Lowestoft Town 3 Wingate & Finchley 0
Lowestoft put in a dominant first half showing, to brush aside Wingate and Finchley and register a 3-0 league win.
Lowestoft Town: Reynolds, Saker, Gaughran, Crane (Cockrill 88 mins), Ainsley, Smith, Fisk, Mitchell, Francis, Henderson (Cunningham 84 mins), Defty (Frew 78 mins). Subs; Frew, Jones, Eagle, Cunningham, Cockrill
Wingate & Finchley: B Smith, Kyriacou, Wright, Clark (McGonigle 74 mins), Shehu, Nielson, Milner, Pinto, Gardiner, Bonnett (Karagul 74 mins), Scott. Subs; Baptiste, McGonigle, Karagul, Morris, L Smith
Lowestoft registered a simple 3-0 league victory at home to Wingate and Finchley, with a dominant first half of football and goals from Henderson, Smith and Francis. The second half was a non-event though, with Wingate racking up the fouls and cards, and Lowestoft easing off the gas and looking tired from Saturday's mammoth efforts.
Lowestoft started with the same team as Saturday, with the exception of Reynolds replacing Jessup in goal. Wingate, as per last season's fixture, started with their leading goalscorer Leon Smith on the bench.
Wingate started the game with an instant sight of goal, knocking the ball about just inside the Lowestoft box but unable to get a clear shot away.
Henderson, as always, started to apply instant pressure to the Wingate defence, trying to force them into a mistake. His persistence earned Lowestoft and early corner and with a scramble ensuing from this corner, Henderson hooked the ball into the net from close in to give Lowestoft the perfect start after just 6 minutes for 1-0.
The early goal settled Lowestoft, who then started to play some good one touch football, ably backed up by Gaughran, who was looking faultless at the back whenever the ball went into the Lowestoft half.
Lowestoft very nearly doubled their lead shortly after, with some good football ending with the ball at Defty's feet but with the ball getting caught up under his feet, he was unable to get a shot away.
Fisk was now winding up his play to his usual high level of midfield ownership and Smith was seeing plenty of the ball down the right side. Wingate were struggling to put much together, with Lowestoft looking strong and getting a firm handle on the game.
Lowestoft opened Wingate up again, with a sweet pass from Fisk finding Smith on the right, who skipped over the defender to hit the by-line, before beating the keeper across the face of goal and forcing Wingate to clear their lines.
The Wingate left back (Wright) was having a torrid time against a sprightly Smith, who was full of beans and working really hard down the right, supported from right back by Saker, who was looking very good again when in possession.
Wingate's first of many bookings came with their number 9 (Gardiner) going in late on Gaughran and with Lowestoft continuing to have the upper hand, a second goal looked on the cards.
Fisk pushed a good ball across the pitch to find Smith on the edge of the area but his shot was blasted high and wide. However, the second goal did finally come, when a long ball forward saw target man Defty win the header and with Francis feeding off the scraps in the area, the ball broke to Smith to side foot past the keeper for 2-0 (33 mins).
A further seven minutes past before another long ball and Defty combination registered again, with Reynolds hitting it long and Defty getting up and allowing Francis to latch onto the ball from the left and send a shot across the keeper, which picked up a deflection and nestled into the net for 3-0 (40 mins).
Lowestoft were well on top in this game now and the only thing Wingate could offer was more fouls and more bookings, as it started to look like being a long night for them.
The second half was a mouth-watering prospect, with the hope that Lowestoft would continue in the same vein and notch up an impressive scoreline. This, however, didn't come to pass, as Wingate notched up the bookings and Lowestoft never really found the gears that they did in the first half.
The only really chance of the half came when a great Saker cross from the right was headed back across goal to Henderson but his fizzing shot from just inside the area was held well by the keeper Bobby Smith.
Fisk, up to this point had been sensational for Lowestoft but even he couldn't stop the game from becoming very broken up and flat, with tiredness creeping into Lowestoft's game and Wingate continuing to foul and pick up the bookings. It was therefore no surprise when in the 61st minute Gardiner, who had already been booked, fouled Crane and even though this tackle was a rather soft one, the ref produced Gardiners second yellow of the night, as he received his marching orders.
Changes were made by both sides and Shehu was lucky not too join his team mate in the dressing room, after going through the back of the newly introduced Frew and being very lucky to not receive his second booking of the night.
A couple more late changes were made by Lowestoft but the game had never got going in the second half, as the final whistle signalled the end of the match and a simple three points for Lowestoft.
The 3-0 scoreline was a great result and a result which everyone would have been happy with at the start but it was a missed opportunity in the second half to take advantage and boost Lowestoft's goal difference in the league.
The second half had nothing of any real relevance to comment on but Lowestoft had put in a very accomplished and polished showing in the first half. Smith had a good half down the right and caused their left back no end of problems and Saker yet again looked very solid on the ball. Gaughran was faultless but in truth had little to do after the first 20 minutes or so and I totally agreed with the Platinum Sponsors Man of the Match award going to Fisk. He was indeed the Man of the Match, putting in a performance which we've come to expect from him but are still spellbound when watching him control a game with his intelligent reading of a game.
A great result and a great three points, which hopefully can now be followed up on the road next week, now that attention has fully switched back to the league.