Lowestoft Town 1 AFC Fylde 0
A superb and resilient second half defensive performance sees Lowestoft Town hang on for a 1-0 win against a good passing AFC Fylde side.
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Lowestoft Town: Jones, Ainsley, Hayles, Gaughran, Haynes-Brown, Henderson (Okay 86 mins), Fisk, Jarvis, Eagle, Bammant, Louis (Gleeson 64 mins)
Subs not used; Smith, Clunan, Marsden
AFC Fylde: Hinchliffe, Denson (Hughes 54 mins), Sumner, Langley, Hannigan, Barnes, Booth (Lloyd-McGoldrick 74 mins), Potts, Rowe, Barnes, Allen
Subs not used; Tomsett, Noon, Charles
Possibly due to Norwich City being at home in their first game of the season, a slightly disappointing crowd of 610 were in attendance but they could certainly be heard as they got right behind the blues from start to finish.
The match was preceded by a minutes applause to mark the very sad passing of our Social Club Bar Manager Carol Rice last week, after losing a short battle with cancer.
Preparations for the match were not ideal, with the Lowestoft Town Groundsman David Page having to put in extra hard work following a breakdown in machinery and having to call upon the council to provide an unideal cutting of the pitch.
AFC Flyde had travelled down on Friday and arrived to the game fresh, while Lowestoft made one change from Tuesday as Gleeson replaced the unavailable Jessup on the bench.
As both sides appeared the chants of "Come on you blues" and " Hendo, Hendo" rang out from the stand.
The match got underway with both sides looking to attack early on, as Lowestoft found Bammant on a couple of occasions from deep and Fylde focused their efforts down the right through Barnes.
As the first fifteen minutes passed, the marking by Lowestoft had been tight and they were regularly hassling Fylde on the ball, to stop the away side having any sort of time in possession.
Bammant was continuing from where he'd left off in the first two games, by putting himself about and as a result Hannigan went straight into the referees book after going right through the back of the hard working forward. From the free-kick Gaughran snuck in well at the back post but as he connected with the ball, the offside flag went up.
Much like Solihull Moors, Fylde had come to play football and as a result it had been a fairly good opening to the match. The bookings levelled up with Henderson catching Sumner out on the left but with Booth stupidly getting involved after the foul and shoving Henderson to the ground, Booth was also booked on the twenty minute mark.
As the half went on Fylde started to edge it and were now seeing an increase in possession but as the result ended up proving, it's goals that win games and even though it was slightly against the run of play up to this point, a goal is what Lowestoft got. A long throw by Haynes-Brown found Jarvis on the edge of the box, who then found Louis turning in the area but with the chance looking like it had gone, the ball fortunately broke for Lowestoft and right into the path of Bammant, who from a few yards out slotted it home for his second of the season and to give Lowestoft a 1-0 lead (27 mins).
Fylde then had a great chance to draw level as a skewed clearance in the Lowestoft area dropped for a tightly marked Allen but his effort was wild as he lashed it off target.
As the break approached the game started to open up with both sides getting into the final third and a deflected effort by Fylde flying over the Lowestoft bar.
Barnes was still proving to be the main outlet and threat for Fylde down the right wing and his battle with Lowestoft left-back Haynes-Brown was proving to be an intriguing battle of the first half.
Lowestoft were in front though and had taken their chance as the half time whistle sounded and even though the game hadn't been as eye-catching as Tuesday, it was still proving to be a good watch for both sets of supporters.
The second half started with some lovely football by Lowestoft, as the away keeper, Hinchliffe had to get the finest of touches to send over a rasping effort from distance by Eagle.
Eagle and Lowestoft had come out firmly on the front foot and with the mercurial winger showing great determination to win a free kick, Lowestoft went in search of doubling their lead.
Fylde were not here to lay down though and with a volley by Rowe being deflected behind and a change being made by the away side to introduce Hughes for Denson, Fylde started to up their game and tempo. Potts was now showing good vision in the middle of the pitch and their passing and movement was seeing Fylde push Lowestoft back but Gaughran was marshalling his troops well in defence and it was proving to be a real battle of wills.
Fylde had certainly upped their game and were right back in it but with sixty minutes gone the Lowestoft players were working equally as hard for each other and making it difficult for Fylde to break them down. An excellent move that included a number of quality passes, appeared to have finally opened up the Lowestoft defence but with a great level of awareness, Hayles was covering well and came across to clear superbly for Lowestoft.
Louis looked to be struggling just after the sixty minute mark and with him holding his groan he was replaced by Gleeson, who moved into central defence with Hayles going right back, Ainsley to right midfield and Henderson now joining Bammant up top.
The game was finely balanced with Fylde on the offensive, showing some slick passing and Lowestoft defending staunchly right across the back.
An offside flagged went up as Allen get on the end of one close in but even then Jones made an incredible point-blank reaction save to put it over, even if it hadn't of been offside.
Following another spell of good passing, Allen was found just inside the area but not for the first time he lashed at it wildly for his side and missed the target.
Lowestoft were now being pushed deeper and deeper into their own half by some very good passing and movement by the away side, as the stands vocally tried to lift the blues.
The onslaught continued as Lloyd-McGoldrick replace Booth in the Flyde line-up but Lowestoft continued to hold out.
The final ten minutes arrived and it was marked with Rowe holding off the tightly marking Lowestoft defence superbly to spin and get a shot away but his effort was right down the throat of Jones.
To be fair Fylde were worthy of a goal but you could also argue that the defensive effort and display being put in by Lowestoft was also worthy of not conceding.
As the minutes dropped away Lowestoft replaced the yet again hard working Henderson with Okay, as Fylde started to force corners and were giving it everything.
Four minutes of stoppage time were shown and Lowestoft continued to puff their chests out and work hard to hold off an unrelenting Fylde side at the death.
The final whistle eventually arrived though and Lowestoft had secured a very hard fought three points to make it two wins and a draw from their opening three matches. This game could well end up being looked back upon in the coming months as being a very important 'roll your sleeves up' performance by Lowestoft.
In the face of a great effort by Fylde in the second half, every Lowestoft player dug in and worked for each other in a resolute performance by the blues and with the home crowd yet again superbly getting behind their team vocally, it was a great result. The away side will no doubt go away disappointed but for all their possession in the second period, they only forced two real chances on the Lowestoft goal and one of those was offside.
There were busy performances by Henderson and Eagle again, while Bammant continues to show what a great signing he is, after being asked to jump up two levels in double quick time since joining from Dereham.
It was the Lowestoft defence that deserved all the plaudits though from right back, to the central pairing and across to Haynes-Brown, who had a great battle all afternoon with Barnes.
Hayles and Gaughran were pretty much neck and neck when it comes to naming a Man of the Match but with him commanding and leading his defence from the front, my Man of the Match is Sam Gaughran.
Lowestoft Town face an Ipswich Town U21's side in a friendly on Tuesday night at the Crown Meadow and return to competitive action on Saturday, when they travel to Gainsborough Trinity.