Lowestoft Town 2 Chorley 0
Lowestoft Town put in a superb all round performance with everyone in blue playing their part in a deserved 2-0 home win over Chorley.
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Match Sponsors – None
Ball-boys (sponsored by Greater Gabbard Offshore Winds Ltd) – Mutford & Wrentham U11’s
Mascot – Harrison Jarvis
Lowestoft Town: Burgoyne, Barker, Burns, Nunn, Marsden, Gleeson (Fisk 77 mins), Ryan Jarvis, Okay (Eagle 77 mins), Rossi Jarvis, Crow (Henderson 81 mins), Reed
Subs not used; Smith, Jessup
Chorley: Ashton, Ross, Doyle, Teague, Charnock (Sheridan 82 mins), Cottrell, Hine, Whitham, Carver (Dean 58 mins), Bond, Stephenson (Guy 52 mins)
Subs not used; Dodd, Jarvis
The blues made two changes from their 2-2 draw at Brackley Town on Tuesday night; the suspended Ainsley was replaced at right-back by Barker and in goal the new loanee and U21 Wolverhampton Wanderers goalkeeper, Harry Burgoyne was brought straight into the line-up.
Mitchell is nearing a return but still remained on the sidelines injured, as Bammant, Mason, Woods-Garness and Garnham were the unfortunate few to be left out of the squad on this occasion.
The match got underway with Lowestoft in their customary all blue strip and Chorley in all lime green.
Lowestoft were straight onto the front foot and Chorley keeper, Ashton was forced into action in the open moments as a great drifted cross in by Crow was met by the head of Burns, forcing Ashton to turn it onto the bar and over.
Lowestoft were hurrying Chorley and winning possession, which was allowing them to put some nice football together early on. This was also being aided by the positioning of Gleeson just in front of the back four, that was giving added protection to the defence but also allowing him to distribute from deep and for Lowestoft to play out from the back. Gleeson at times was also finding himself further up the field as Lowestoft pressed and he saw a drilled effort charged down on the edge of the box as the blues looked for an early advantage.
Chorley hadn't found their feet at all but when Hines and Bond combined well on the right, Whitham was presented with a great chance at the far post from a Bond cross but his downward header was sent wide. It had been a great opening fifteen for the blues though but there were signs that Chorley were starting to find their feet a little, as Stephenson got in behind on the right wing to drive towards and inside the box but Nunn was there for Lowestoft to make a great tackle to take the ball and clear the danger.
Lowestoft were defending any balls that were being put into the mix and were also playing out from the back really well by connecting the defence to the midfield and allowing the likes of Okay, the Jarvis Brothers and Crow to create good spells of play. Lowestoft were also shooting a lot more than usual from distance and with Ryan Jarvis hitting one from fully thirty yards, the keeper had to get across and grapple it behind.
The thirty minute mark was now up and even though the visitors had shown brief signs of getting a footing in the game, Lowestoft were holding the upper hand with Crow showing some nice touches in the hole, Marsden supporting well from left-back and the whole side looking comfortable in their play.
A glimpse of the opposing sides attacking sense was seen when Carver battled his way in behind Nunn with great strength. However, the understanding between the new central pairing of Nunn and Burns was starting to show signs of forming, as Burns covered his partner brilliantly to block the attempt at goal by Carver. Chorley were having their best spell of the game so far and with a corner falling nicely at the far post, a half-volley went beyond the keeper and headed towards goal but Barker was there to make a great block and clearance off the line for Lowestoft.
The game had evened itself out somewhat but Lowestoft were still exhibiting some good, one-touch football when coming forward and with Ryan Jarvis getting in a good position on the by-line, he pulled it back for Reed but the strikers connection was slightly off, as he hit the ball into the ground, across goal and wide of the far post.
Lowestoft reached the break holding the upper hand and were just missing the goal to give them the lead their play possibly deserved at the halfway stage.
The second half started with Chorley very nearly catching Lowestoft out right from the off. A great block by Nunn denied Carver in the opening minutes but with it falling nicely for Bond, his guided effort looked to be heading for the top corner but Burgoyne was positioned well to pluck it out of the air confidently.
Lowestoft should have then taking the lead themselves with a quickly taken free-kick by Barker releasing Crow down the right and his well delivered cross finding Reed in a position where he had to score but much to his and everyone's disappointment, he headed over.
Lowestoft were now in the ascendancy again and with Rossi Jarvis picking out with his head a good run from Crow, Ashton saved his side by making himself big to save the effort from the blues number ten.
Chorley were not at the races and with everyone on their game for Lowestoft the visitors made two changes in a short space of time, as Guy and Dean replaced Stephenson and Carver.
