Lowestoft Town 2 Canvey Island 0
Lowestoft put in a superb performance against a good Canvey Island side, deservedly taking all three points in a 2-0 win.
Lowestoft Town: Reynolds, Williams, Crane, Gaughran, Adam Smith (Ainsley 64 mins), Lee Smith, Okay, Fisk, Eagle (Dawkin 71 mins), Henderson (Frew 90 mins), Defty. Subs; Frew, Dawkin, Francis, Cunningham, Ainsley
Canvey Island: Jones, Hawes, Dumas, King, Blackwell, Orlu, Curran, James-Lewis, Woods-Garness, Rowe, Chatting. Subs; Gilbey, Cocklin, Davidson
Lowestoft put in a superb performance against a good Canvey Island side, deservedly taking all three points and notching up another clean sheet in a 2-0 win. A penalty by Lee Smith broke the deadlock after a number of great saves by Jones, with a second goal being added by the magnificent Defty.
Lowestoft made three changes from the side which beat Hastings at the weekend, to use the squad and keep people fresh. Reynolds replaced Plummer in goal and Adam Smith and Eagle replaced Ainsley and Frew.
Canvey Island had Bradley Woods-Garness in the number 9 shirt, with him being in fine goal scoring form for them this season. However, he faced a Lowestoft defence who had kept five clean sheets in their last eight games.
The match got underway and after a few matches of being used up front, Lee Smith reverted back to the right side of midfield and Henderson returned to his position up top alongside Defty.
Just four minutes were on the clock when Lowestoft carved out a golden opportunity to take an early lead; as a ball forward was met with a lovely flick by Defty to put Henderson in on goal, but a superb save by Jones stopped what looked like being a certain goal.
Canvey Island have always been a good footballing side and matches in the past between these two sides have near enough always been a pleasure on the eye. Tonight was no different, however Lowestoft were edging it early on, looking very confident on the ball.
Fisk and Okay were already reading the game well and asserting themselves in midfield. While Defty was resuming his man of the match performance from Saturday; not just winning headers up front but also winning them in defence, as Canvey sent a couple of free kicks and corners into the Lowestoft area.
Lowestoft were seeing the majority of the play but when in possession, Canvey looked comfortable in their passing also, which was setting the game up nicely.
It was a solid start by Lowestoft but with the defence being caught out by the bounce of the ball, Canvey looked like they had got in on goal, only to see the linesman flag very late for offside.
Henderson had a fully charged battery and was again making his trademark runs and inroads into the oppositions defence but as of yet he wasn't finding it easy to beat the offside trap.
With thirty minutes gone the game was far from uninteresting but was looking like a bit of a stalemate, with just the fourth minute chance for Henderson to speak of so far.
Defty was already stamping himself on the game and after winning yet another header to set up some offensive play in the Canvey island area, the ball wouldn't quite drop quickly enough for Henderson, who skewed his shot over from 10 yards out.
A fine drizzle was now starting to fall but this certainly didn't dampen the play by Lowestoft, as they moved up a gear and forced another superb save out of Jones. This time the move started at right back with Williams sending a long searching ball to Defty, who superbly won the ball again to nod down to Henderson, only for his shot to be saved superbly again. For his troubles Henderson crashed into the post, with the game momentarily being stopped as he received treatment.
Canvey Island have been in a good run of form themselves and Woods-Garness was proving prolific in front of goal but the Lowestoft defence were proving a tough nut to crack for them, as Crane, Gaughran, Williams and Adam Smith were putting in another fine rearguard showing for Lowestoft.
Just before half time, Canvey Island got a flick on from a corner to the far post, in their first real brush with the Lowestoft goal but this was seen behind safely by the Lowestoft defence.
It had been a good first half by Lowestoft, who were rather unfortunate to not be leading, if not for a couple of great saves by opposing keeper Jones. They had also been very solid at the back and never looked like being troubled. However, Canvey Island are not a side that roll over and Lowestoft knew they had to keep playing as they had, in the hope that the goal would come.
