoft were tight on them and looked in control of matters. Eagle looks like he's enjoying himself in central midfield in pre-season and following some more slick work by him, Henderson and Fisk, it opened up in front of goal for Jack Ainsley who finished well to register his first goal for Lowestoft and to send them 1-0 up (24 mins).
Gorleston nearly hit back with a good strike but a combination of a Jones dive and a Haynes-Brown clearance over the bar, saw the danger averted. Down the other end Henderson was denied with the Gorleston keeper getting down well to his shot, as the game continued at a decent pace.
With just under ten minutes of the half remaining, Gorleston drew level. Following some good football in the Lowestoft half, the ball reached the far side and with Jones at full stretch diving across the goal, he could do nothing to stop a firmly hit and well executed shot to draw things level at 1-1 (36 mins).
Literally sixty seconds past before Lowestoft instantly restored their lead but it was a goal of odd proportions. Jack Ainsley had been found with the ball and with him and the defender coming together on the edge of the box, his shot looked like it was looping up and over the bar but dropped at the last minute and inside the post for 2-1 to Lowestoft (37 mins).
Lee Smith and Eagle combined well to score on Tuesday and yet again the pair forced an opening but this time Eagle was denied, with his shot being cleared off the line.
It had been a good tempo of football in the first half and with halftime approaching it was real end-to-end stuff with Gleeson nearly finishing the half well for Lowestoft, drilling one just over the bar from 25 yards out.
The second half started with Crane replacing Gaughran and with Eagle still looking in a buoyant mood for Lowestoft. With Eagle driving forward and going past a few Gorleston players, his heals were clipped and the resulting free-kick from Lee Smith forced a great save by the home keeper.
Lowestoft did eventually extend their lead though with Henderson spinning on a chance and with it being cleared of the line, Lee Smith was there to tuck it away. However it appeared that the linesman was indicating that Henderson's attempt had crossed the line. Either way it was 3-1 to Lowestoft (55 mins).
The goal marked a change in gear for Lowestoft as the stepped it up a gear, showing good movement and knocking the ball about really well with the confident Eagle pulling all the strings in midfield. It was a good spell for Lowestoft, even though the game in the second half hadn't quite reached the tempo and levels of the first half but both teams were working hard and battling it out in the centre of the pitch.
It was looking like Lowestoft were going to ease to another 3-1 pre-season win but in the very last minute of play a great cross was sent into the Lowestoft area and the connecting header was put away well to give the match a final scoreline of 3-2 (90 mins).
It was another good workout for Lowestoft and Gorleston worked hard to their credit.
Eagle is riding on a cloud in midfield at present and looks like he has the key to open teams up at will. While the wise and experienced football in front of the defence by Gleeson seems to balance the team perfectly. He looks really fit and fully recovered from his back surgery now and his simple and comfortable style of play makes the game look easy at times and is a joy to watch.
It was also good to see some youngsters in the squad from the youth/reserves set-up and to see them handed some minutes in the second half.
After the match I briefly caught up with one of Lowestoft's new signings Jack Ainsley:-
A couple of goals tonight and a starting berth up top, is that where you see yourself playing?
"I'll play anywhere for Lowestoft if there's a space in the team; right back, right midfield or up top, I'm happy".
How did that second goal go in, as it was a bit of an odd one?
"A couple of the lads were saying that it wasn't mine but I'm claiming that!! As the shot was on target, so I'd like to think that it's my goal".
How are you settling in with the team in general?
"Yeah, I'm settling in fine and the lads are really welcoming.
Next up is Kirkley & Pakefield at the Crown Meadow on Saturday......FREE ENTRY!