Lowestoft continued to press though and with Charnock sticking out a leg in his own area and sending Reed over, the referee took little time in pointing to the spot. Regular penalty maestro, Ainsley was missing through suspension, so the responsibility was taken up by Ryan Jarvis. His spot-kick appeared to be well placed into the left bottom corner but with the keeper guessing the right way, a great save denied the blues and kept the game goalless. It was a frustrating and possibly costly moment for Lowestoft, as with the exception of the goal line clearance by Barker, the blues had seen the better of the chances so far.
The visitors nearly found themselves being dealt some luck as a backward header appeared to have caught Burgoyne out in the Lowestoft goal but he recovered well to turn it over the bar.
At the other end it was the turn of Ashton and yet again he saved his side, with Crow having sent a high ball over the top for Reed and Ashton making a great save from the Lowestoft strikers thumping effort at goal. Chorley were on the back-foot, not on their game and had their keeper to thank for keeping Lowestoft at bay with twenty minutes of the game still remaining.
Substitute, Dean was trying to use his huge upper frame to win some possession up field but a great battle was being won by the strong defending of Nunn in the blues defence.
Lowestoft were fully in control of the game but were missing the all important breakthrough as they now started to push the wing-backs on even further, with Barker in particular bursting down the right with a real intent to his play and a much improved quality to his end product compared to his last outing. It was a burst down the right by Barker that looked to have finally given the blues the opportunity to break the deadlock but with him finding Reed in the middle, the striker couldn't get his shot away.
Fifteen minutes now remained and despite their lack of carrying a threat in the second half, Chorley found themselves denied by another goal line clearance. This time it was following a ball in from Ross and a header by Dean but Gleeson was covering fantastically for the blues to clear off the line.
For all their possession and impetus, the blues were still facing a goalless point for their efforts and introduced some fresh legs for a final push, as Eagle and Fisk replaced Okay and Gleeson with thirteen minutes remaining.
A deflect header saw Ryan Jarvis denied immediately following the changes and just seconds later it was Ryan Jarvis again but this time it was the much sort after lead for the blues. A great right-footed cross by the left-footed substitute, Eagle picked out Ryan Jarvis and from just a few yards out he powered his header home for a deserved 1-0 lead (78 mins).
Lowestoft then introduced another set of fresh legs as Henderson came on for Crow. The visitors reacted with their third and final changes as Sheridan replaced Charnock.
Chorley had now gone to three at the back and were naturally having to push forward more but the blues were showing a great level of determination and desire to hold onto the win. As a result and following a mix up at the back, Reed stole in for Lowestoft and found the fresh legs of Henderson, who burst beyond the tiring Ross but all credit had to go to the defender who recovered to make a great saving tackle for his side.
Chorley were trying to get forward but a mixtures of freshness and a desire to win a starting place back was seeing both Henderson and Eagle ensure that the visiting defence couldn't switch off for a second.
The blues nearly doubled their lead when Barker found himself in the box but he sent his half-volley the wrong side of the post. Time was nearly up though and as stoppage time was entered the blues sealed the points with Reed touching in Eagle and him finishing with aplomb for 2-0 (90+ mins).
Two nearly became three in the dying moments as a lovely touch over the top by Eagle saw Henderson in on goal but it was Ashton to the visitors rescue, as he saved once again.
The whistle followed shortly after and signalled a big but deserved three points for Lowestoft, that saw them move up to fifteenth in a tightly packed table.
The substitutions saw Lowestoft over the line but it had been a fantastic performance throughout the whole of the side and if not for Ashton in the visiting goal, the scoreline could have been higher. Even the new goalkeeper settled in well for his first game with the blues and showed great communication with his defence, very solid kicking and great authority in his area. Both Nunn and Burns had also shown signs of an improved understanding in a youthful defence that looks like it has the ability to grow and become more and more solid in the weeks to follow.
You could easily make a case for any player to be awarded the Man of the Match, which just shows how good a performance this was. However, having being left out of the squad for the last two games and to come back with a determination to his play, along with great bursting runs down the right and an important first-half goal line clearance. My Man of the Match is Harry Barker.
Man of the Match – Harry Barker
It was a result that capped a fantastic weekend against a club who's supporters we've formed a great friendship with and truly regard as a non-league family. We wish them all the best for the remainder of the season and look forward to crossing paths with them again on and off the pitch in February.
Lowestoft Town now take a break from league action as they turn their attentions to the FA Cup and a long trip to Bognor Regis Town on Saturday. Please note that the coach for this away game is now full.