Lowestoft Town 0 East Thurrock United 0
Lowestoft work hard and dominated the large majority of the play against East Thurrock but have to settle for a point in a 0-0 draw.
Lowestoft Town: Plummer, Saker, Gaughran, Williams, Adam Smith (Crane 90 mins), Henderson (Francis 83 mins), Mitchell, Okay, Eagle (Frew 85 mins), Lee Smith, Defty. Subs; Dawkin, Fisk, Francis, Frew, Crane
East Thurrock United: Justham, Sammons, Stephen, Wood, Harrison, Burgess (Parmenter 65 mins), Lawson (Newby 65 mins), Gilbey, Higgins, Ruel, Collins. Subs; Menga, Peddie, Parmenter, Keith, Newby
After playing just two league games since the 16th December, Lowestoft worked hard and dominated the large majority of the game against East Thurrock. However, they just couldn't find that bit of luck in front of goal and had to settle for a point in a 0-0 draw. Considering the lack of football of late the team did well and with Whitehawk losing at Margate, this has to be seen as a point gained.
Prior to the game kicking off, supporters final had their chance to join in with a minutes applause and drumming, in memory of David Ainslie (Dave The Drummer). The sun was shining down, as if Dave was looking down from above and it was a great touch after the minutes applause to hear the supporters behind the goal chanting "there's only one Dave the drummer".
The match got underway with Lee Smith retaining his recent position up front with Defty and Henderson continuing out on the right.
Lowestoft could have easily been excused for being slow out of the traps with the lack of games of late. However, this was not the case as they showed good early possession right from the off, with a hungry look about their play.
Both Lee Smith and Adam Smith started the game well, with Adam Smith offering himself up down left, combining with Eagle and Lee Smith running the front line well to work space and keep the East Thurrock defence busy early on.
Neither team could force an opening in the first quarter of the game though, with neither keeper being brought into action and the majority of the game now being played in the centre of the pitch.
Higgins was a lone figure up top for East Thurrock, as the game struggled to come alight.
East Thurrock did have a spell of play around the Lowestoft area but the Lowestoft defence was looking very strong and focused, as both sides tried to create their first chance on goal.
A hoofed ball forward by East Thurrock found the lone figure of Higgins, who tussled with Williams for the ball but with Williams tidying up brilliantly, Higgins couldn't take advantage, as the danger was cleared.
Mitchell fizzed a shot in on goal from distance but it was always rising, as the game stuttered along and was still waiting for something to set it alight.
The first real chance for Lowestoft came shortly after, with Eagle stealing the ball off the right back Sammons and finding Defty in the box, only for him to totally miss the ball, as the chance went begging. Immediately following this Henderson worked a shot on goal but it was a weak effort as the scoreline remained unchanged.
When East Thurrock were in possession, the large majority of their play was focused down the left hand side. However, they had not yet forced Plummer into any sort of action in the Lowestoft goal.
Okay was covering lots of ground, winning the midfield battles and with halftime approaching, Lowestoft went very close to going into the break with the lead. A magnificent tackle by Okay on the left wing saw Lowestoft win the ball and with Eagle being found by Okay's pass, his testing shot forced keeper Justham to turn it round the post.
This in truth was the only solid effort on goal in the half, as the whistle sounded for half time.
The second half started with Lowestoft on the front foot, looking to make an early impression, as Defty started winning balls and finding his team mates with some nice touches.
A weak back pass to the East Thurrock goalkeeper by the defence, very nearly let Lee Smith in on goal but East Thurrock rode their luck, as the chance was snuffled out.
Lowestoft were already looking much more lively this half and were now starting to fully find their feet, with Henderson floating about and coming in off the right more often.
East Thurrock did give Lowestoft a gentle reminder of their threat though, as a shot from outside the area was dragged just wide of the Lowestoft goal, with Plummer only able to watch it go wide.
This didn't deter Lowestoft though, who stepped up the pressure and with Defty and Saker combining well with the ball and cutting it back to Henderson, he couldn't quite get enough purchase on his shot, as East Thurrock cleared it off the line.
East Thurrock were really struggling to get possession in this half and with 20 minutes of the half gone they made a double change, as Parmenter and Newby replaced Burgess and Lawson.
With the floodlights coming on, Lowestoft started to move up the gears with Mitchell and Okay dominating the midfield and Henderson and Lee Smith looking lively on the ball.
Blake Saker was also having a good half, coming forward from right back at every opportunity and eventually playing a part in a great move from Lowestoft. The move involved some good flowing football and ended with the ball being squared across the area, and with Lee Smith stepping over it cleverly, it reached the feet of Henderson but his shot agonisingly struck the crossbar.
It was a great move by Lowestoft and it looked only a matter of time before the goal would come, as the blues play was now full of drive and purpose, as the game entered the last fifteen minutes.
Lowestoft kept pressing and looking for the opening and with just over five minutes left two substitutions were made in quick succession by Lowestoft, with Francis and Frew being thrown into the action, replacing Henderson and Eagle.
The game was drawing to a close but with six minutes of injury time being added on by the referee, Lowestoft kept pushing for the winner. They very nearly got it also, as Mitchell sent a cross to the far post, only to see Francis not take full advantage of the opportunity, with his shot being scrambled behind.
This proved to be the last chance for Lowestoft to get the points, as the game ended with Crane replacing Adam Smith in the dying minutes and Curtley Williams being sent off for apparently kicking out at an opponent, blotting what had a been a great performance by him.
Lowestoft will feel a little disappointed to have not taken all the points, in a game in which they dominated, especially in the second half. However, when taking into account the amount of games they've played of late and how hard they worked today, it will be viewed as a solid point.
The team needed the game and the match time and no doubt this will help fill them with confidence for their next game at home to Margate on Tuesday evening.
East Thurrock never really looked like troubling Plummer in the Lowestoft goal, with Gaughran and Williams both putting in solid defensive displays yet again and securing Lowestoft's fourth clean sheet in their last five league games.
Henderson was lively in the second half and Saker was also involved, providing an outlet on the right side of the pitch. Okay and Mitchell controlled the midfield with Okay especially putting in plenty of tackles to keep possession for Lowestoft. However, my man of the match today was Lee Smith, who again showed good movement and quality in playing up front and working the front line with Defty.
Lowestoft are now seven games unbeaten and with this being the first game for some time, it has to be seen as a point gained, rather than two dropped. The season starts now and as supporters we need to continue being that twelfth man.
See you all Tuesday night, as we entertain Margate.