Lowestoft Town 1 North Ferriby United 2
Lowestoft Town struggle to make many inroads against a comfortable looking North Ferriby United, who ease past the blues with a 2-1 win.
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Lowestoft Town: Jessup, Ainsley, Hayles, Gleeson, Haynes-Brown, Eagle (Radomski 65 mins), Jarvis, Fisk, Adam Smith, Reed (Louis 80 mins), Bammant (Woods-Garness 46 mins)
Subs not used; Zielonka, Marsden
North Ferriby United: Nicklin, Blace, Wilde, King, Gray (Anderson 39 mins), Wilson, Bolder (Fry 87 mins), D'Laryea, Denton (Yates 86 mins), Jarman, St. Juste
Subs not used; Peat, Nicholson
Both sides came into the game struggling with injuries, with North Ferriby United having players sidelined after their midweek draw and Lowestoft still seeing a number of their players on the physio table. Gaughran was missing for the blues as he served his suspension for his sending off at Guiseley and this resulted in Hayles partnering Gleeson in defence. While Eagle came into the Lowestoft side for a start after impressing last week against Tamworth and Jessup took over the goalkeeping jersey from the injured Jones (hamstring), as the blues faced up against a North Ferriby side unbeaten in their last six.
The match got underway on another wet day at the Crown Meadow with the heavy pitch certain to prove testing for both sides. The one thing that was immediately visible though, through the drizzling rain was the well over six foot, leading scorer Denton up front for the visitors.
Apart from an in-swinging Eagle corner needing to be turned over the bar by North Ferriby keeper Nicklin, both sides were feeling each other out for the first ten minutes.
The visitors gradually started to impose themselves on the game as the fifteen minute mark approached and were picking up the loose balls, while taking grip of midfield to swing possession into their favour.
It hard been a somewhat nervous looking start in the Lowestoft goal by Jessup and with the blues keeper coming right out to the edge of the box, he got himself in a tangle and with him being adjudged to have pulled his opponent to the ground, North Ferriby had the chance of an early lead from the spot. Jarman was given the ball for the visitors and spotted it before calmly stroking it home and past Jessup for 1-0 (16 mins).
North Ferriby now appeared to have full control of the midfield and with King at the heart of everything for them in the middle, the blues were struggling to win possession.
Lowestoft did however cause a moment of panic in the North Ferriby defence and nearly levelled things up when a number of shots pinged around in the visitors area. This succession of strikes ended with a Haynes-Brown effort that hit a group of players to loop up and over the keeper, only for Lowestoft to be denied by a defensive clearance on the line.
At the other end Jessup was continuing to look unsteady, missing most of what he was coming for and even failing to connect with a number of punches at times. This was injecting more confidence into the visitors and with fifteen minutes of the half remaining it was only the solid defending of Gleeson, Hayles, Haynes-Brown and Ainsley that was keeping North Ferriby at bay. As St. Juste in particular looked full of pace and danger on the left for the visitors.
A brief attacking moment for the blues saw a great cross sent in from the left by Adam Smith, that Reed was just inches short of connecting with in the air.
Back up the other end and with two players from each side challenging for the ball in the air, the ball ended up dropping nicely into space for Denton but with the goal in front of him he wildly hit his shot high over the bar, when he should of at least tested Jessup in the Lowestoft goal.
Most of the play was now taking place in the Lowestoft half and with just under ten minutes of the half remaining, North Ferriby carved through midfield to double their lead. Lowestoft were simply pulled apart with some quick ball movement and with them being outnumbered at the back as a result; King found himself in plenty of space to put Bolder in on his right to easily slot past Jessup for 2-0 (36 mins).
As halftime started to approach, Lowestoft enjoyed a spell of possession in the visitors half and with Reed coming across to work a shot, his well struck effort on goal was equalled by a great stop from Nicklin in the North Ferriby goal. An injured Gray was replaced by Anderson for the visitors as the first change of the game was sandwiched between a number of Lowestoft corners, as the blues looked to find something to take into the break. The last of the blues corners flashed across the goal, leaving the deliverer Ainsley looking frustrated as to why a blue shirt didn't get on the end.
Frustration was certainly evident for Lowestoft as the half came to a close with the blues needing fresh ideas for the second half.
Bammant hadn't been able to make much of an impression first half, so the first roll of the dice for Lowestoft came during the break with Woods-Garness replacing Bammant for the second half.
The drizzling rain was making for a miserable afternoon and with fifteen minutes of the second half passing, the football on offer from both sides was starting to match it.
Much like the first half though, the well organised visitors slowly started to win over possession as the threatening St. Juste sent a teasing ball in from the left, which King managed to get something on, forcing Jessup to react well to make a good save close in.
Shortly after this a free-kick on the corner of the box for North Ferriby was smashed towards the far top corner but Jessup got something on it to deny Bolder, as the visitors looked at ease in their play.
Lowestoft needed to try and come up with some fresh ideas against a tough, well set up side as they made their second change of the game with Radomski replacing Eagle after sixty-five minutes.
The blues continued in struggling to get anything going with all inroads being met by a roadblock in the shape of the North Ferriby midfield and defence.
The frustration was clear to see for the blues and was captured in a tackle by Fisk that went right through the back of King and ended with the Lowestoft midfielder in the referees book.
Just over ten minutes remained and the three points were already looking safe for an untroubled North Ferriby, who nearly made it three when an Ainsley mistake allowed Denton to bear down on goal but Jessup made himself big to save well with his legs and deny the towering striker.
Lowestoft made their third and final change of the afternoon as Louis replaced Reed in attack and instantly started to use his strength to ruffle up the opposing defence.
Lowestoft were seemingly now having their best spell of the match and with Ainsley getting round the left back and sending a cross to the far post, North Ferriby were forced to defend the ball behind for a corner.
A double change by the visitors saw both Denton and Bolder replaced by Yates and Fry with just under five minutes of normal time remaining.
The five remaining minutes soon disappeared and with a further five minutes of stoppage time being shown, the visitors looked home and dry. However, their nerves were going to be put to the test in stoppage time with Louis spinning on the edge of the area for Lowestoft and sending one of his unstoppable and excellent trademark shots into the far top corner for 2-1 (90+ mins). The goal had given Lowestoft a sniff at stealing something from a game in which they arguably deserved nothing. However, for all their effort in the final few moments of injury time, the blues could find no more and North Ferriby secured a well deserved three points.
North Ferriby United were a well organised, tough side and were comfortable winners in truth, with the goal late on for Lowestoft flattering the blues a little.
Neither keeper had a great deal to do in fairness but the visitors always looked in control and with a two goal lead at halftime, there was no need for them to push or take risks in the second period.
Lowestoft lacked ideas and found it hard to compete in midfield and attack but defensively they restricted the visitors fairly well. Both Haynes-Brown and Gleeson had strong games but yet again it was Hayles who put in a very solid and controlled showing at the back to claim the Man of the Match honours.
Lowestoft Town now have a midweek break, before turning their focus to the FA Trophy and a long trip to Eastbourne Borough on Saturday.