The second half started with Lowestoft immediately getting onto the front foot and forcing a couple of corners. Lee Smith was heavily involved on the right, regularly cutting inside and Henderson was covering lots of ground again with his pace and drive.
With Eagle getting the ball out on the left and sitting a ball up to the far post and onto the head of Defty, it looked like Lowestoft would take the lead but yet again Jones saved brilliantly from close in.
Fisk was winning his tackles in midfield and reading the game well, while Okay was continuing his good run of form, as Lowestoft started to get on top.
Cries of handball rung around the Lowestoft team and ground, with Adam Smith being found in the box by Okay and the ball being hit against a players hand; however the decision would have been a harsh one if it had of been given.
Canvey Island were being put under some real pressure now and both Adam Smith and Williams were ensuring the team kept high up the pitch and kept Canvey Island pinned in their own half.
It was a great spell of football by Lowestoft and a goal was surely about to come. However, the play and tempo was then broken up with Adam Smith going to ground injured and being replaced by Ainsley in the 64th minute.
After a few moments though, Lowestoft got back into their stride and with a corner coming out to Okay on the edge of the box, his shot was heading along the deck and into the goal, only to see it deflected over at the last minute by a flailing Canvey foot. This must have left Lowestoft wondering what they had to do to score!!
With just under 20 minutes of the game left, Eagle was replaced by Dawkin, who impressed in his brief cameo after coming on against Hastings on Saturday.
Minutes later Lowestoft finally got their just rewards, with Defty producing another great flick on to send Henderson away and with the defender pulling him over, the referee pointed to the spot.
The keeper thus far had been the only thing between Lowestoft taking the lead but Lee Smith was not to be denied, as he calmly stepped up and dispatched the penalty into the bottom left corner to give Lowestoft a worthy 1-0 lead (73 mins).
Lowestoft were now riding on a wave of confidence and Lee Smith and Henderson were combining well in and around the box, as the team puffed it's chest out.
As expected, Canvey Island were trying to force the play as the game entered the final ten minutes. However, the Lowestoft defence have been so impressive of late and with them showing great strength and focus again, Canvey Island were nullified.
It was looking like the single goal would be enough but following a mix up at the back between the Canvey Island keeper and defender, Defty said 'thank you very much' and stole in to latch onto the scraps and calmly slot the ball home for 2-0 (87 mins). This capped what was a fine performance by Lowestoft and a simply fantastic performance by him.
Lowestoft changed Henderson for Frew in the dying minutes and with the final whistle shortly following, Lowestoft continued their impressive unbeaten run of late, which is now gathering some real momentum.
Yet again the whole team played very well, with all of them worthy of high praise.
The defence was again impenetrable with Crane and Gaughran keeping Canvey and the dangerous Woods-Garness quiet all night. Lee Smith is brimming with confidence at the moment and linked well down the right with Williams, while also interchanging well with the equally impressive Henderson. Williams was faultless at right back again and I'm really starting to run out of superlatives for this lad..........what a player. Okay and Fisk ran the centre of the park, with Fisk especially reading the game so well tonight with his timely interceptions and ferocious but fair tackles.
The Man of the Match simply could only be one person though and it was the same guy who got it Saturday; Jack Defty. He was great on Saturday but tonight he was just magnificent, winning literally everything and providing some fantastic little touches and deft flicks in an undeniably outstanding performance.
Lowestoft are now unbeaten since the 20th November; playing ten league games, containing 7 wins and 6 clean sheets. The team are playing some great football and the defence look so tight but we mustn't look too far ahead and we have to keep our feet on the ground and take it a game at a time.
This run is now gaining real momentum and we have to keep playing our part as supporters in cheering the guys on and ensuring that we all keep pushing as one!
See you all at the Crown Meadow on Saturday, when we entertain Enfield.