Lowestoft Town 0 Guiseley 0
In a game that saw both defences on top throughout; Lowestoft Town and Guiseley battle out a goalless draw at Crown Meadow.
Our Main Sponsors - Smith Bros Timber
Match Sponsors - ABP (Associated British Ports) with guests from Warren School
Mascot - William Catchpole
Lowestoft Town: Jones, Ainsley, Sowunmi, Gaughran, Adam Smith, Fisk, Henderson (Woods-Garness 79 mins), Okay (Lee Smith 75 mins), Jarvis, Bammant, Reed
Subs not used; Mason, Marsden, Jessup
Guiseley: Drench, Toulson, Lowe, Holdsworth, Ellis, Lawlor, Stockdill (Hendrie 83 mins), Danny Boshell, Boyes, Nicky Boshell, Alex Johnson (Oli Johnson 64 mins)
Subs not used; Porritt, Harrison, Dickinson
Like most sides that have visited the Crown Meadow this season; Guiseley had the luxury of travelling down over night for their only really long distance game of the season. A luxury that Lowestoft ideally would like to do for most away games but unfortunately can't.
As far as team news; Lowestoft Town had brought in Henderson and Bammant for Lee Smith and Mason. While Eagle, Crow and Haynes-Brown were still missing through injury and Radomski had been left out of the squad. Sowunmi was yet again named in defence with his current loan move from Ipswich Town not coming to an end until after the Bank Holiday game at Leamington.
For Guiseley, they named danger man Oli Johnson on the bench after he had returned as a goal scoring substitute last Saturday, following a seven week injury lay off.
Our Match Sponsors for the game were ABP (Associated British Ports) and they had invited children and parents from the Warren School as their guests. The children enjoyed pre-match food and refreshments, before coming out with the team and taking a great round of applause from the crowd.
This was then followed by a minutes silence to mark three sad passing's; Roy Jenner (played for the blues from 1958 to 1960), Keith Rudd (made 77 appearances and scored 23 goals for blues) and John Knights (a loyal supporter who passed away suddenly on 14th March).
The match eventually got underway and as in previous home games, there was a stern wind sweeping across the Crown Meadow. Lowestoft were in a 4-1-4-1 formation with Fisk in front of defence and the wind behind them. While Guiseley were lining up in a very attacking 4-2-1-3 formation.
The game opened with early efforts for both sides as away keeper, Drench spilled an Ainsley effort but nobody was there to follow up for the blues. While at the other end, Alex Johnson did well to find space in the Lowestoft box but was denied by an excellent save from Jones to turn the ball over.
The formations of both sides was leading to a fair amount of space in midfield, with both Lowestoft and Guiseley able to play the ball around and impose themselves on each other's defences in a high tempo match.
As in previous weeks, the formation for Lowestoft was allowing Jarvis to get forward in a role that really seems to be bringing the best out of the midfielder. This was highlighted when a ball over the top by Ainsley found a forward lurking Jarvis but with the ball getting stuck under his feet, he was unable to get a decent effort away at goal.
As the half progressed it was a pretty tight affair and even though Bammant was admirably winning headers in both halves of the pitch for Lowestoft, both sides were coping with each other and defences were firmly on top, with the blues defence also being aided by a deep-lying and heal snarling Fisk. This is how it remained until just before the break, when a number of Adam Smith dead-ball deliveries gave the Guiseley defence something to think about but both the keeper and centre-back, Ellis were fairing well against them and no openings appeared for the blues as both sides left the pitch with the match goalless at the break.
The second half got underway with the visitors now having the wind behind them but it was Lowestoft who came very close to breaking the deadlock early on. A poor back pass by Toulson at right back, saw Reed latch onto it like a predator but with him taking the ball round the keeper with his first touch, the angle was all too tight and he lashed his effort into the hoardings.
It was all looking rather tight again but on the fifteen minute mark the game opened up a little with the blues putting some good football together at one end and Danny Boshell testing Jones from twenty yards at the other end with a fierce effort that the keeper had to do well to get behind.
As has become accustom with Reed, he was yet again getting in and amongst the visiting sides defence for the blues but as had been the case for the match so far, solid defending was becoming the order of the day.
In the reverse fixture and prior to his injury seven week ago, former Norwich City man, Oli Johnson has been a top class player for Guiseley this season and just after the hour mark the Lions introduced their danger man to try and change the game for them. The change resulted in Guiseley starting to move the ball around at a high tempo in front of the Lowestoft area. However, even with his introduction both defences maintained the upper hand and as the final fifteen minutes arrived it looked as if it was going to take a mistake or something special to separate the two sides.
Lowestoft introduced Lee Smith for the hard-working and solid looking Okay, as they looked towards fresh legs as possibly being the key to grabbing all three points. This change was shortly followed by the introduction of Woods-Garness for Henderson but with ten minutes remaining it was the visitors who were now getting bodies forward to look for the win.
The Lowestoft defence, however were maintaining their shape and solidity and not even Oli Johnson could do anything about it, as he found Lowe but the left backs effort was charged down by Ainsley.
The visitors introduced Hendrie to the match in place of Stockdill with just over five minutes remaining and as the clock started to count down a questionable free-kick for the visitors presented them with an opportunity from a dangerous position. On the sound of the referees whistle it was Holdsworth who let rip with a hard hitting free-kick that looked to be heading on target but deflected off the back of a Lowestoft shirt in the wall for a corner, eventually leading to nothing.
It was a moment that ended up being the last talking point of the game, as three minutes stoppage time was indicated and played out before the final whistle brought the goalless match to an end.
The blues would have taking a point before the game against a very good side and were much the happier of the two sides at the final whistle, with them moving ever closer to safety but knowing that there is still work to do. While for Guiseley a point from a long distance away game was no disaster but wins for Tamworth and Boston United has meant that the race for the play-off places is tighter than ever.
It had been a tight game throughout but credit has to go to the blues in restricting a very good third placed team to very little in the way of a threat. The back four defended admirably and Adam Smith in particular added to his own performance with another consistent set of high quality deliveries from dead ball situations. In goal, Jones showed great positioning throughout and took the sting out of a couple of long range efforts to play his part in a welcomed clean sheet. While the midfield trio of Jarvis, Okay and Fisk all performed well in various guises. However, it was the later of those three who put in a snarling performance that not only aided in protecting the back four but also ensured the opposition found it difficult to carve out many chances. On top of this he did it all without going into the referees book and didn't have to compromise his bullish midfield persona and qualities in order to avoid that. He's one of Lowestoft's longest standing players and continues to step up with the club at every level without faltering. My Man of the Match is Andrew Fisk.
Lowestoft Town are next in action on Saturday, when they make the very long trek to play Harrogate in the hope of adding more points to their tally.
Everyone at Lowestoft Town Football Club would like to thank ABP for their sponsorship today and their very kind gesture in covering the cost for all of their guests (Warren School) to have a brand new replica home kit, as well as enjoying a pre-match lunch in the clubhouse.
Warren School is Lowestoft's only special school which provides education for children and young people with severe and complex learning difficulties. So the delight in the children's faces throughout the day and when taking to the pitch with the team was fantastic. Thank you!