Lowestoft Town 1 FC United of Manchester 4
Lowestoft Town afford a quick and attacking FC United of Manchester way too much time and space in a heavy 4-1 home defeat.
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Mascot – Jacob Eagle
Lowestoft Town: Garnham, Barker (Marsden 57 mins), Ainsley, Nunn, Eagle, Okay, Rossi Jarvis, Woods-Garness (Bammant 57 mins), Ryan Jarvis, Henderson (Mason 70 mins), Reed
Subs not used; Gleeson, Jessup
FC United of Manchester: Carnell, Brownhill, Daniels (Wolfenden 58 mins), Stott, Bayunu, Ashworth, Madeley (Lindfield 58 mins), Fallon, Greaves, Cooke (Murray 63 mins), Cheetham
Subs not used; Birch, Thurston
Lowestoft Town were without the injured Smith, Fisk (injured in training) and Mitchell, who is still a few weeks away from a return. Crow was missing from the squad due to personal issues but new signing and defender Sam Nunn was given a starting berth in place of the missing Fisk; allowing Rossi Jarvis to move into midfield for the blues.
The visitors had travelled down on the Friday and after an overnight stay in Norwich, they arrived at the Crown Meadow fresh for the match.
Prior to the match a minutes silence was impeccably observed in memory of Stephen Hammersley, a long serving local referee who sadly passed away on Wednesday.
The match got underway with a strong cross wind at the Crown Meadow and FC United flags everywhere around the ground with a great travelling contingent in full voice.
The visitors were straight onto the front foot with an early warning sign there for the blues as Greaves beat Ainsley to the bounce and his ball across the box had to be cut out by debutant Nunn.
All of the opening possession was for the visitors and in the ninth minute that possession was turned into an early lead. Madeley sent in a great cross from the right and an excellent directed header by Greaves gave the diving Garnham no chance as FC United grabbed a 1-0 lead (9 mins).
The visitors were being afford too much time on the ball and both Madeley and Cooke were lapping it up by switching and floating across the pitch. A fizzing shot from distance by Daniels fired another warning at the blues, who's midfield were not in the game at all and were allowing acres of space as they struggled to deal with the attacking formation of FC United.
Just before the twenty minute mark the visitors unsurprisingly doubled their lead with a slight bit of fortune, as a blocked shot by Cooke fell perfectly in the area for an unmarked Greaves to slam past Garnham for 2-0 (19 mins).
The second goal looked as if it would prompt a much needed tactical or formation change by the blues, who were being totally pulled apart by their opponents. Nothing followed and before the half hour mark had even been reached, FC United notched up their third goal of the game. A free-kick on the left was sent in by Cooke and with it being touched down and into a dangerous area, Madeley finished it off for 3-0 (26 mins).
It was turning into a real horror show for the blues, who were just standing off and allowing their quick opponents to run at them and deliver crosses at every opportunity.
As the blues continued to show little signs of closing down their opponents quick enough, FC United continued to hold a firm grip on the game but with Woods-Garness trying is hardest to make something happen down the right channel, the home supporters were finally given something to smile about. A cross from the right by Woods-Garness was met by a stretching Henderson at the far post and with his header being steered goalwards it looked as if the keeper and defender would clear but clumsily they aided the ball into the net for 3-1 (37 mins). It was a goal that for a moment looked to have kicked the blues into life as a wind assisted cross from the left by Ainsley, bent towards the top corner and forced Carnell into action in order to turn it over.
Up to this point it had been a relatively easy game for the referee to manage but just before the break, Lowestoft were rightfully upset when a shove in the back of Barker saw the young defender unfairly penalised for a handball. The result was a booking for the youngster and a free-kick in a dangerous position for the visitors. However, justice seemingly prevailed as the free-kick was shoved high over the bar on the half-time whistle.
All of the half-time chat amongst supporters was if FC United could keep up their energy levels and if the blues could significantly step things up for the second half.
An early goal is no doubt what the blues wanted as the second half started and with a Ryan Jarvis delivery only being head out as far as Rossi Jarvis by Bayunu, an early chance arrived but the midfielders effort from just outside the area was high and rising.
The blues had certainly come out looking sharper with Ryan Jarvis covering plenty of ground and both teams appearing like they were going to slug it out with attack versus attack.
It was, However FC United carrying the threat again as Madeley got the better of Eagle to get round the back and deliver but Ainsley was at hand to make a great tackle on Daniels as he went to connect with the ball. Then moments later, Garnham had to hold onto a shot from the impressive Cooke.
After a brighter start to the half by the blues, they had seemingly dropped back into their first-half mode and with a spectacular finish, the visitors made it four. An effort from distance by Cooke was blocked and looped up into the air but with Madeley reacting the quickest to latch onto the ball, he positioned himself and executed a wonderful overhead kick to make it 4-1 (56 mins).
The goal prompted a double change for Lowestoft as Bammant and Marsden came on to replace Woods-Garness and Barker. Just a minute later the visitors followed suit with a double change of their own, as Lindfield and Wolfenden replaced double goal-scorer Madeley and Daniels.
A final change by the visitors followed five minutes later as Murray replaced the impressive Cooke.
Ryan Jarvis has been a player who has improved week on week for the blues and yet again he was making every effort to try and spark his side into life by showing some drive in his play in a brief spell that saw the blues retain possession in their opponents half. A final change for the blues came with twenty minutes remaining as Mason replaced Henderson.
Fifteen minutes now remained and the visiting fans were in full voice as their side looked comfortable for the win. A booking out of frustration came for Ainsley with ten minutes remaining and just two minutes later that frustration turned into stupidity on a miserable day for the blues; as Ainsley threw himself into a tackle and rightfully received his second booking and marching orders to reduce the blues to ten.
In truth the sending off for the blues had little significance, except disappointment. As Lowestoft had been clearly beaten way before being reduced to ten men.
The final whistle eventually sounded and ended a truly miserable day and performance by the blues, as the travelling supporters and their side celebrated a well earned and thoroughly deserved three points from their longest trip of the season.
It had been a real horror show for the blues and a game that needs to be analysed and then well and truly forgotten about. On the plus side and prior to this match, the blues had put in some great performances so far and after seeing the disappointment on their faces at the end, I'm sure the players will be the first in line to ensure a response is seen next time out.
Man of the Match was a simple choice this week with Ryan Jarvis now showing real signs of what a top class signing he is for the blues. Despite being up against it, he worked very hard for his side and covered lots of ground to try and kick the blues into life.
Man of the Match - Ryan Jarvis
The FC United supporters were a real pleasure to have at the Crown Meadow and we look forward to visiting Broadhurst Park in January.
Lowestoft Town are next in action on Saturday when they travel to Stalybridge Celtic. Places are still available on the away coach for this trip (departure time 6:45am) and can be booked by contacting me on 07879496895.