Lowestoft Town 3 Bradford Park Avenue 2
Lowestoft Town battle to a great 3-2 home win over Bradford Park Avenue with four of the goals coming at the start of the second half.
Lowestoft Town: Jones, Hayles, Gaughran, Haynes-Brown, Smith, Ainsley (Okay 80 mins), Fisk, Jarvis, Eagle, Henderson, Bammant (Louis 86 mins)
Subs not used; Radomski, Woods-Garness, Jessup
Bradford Park Avenue: Willis, Black, Benton (Colbeck 69 mins), Price (Marshall 69 mins), Qualter, Priestley, Rea (Barraclough 46 mins), Hotte, Chilaka, Walker, Kerr
Subs not used; Howarth, Frost
Lowestoft went into the match making a few changes from Tuesday night as Louis dropped to the bench and both Ainsley and Fisk returned to the starting line up. This meant a change in dynamic up top as Henderson paired up with Bammant and Ainsley took up position on the right of midfield. There was also a great sight to be seen on the bench with Woods-Garness being named amongst the substitutes after a lengthy period out recovering from knee surgery.
For Bradford Park Avenue they had Willis in goal, who had just been brought in on loan from Sheffield United.
The match got off to a great flowing start and with the sun shining down on the Crown Meadow it looked as if the supporters were in for another good game again, with all games having impressed from a footballing sense so far.
An early corner from Eagle reached Gaughran at the far post and with it only being cleared as far as Jarvis, the midfielder hit a volley that the keeper was well placed to pluck from under the bar.
Lowestoft looked good early doors and on fourteen minutes they took the lead in somewhat bizarre fashion. A long Lowestoft ball approached the Bradford area and with the keeper Willis coming out to kick, he only managed to slam the ball into a mixture of defender and Henderson with the ball going straight back past him and into the net, as Henderson claimed the goal and Lowestoft went 1-0 in front ( 14 mins).
Lowestoft were looking rather comfortable with Henderson already sniffing out gaps and Smith getting forward on a number of occasions from left back to support and link up with Eagle down the wing. A great chance for the blues to double their lead came when a ball drifted between two Bradford players to find Ainsley in on goal but with him unable to get enough on the effort, the keeper turned it behind. The resulting corner was taken and flashed across the goalmouth by Ainsley, as Lowestoft looked clearly on top with twenty minutes gone.
At the other end there had been very little from Bradford but out of all the Bradford players it was their current leading scorer Chilaka that looked the threat and with Jones rooted to his spot, Chilaka sent a bending effort from distance onto the Lowestoft crossbar.
Lowestoft were looking good though and the change in dynamic up front was working well with the strength and aerial prowess of Bamnant being complimented by Henderson with his quick and skilful play to get into the right areas and expose the spaces well.
Thirty minutes had passed and with the exception of a couple of sniffs at goal, Bradford had struggled to make any real impression on the game and Lowestoft looked comfortable but were after a second goal to cement their advantage.
A block tackle in the box by Qualter shut out a Bammant effort after the striker and Eagle at combined well to carve out an opportunity. At the other end is was Chilaka being the main threat again for the away team, this time getting the better of Smith in the corner to pull the ball back to Kerr but with the ball getting tangled under the feet of Kerr, the chance went begging for Bradford.
Five minutes of the half remained and it had been an easy half for the officials with not a bad tackle in sight. So with Bammant producing a foul and going into the book, he was right to feel a little hard done by. Bammant had put in another impressive showing up front and on the stroke of half time the powerful forward sent a cross in from out on the right but with Henderson back peddling he wasn't able to get enough on his header to test the keeper, as Lowestoft headed into the break leading.
Bradford Park Avenue made their first change during the interval as Barraclough replaced Rea and the away side came out throwing numbers forward to try and quickly get back on level terms.
Jones had to punch away a dangerous corner as Bradford pressed and with just six second half minutes on the board, the scores were level. The newly introduced Barraclough shifted his body shape well to open up a sight at goal on the edge of the area and with him leaving Jones rooted to the spot, the ball nestled into the inside of the net at the far post for 1-1 (51 mins).
