Lowestoft Town 3 Wealdstone 0
Lowestoft put in a simply magnificent performance to brush pace setters Wealdstone aside with a 3-0 win.
Lowestoft Town: Plummer, Saker, Gaughran, Williams, Cockrill, Henderson, Mitchell, Okay, Francis (Cunningham 83 mins), Frew, Defty (Newson 88 mins). Subs; Eagle, Fisk, Cunningham, Newson, Jessup
Wealdstone: Banks, Esmond, Tumwa (Brooks 60 mins), Parker, Cronin, Dyer, Webb, O'Leary (Pett 60 mins), Dean (Jolly 46 mins), Moore, Chappell. Subs; Jolly, Brooks, Pett, McCubbin, Hazhia
Lowestoft put in a simply magnificent performance in beating league pace setters Weadlstone 3-0, with a hatrick from Jack Defty. It was a game in which if not for Wealdstone keeper Banks playing like his namesake, the score could have been double that.
Overnight the game looked like being off, with heavy snow and rain through the day making the pitch unplayable. However, with clear skies and the morning sun, the pitch was passed fit after an early morning pitch inspection.
The game was billed as making temperatures rise, with Wealdstone in great form but Lowestoft having an excellent record against them in recent times. It had been a mild start to the day in Lowestoft and at midday the sun was shining but by kick-off the cloud had rolled in and the temperature plummeted, with the game kicking off in bitterly cold conditions.
As the whistle sounded the start of the game, Cockrill took up position at left back, where he'd finished the match on Wednesday at Cray Wanderers.
The first 10 minutes of the game was pretty even stuff, with both teams feeling each other out.
However, after 10 minutes Lowestoft started to up the ante and took little time in creating their first chance, with an excellent cross field ball by Henderson picking out Francis, who sent a fierce shot whizzing past the upright. The right back for Wealdstone (Esmond) was already looking like he was going to have a busy day, with most of the play coming down the Lowestoft left through Joe Francis, who was looking on it from the start.
A ball whipped in from the left saw Defty go up with the Wealdstone keeper Banks and send a header just over the bar, as Lowestoft started to press and make chances.
Lowestoft were in full flow and were sending some delicious crosses into the Wealdstone box, hoping that their early spell of pressure could bring a goal. Wealdstone simply couldn't get hold of the ball, or the game and whenever anything went towards the Lowestoft defence it was dealt with by Williams, who was showing great pace and alertness alongside Gaughran.
The forward line of Francis, Defty and Frew were working really hard and looking very lively.
It was Frew who played a part in forcing the first of many great saves by Wealdstone keeper Banks, sending a great ball to Francis who drove into the space in front of him and shot across goal, forcing Banks into a splendid save to send the ball behind.
From the resulting corner Lowestoft then deservedly took the lead, with the corner coming in and Defty appearing to be unmarked and unchallenged to meet the ball with his head close in and send Lowestoft 1-0 up after 21 minutes.
Lowestoft were buoyant and oozing confidence and quality now, playing some super football; but were given a gentle reminder moments later from a Wealdstone corner, which went right across the goal to centre back Cronin, who looked like scoring but had his effort cleared off the line by Lowestoft.
As you'd expect, Wealdstone are not in a false position in the league and they started to have a little spell of their own and started to look a little more solid. A scramble in the Lowestoft area nearly led to a chance for Wealdstone but Lowestoft pounced on the scraps and broke away with some great football, ending with Frew crossing from the left for Francis but his header drew another great save from Banks.
With half time approaching Wealdstone started to press Lowestoft a bit and following a speculative ball into the area, the ball ended up somehow flopping onto the bar, with the follow up luckily being sent over the top.
The halftime whistle sounded though and Lowestoft had put in a decent performance and were worthy leaders at the break, controlling the midfield and creating chances in the Wealdstone area.
The second half got underway with Wealdstone making a half time change, brining on their goal scoring talisman Jolly to replace Dean.
With little more than four second half minutes on the clock though, Lowestoft went two nil up through Defty's second of the game. Francis was the provider this time, skinning the right back Esmond and laying a sweet ball across the box to pick out Defty, who side footed home with ease for 2-0 (49 mins).
Lowestoft were playing really well from front to back, with every part of their engine looking well oiled and purring. Gaughran and Williams were solid and alert in defence to any dangers and Okay was certainly looking more than okay in midfield, in fact he was looking brilliant. Added into this was the great play and deliveries by Francis and the sharp and busy play of Defty, Frew and Henderson.
A brief bit of respite came for Wealdstone and nearly came in the shape of a goal, with a ball across the deck in the Lowestoft six yard box and the sub Jolly nearly getting it beyond Plummer.
Lowestoft kept it going though and kept the slick football flowing but this time it was Henderson's turn, stealing the ball in midfield and racing forward to see two efforts on goal charged down and end up behind for a corner.
The combination of Frew and Francis linked up again to terrorise the Wealdstone defence and after a lovely flicked ball from Frew to send Francis in on goal, Banks was down well to save again and to then pluck the ball off the goal line.
Wealdstone knew they had to change it up in order to try and make any sort of a mark on this game and with sixty minutes on the clock they made their two remaining changes with Brooks and Pett replacing O'Leary and Tumwa.
These changes however, did little in changing the dominance of Lowestoft and with some great football the ball sat up nicely for Frew from 25 yards out and he struck a sublime bending effort with pace off the outside of his boot to force yet another 'worldy' save by Banks, who was certainly keeping his team in this match.
Frew was looking untouchable at this point and was involved in everything Lowestoft did, as the crowds in the stand started to wind up and belt out the chants of "come on you blues", with Wealdstone looking decidedly ruffled.
The game evened out a little as the final fifteen minutes approached but this suited Lowestoft, who were in a good position and were still looking threatening, especially through Frew, who was proving to be a right nuisance for the Wealdstone defence.
Francis had put in a great stint down the left for Lowestoft but as the game entered the final ten minutes Cunningham replaced him. It proved to be a timely substitution though, as within minutes of coming on, Cunningham sent in a free kick from the right touchline and with Defty left free in the box again, he headed down and into the net for Lowestoft's third and his hatrick (86 mins). It was another well taken goal but surely there will be questions asked by the Wealdstone management about their defences marking of Defty today.
With stoppage time loaming and Newson replacing hatrick hero Defty, Lowestoft had one last nibble at goal with the newly introduced Newson finding Frew and his shot forcing yet another good stop by Banks.
That proved to be the last chance of the game and with the final whistle being sounded the crowd roared, as Lowestoft had put in a superb performance and literally brushed Wealdstone aside with their football. If not for several superb saves by Banks, the defeat could have been even heavier for Wealdstone.
It's probably one of the hardest decisions for a long time to award a Man of the Match, as there were so many classy performances out there for Lowestoft. To name just a few; Williams stood out at the back, looking confident, alert and showing a great turn of pace to sweep up any danger. Francis was on it today, sending in some great crosses and working the keeper a couple of times himself in front of goal. Okay had put in a midfield maestro of a performance in the centre of the park with his tackling, passing and all round quality. Okay was pretty close to stealing the honours and with a hatrick Defty was also close and for many would probably be seen as Man of the Match. However, for me, the Man of the Match was a player who hasn't had the best of times lately and has his critics, but today showed what a great player he was, being an endless thorn in Wealdstones side and involved in everything Lowestoft did. My Man of the Match for today's game was the excellent Michael Frew.
Magnificent result and performance. Simply fantastic!!