AFC Fylde 1 Lowestoft Town 0
Blues suffer heartbreak after putting in a hard working performance that deserved a draw but ended with AFC Fylde winning 1-0 deep in stoppage time.
AFC Fylde: Hinchliffe, Caspar Hughes, Sumner, Collins, Hannigan, Barnes, Charles, Finley (Lloyd 54 mins), Rowe (Baker 68 mins), Wilson, St Juste (Matty Hughes 54 mins)
Subs not used; Urwin, Blinkhorn
Lowestoft Town: Garnham, Barker (Bammant 83 mins), Ainsley, Rossi Jarvis, Eagle, Okay, Fisk, Ryan Jarvis (Mason 72 mins), Crow, Henderson, Reed (Woods-Garness 70 mins)
Subs not used; Marsden, Gleeson
Lowestoft Town arrived after a 300 mile trip and were forced into two changes with Smith injured and Jessup unavailable due to work commitments; increasing the strain on the Trawlerboys defensive woes. In came Garnham to get his chance in goal, while winger, Eagle was named as left-back.
Lowestoft Town set up in their 4-2-3-1 double pivot formation and AFC Fylde started in a 5-2-3 formation that had the ability to quickly switch shape.
Having had lots of rain in the build up to the game, the pitch was in great shape as the match got underway with the hosts in all white and the visitors in all blue.
Eagle not only had the role of filling in at left-back but the unenviable task of being up against young starlet, Dion Charles who had scored three in three.
It was a pretty uneventful opening to the game with both sides looking untidy in possession and the game struggling to take shape.
It wasn't until the nineteenth minute that the first chance came and it was for the hosts, as a rasping effort by Rowe from twenty-five yards out forced Garnham into a strong diving save to put it behind.
Minutes later Garnham was forced into action again, this time making a brilliant flying save to pluck a Charles effort away from finding the top corner.
It was two good efforts in quick succession for the host but it was then the turn of the blues. A Crow pass released Reed and with him touching the ball to his right to shake off the defender, he got his shot away but the keeper, Hinchliffe was down well to his right to save for a corner.
The game was slowly starting to improve as the half hour mark arrived but Lowestoft were being left frustrated by the referees decisions up to this point being heavily weighted towards the hosts.
Fisk was breaking up the play and covering the middle well as an improved spell by Lowestoft saw Henderson touch it to Crow from an Eagle throw but with him getting under his effort it was high and sailed out of the ground.
Both Rossi Jarvis and Ainsley had restricted Fylde to long range efforts and with St Juste cutting in off the left, they both threw themselves in to block his attempt and ensure the Lowestoft area remained unbreached.
It had been an even half but the hosts were carrying more edge to their play than Lowestoft in the final third and ended the half strongly with a St Jude corner being headed wide of the target by Rowe.
The second half saw a solid start by Lowestoft with Henderson at the heart of it and with just under ten minutes of the second period gone, Fylde made a double change with Lloyd and Matty Hughes coming on for Finley and St Jude.
Finley was straight into his stride and after getting the better of Barker, his whipped ball across the box had to be claimed by Garnham. However, Lowestoft were showing a fantastic work rate and nearly opened up their opponents defence when Ryan Jarvis picked out his brother in an advanced position but with him heading towards the area at pace, across came centre-back Collins to cut the danger out well.
For all their effort though, Lowestoft were looking like they needed some freshness up top with Reed having little joy and Crow finding it hard to have a major influence on the game. Defensively though, Lowestoft looked sound and at least assured of a point with both Rossi Jarvis and Ainsley winning most things on the deck and in the air to restrict their opponents to long distance efforts.
Fylde made their third and final change when Baker replaced Rowe and yet again the host were restricted to shooting from long range as a swerving low shot by Wilson was saved well by Garnham, despite it moving in flight.
Lowestoft made their first change with twenty minutes remaining, as a now tired looking Reed was replaced by Woods-Garness. This was followed by another change as Mason replaced Ryan Jarvis but not before a glancing header across the Lowestoft goal went past the foot of the post by Wilson.
A long range header was flicked over by Caspar Hughes for the hosts but Lowestoft were still fighting and Henderson was showing no signs of running out of gas as he started to try and make inroads.
The final fifteen minutes arrived and with Lowestoft working hard and carrying the fight to their opponents, frustration started to creep into Fylde in the shape of a number of arguments between their own players.
Ten minutes remained and with Henderson, Mason and Woods-Garness manufacturing some play in the final third, hopes of a point looked like it could turn into three.
A knock for Barker saw him replaced by Bammant, resulting in Mason having to drop back into a Lowestoft defence that was mainly made up of midfielders and who against all the odds were performing well.
The home crowd bayed for a penalty when Fisk and Baker decided to try and swap shirts before the end of the match but the referee was having none of it and waved the appeals away. The incident saw Lowestoft momentarily switch off, as shortly afterwards a well delivered ball from the right saw a Barnes header go past the foot of the post.
As the game entered its final stages, space was starting to open up and with Bammant touching a nice ball to Crow, he let it bounce before sending a swerving effort just past the upright.
Lowestoft could now smell all three points and with Crow getting in on goal off the shoulder of Hannigan, a glorious chance presented itself to take them. It appeared as though he'd dinked the ball over the advancing keeper to perfection but planned celebrations turned to anguish as the ball wouldn't come down quick enough and shaved the top of the goal.
Three minutes of stoppage time were indicated but Lowestoft were not done, as Henderson broke in on goal with just the keeper to beat but his effort needed to be better as it went straight at the keeper.
Stoppage time was now up but with the referee still allowing play to continue, a foul by Okay in a dangerous position saw him booked and allowed the hosts a free-kick in the 95th minute. The free-kick was flighted into the area by Baker and with Garnham advancing, Wilson had timed his jump to perfection to steer a great header home to break Lowestoft hearts and claim a 1-0 win for his side with practically the last kick of the game.
It was a cruel, cruel finish to the match in which a draw would have been a fair reflection of a game that saw both sides create limited chances. What made it even harder to swallow for Lowestoft though was the referee, who had already frustrated them in the first half before indicating three minutes of stoppage time at the end of the match but decided to extend this by a further two minutes despite nothing warranting the extra two minutes.
Lowestoft picked themselves up from Tuesday's disappointment of not getting what they deserved and I'm sure they will do the same again. As six points isn't a fair reflection on how they've performed in their first five games.
There were, however positives to take from the game again with a workhorse performance from Fisk in the first half and an energetic effort by Henderson in the second.
There were three performances that stood out though and all three were worthy of the Man of the Match honours. Garnham took his chance in goal well by putting in a commanding performance and pulling off a handful of saves to deny the hosts from distance. While just in front of him it was Ainsley and Rossi Jarvis who were winning most things on the deck and in the air in order to help in restricting the hosts best chances to long range ones. A tough call but after being asked to fill in at the back again for his team, Rossi Jarvis really stood up to the mark to take my Man of the Match honours.
Man of the Match - Rossi Jarvis
After starting the season with games every Saturday and Tuesday, Lowestoft will now enjoy a week off until their in action next in Saturday at home to Corby Town.