Lowestoft Town 0 Nuneaton Town 1
Lowestoft Town deserve something from the game after a good performance against a decent Nuneaton Town side but go down to a narrow 1-0 home defeat.
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Platinum Match Sponsors – Custom Kitchens
Silver Match Sponsors – Paul Hubbard Estate Agents
Lowestoft Town: Jessup, Barker, Ainsley, Rossi Jarvis, Smith (Woods-Garness 87 mins), Okay (Eagle 75 mins), Fisk, Ryan Jarvis, Crow, Henderson, Reed
Subs not used; Bammant, Mason, Garnham
Nuneaton Town: Jordan Smith, Clifton, Reid (Cieron Keane 79 mins), Jordan Keane, Maguire, Lane, Morgan, Chettle, Harewood (Duffy 79 mins), Byrne, Williams
Subs not used; Dyer, Ryan Smith, Canavan
With rain having fell non-stop in Lowestoft since late last night, the game could have easily been in doubt but some great work by groundsman David Page ensured that the match went ahead.
The strong and experienced Marlon Harewood lined up in attack for Nuneaton Town. While for Lowestoft they were forced into one change with the injured Mitchell (groin) being replaced by the returning Fisk. This meant that the already patched up blues defence saw Rossi Jarvis and Ainsley as the pairing in central defence.
The match got underway with Lowestoft Town in blue and Nuneaton Town in red and black cheques.
The opening fifteen minutes saw Lowestoft put some good pressure on the ball when the visitors were in possession. This was allowing the blues to take the upper hand early on and get attacking and dangerous players like Henderson involved right from the off.
The signs were looking good as a ball from Crow found Reed but a good tussle between him and Jordan Keane saw the Nuneaton defender eventually muscle Reed off the ball in a dangerous area.
An early lead looked like coming for Lowestoft when from inside his own half, Ryan Jarvis won the ball and burst forward into the Nuneaton half, before touching a well weighted ball into the path of Reed on his left but the strikers well hit effort from the angle was equalled as the keeper got down with a strong hand to save.
It had been a very positive opening for the home side with Henderson seeing plenty of the ball and bringing others into play; which included left-back, Smith as the blues focused their play down the left side of the pitch.
Right-back, Clifton looked set for a busy night against the sharp looking Henderson and with him fouling the tricky winger and going into the book, he was going to need to be careful for the remainder of the match.
For Nuneaton it was Byrne who was trying to replicate Henderson's start by covering lots of ground and trying to be the main influence for his side. However, it was Lowestoft who were on top and who were restricting the unbeaten visitors to very little possession in the Lowestoft half.
Just before the half hour mark a brief sight of goal for Nuneaton saw Harewood snatch at a shot and send it crashing into the advertising hoardings to the side of the goal. It was an effort that briefly raised the spirits of the visitors, who then enjoyed their best spell of the game but the Lowestoft defence were looking solid, as Harewood and co found it difficult to make any telling inroads.
It wasn't long before Lowestoft hit back and with a Smith corner ricocheting around in the box, Henderson latched onto the ball with a fiercely struck half-volley that had goal written all over it but agonisingly flashed inches past the post.
Henderson was certainly proving to be the main focal point in the attacking third for Lowestoft and with him driving into the left corner, he sent a searching ball into the box that Ryan Jarvis headed into the ground and past the post, as the keeper anxiously watched it behind.
As the end of the half approached it was the blues who were continuing to put in a very solid performance and even when the visitors were getting into the final third, the Lowestoft defence were looking solid and were being aided by a midfield who were covering back well when needed.
The second half very nearly saw the visitors open the scoring in a matter of seconds. As a big, booming ball from the back beat the rising Rossi Jarvis and with Williams getting in off his shoulder as a result, Nuneaton looked like taking the lead but the in-form Jessup was at hand to make a splendid save to keep Williams and Nuneaton out.
The visitors were showing why they've won all three of their opening games and were now coming forward with much more drive to their play and the lively Byrne having an effect on proceedings.
Lowestoft were being forced a little more deeper as a result of the visitors second half showing and this was restricting their influence on the game. However, the blues were still showing plenty of fight and determination as a brilliant challenge by Crow saw him win the ball off Chettle and send a shot in from distance that forced the keeper to get across in order to claim.
It had been much better by the visitors and just as Lowestoft looked like they were slowly wrestling back a share of the game; Nuneaton broke the deadlock. A good piece of play saw the ball sent out to the right wing and with a teasing ball being sent right across the goalmouth by Clifton, a number of shirts went in but it was Williams who got on the end to bundle the ball home for 1-0 (59 mins).
The goal injected a certain level of comfort into the visitors play, who were now pushing Lowestoft deeper and restricting the outlet to Henderson, who was being kept a lot quieter this half.
Lowestoft never give up though and with the game still proving to be a pretty even affair overall, the blues were still at the races with just one goal separating the sides.
The single goal advantage came close to being levelled up by Lowestoft when a deep cross to the far post by Barker was met by Henderson but it wouldn't go the right side of the post, as an unfortunate Lowestoft kept plucking away.
Fifteen minutes now remained and Lowestoft were certainly not being found wanting when it came to the effort that was being put in. A change for the blues saw Eagle replace Okay and as the final ten minutes approached the visitors introduced some fresh legs with both Cieron Keane and Duffy replacing Reid and Harewood, who for most of the night had been defended against well by Rossi Jarvis and Ainsley.
A great ball into the middle by Ryan Jarvis picked out a level with play Reed but as he brought it down to get a shot away the linesman flagged for offside, much to the dismay of the unimpressed home crowd.
Reed and Lowestoft continued to push for what would have been a deserving equaliser, as the striker spun off an opposing shirt and headed towards goal but his shot was pulled just past the post.
Woods-Garness replaced Smith as Lowestoft made one final throw of the dice but it was the Nuneaton defence who were looking very strong, as they effectively saw out the ninety minutes and stoppage time to claim the points and make it four wins from four played.
It was a game in which Lowestoft deserved something from the match, with them putting in a very good first half and not wilting despite an improved and well controlled second half by Nuneaton in a fairly even game overall. It wasn't to be though but the blues will take plenty of positives from the game having come up against a very good side who look like they will be right in the mix all season.
Rossi Jarvis and Ainsley played their parts in a patched up defence, by defending admirably against a big forward line and keeping the strong Harewood quiet for large parts of the game. Jessup also put in another mature performance in goal to support the backline; could this be his season?
Smith and Henderson combined really well in the first half and even though he was much more restricted in the second half, Henderson showed a great level of sharpness and danger to his play when seeking out space in front of the visiting defence to probe and cause danger. He looked very sharp on Saturday and followed it up tonight with a performance that was much more like the player we missed last season. My Man of the Match is Chris Henderson.
Man of the Match - Chris Henderson
The early season games continue to come thick and fast and on Saturday the blues are on the road again in their longest away trip of the season at AFC Fylde. A mere 600 mile round trip!
Places are still available on the away coach for the trip to AFC Fylde on Saturday (departure time 6am) and can be booked by contacting me on 07879496895.