Two more minutes then passed before Bradford turned the game on its head, with a ball being shifted to Qualter and from thirty yards out he hit an unstoppable effort that gave Jones no chance and flew into the net to turn the score around and send Bradford 2-1 in front (53 mins).
Lowestoft to their credit cleared their heads and hit straight back, as a sensational start to the second half saw another goal with Ainsley delivering from the right for Lowestoft and following a couple of blocked efforts at goal from Jarvis, Fisk was on hand to follow up and put his foot through the ball to slam it home for 2-2 (54 mins).
Lowestoft had now shifted their formation to a 4-5-1 with Henderson going out on the left and Eagle moving into a central position with Jarvis and Fisk. The astonishing goal scoring start to the half was not over though, as with just under fifteen minutes of the second half gone the fourth goal of the second period arrived and it was the lead for the blues. It was without doubt the best worked goal of the match with some great interconnecting passing and quick football inside the box from Lowestoft, involving a number of players and ending with Eagle sliding it into the path of Henderson to stroke the ball home for 3-2 (59 mins).
Lowestoft had now upped their game and were buoyed after restoring their lead and with twenty minutes of the second half gone, Bradford made their two final changes with Colbeck and Marshall replacing Benton and Price.
Bradford were now struggling to deal with Lowestoft though and were giving away a number of free-kicks in their own half from which Lowestoft were able to maintain the pressure and possession.
Bammant and Henderson had really excelled as a partnership up top and had given the Bradford defence a good workout but to their credit and with fifteen minutes remaining, Bradford were trying and were starting to work the ball about well, in and around the Lowestoft area. As a result Lowestoft were now having to sit in and defend their lead, but defending is exactly what they did and they were doing it well with Haynes-Brown in particular winning everything he was going for.
A brief respite saw Ainsley roll a ball into the path of Eagle at the other end but even though he kept his effort low, the keeper saved his side footed attempt with ease.
Back up the other end Bradford continued to give it their all and with Chilaka doing well down the left to get the better of a closely marking Henderson, he whipped the ball across the deck to Barraclough but he could only slide in and steer the ball the wrong side of the post for Bradford.
Ten minutes now remained as Lowestoft looked to tighten it up even further with Okay replacing Ainsley and no doubt under the clear instructions to hassle the opposition and break the play up.
An Eagle booking followed for Lowestoft as they continued to have to defend their lead against a Bradford side who were simply not going to let the game end without a fight and a possible point.
Louis replaced Bammant and then Gaughran had to charge down an effort from Kerr as the minutes ticked away and five minutes of stoppage time were indicated.
The five minutes seemed to last an age with the stand ringing out the cries of 'Come on your Blues' to see their team over the line and with the whistle finally going to the referees lips, it was a great and well battled three points for Lowestoft.
It's been said since the start of the season that if the team can make the Crown Meadow a hard place to come, while picking up the odd points on the road, then the team will hold their own. That certainly appears to be the case at present with three home wins and two draws seeing the Trawlerboys unbeaten so far at the Crown Meadow.
There were performances all over the pitch again for the blues in a solid team performance with the likes of Smith, Bammant, Henderson and Haynes-Brown all standing out. In particular it was the performances of Henderson and Haynes-Brown that reflected the game perfectly. Henderson was really on his game and not only struck up a good partnership with Bammant but was also involved in nearly everything that came from Lowestoft in an attacking sense. Then there was Haynes-Brown who in the second half in particular played a major part in Lowestoft having to defend through a number of spells of possession from Bradford. He was simply outstanding in the air when defending and certainly looks at his best in a central defensive position. So it was a close one when it comes to Man of the Match and in the end it came down to two but for his excellent defending in the second period, which was crucial in Lowestoft taking the win, my Man of the Match is Curtis Haynes-Brown.
Lowestoft Town are next in action on Saturday when they travel to bottom club Hyde, who have just two points from their nine games after today.
A great three points today lads!!