Lowestoft Town 0-0 Braintree Town
Lowestoft and Braintree finished goalless last night in what was another important test for the Trawlerboys as they continue preparations for the season ahead.
It may have been a treacherous night weather-wise, but Lowestoft's performance against a team who played their football in the Vanarama Conference last season far from matched that. On his first appearance at the Amber Dew Events Stadium, young striker Declan Daniels impressed; exhibiting neat footwork and the audacity to take on his man.
Daniels' first major involvement wowed the crowd as he weaved the ball past three Braintree defenders, only for last ditch defending to prevent an early goal. Lowestoft did dominate proceedings for much of the first half, however, their opponents defence held strong to prevent any real scoring opportunities. Rossi Jarvis's shot flew over the bar, after the ball had fallen to him on the edge of the area, while Harvey Hodd's low strike forced goalkeeper Sam Souter to push it out for a corner.
The second half continued in a similar manner, but Hodd, playing in a more central position with Daniels, had perhaps the best chance of the game; his exquisite shot well palmed past the post by Braintree's replacement goalkeeper Harry Aldridge. The Trawlerboys continued to apply pressure and Daniels should have done better with a header after a ball from the right-hand side by Zielonka found him free in the box. And if the deadlock had been broken by Travis Cole's overhead kick then the crowd would have gone wild, the former Ipswich man now wearing number 23 after having his original shirt torn by a Braintree player.
For the last twenty minutes, the game became more of a physical test as rain poured down and it seemed to kill Lowestoft's attacking momentum. Braintree's Alfie Cervulli's attempt on goal was deflected just over the bar and Ethan Evison struck just off the mark from outside the box to close out the match. Nevertheless, it was promising to see the Trawlerboys produce such a dominant performance against a better side on paper and pick up a second pre-season clean sheet in comfortable fashion.