Lowestoft Town 0 Whitehawk 0
Lowestoft Town try their hardest to breakdown a solid Whitehawk defence but have to settle for a point in a goalless draw with the league leaders.
Lowestoft Town: Reynolds, Mitchell, Crane, Gaughran (Saker 59 mins), Adam Smith, Lee Smith, Okay, Fisk, Francis (Dawkin 81 mins), Henderson, Defty. Subs; Dawkin, Eagle, Cunningham, Frew, Saker.
Whitehawk: Winterton, Rossi-Branco, Knee, Aujila, Lawrence, El-Abd, Jones, Keehan, Araba (Gargan 85 mins), Malcolm (Mills 72 mins), Fraser. Subs; Mills, Pearson, Gargan, Armstrong, Walker.
Lowestoft Town try their hardest to breakdown a solid Whitehawk defence but have to settle for a point in a goalless draw with the league leaders. Whitehawk came and played like a team only interested in a draw but Lowestoft nearly snatched the points late on with a Crane header.
Lowestoft made two changes from Tuesday with Reynolds replacing Plummer in goal and Francis preferred on the wing ahead of Eagle.
It was perfect conditions for football with no wind and parts of the game even being flooded with a rare sighting of the sun.
The game kicked off with the Lowestoft defence knowing they would have a job on their hands today, with the massive and muscular Araba up front for Whitehawk.
In truth the first half wasn't much of a game with some questionable and over the top refereeing, seeing five players booked in just the opening 15 minutes. This did little for the game and made it very difficult for the game and either side to settle.
Whitehawk did put a quick flowing move together early on but with the ball going across the Lowestoft goal, nobody was there for Whitehawk and the ball was seen behind by the Lowestoft defence.
The game was stopping and starting all the time at the sound of the officials whistle and when there was any play it was all in the air, with neither side stretching the game or making any space.
It was all a bit scrappy and with the continual flashing of cards, frustration started to spill into the play and was making for a poor spectacle of a game.
Lowestoft were trying to apply a bit of pressure and Whitehawk did look mobile and solid up front but neither keeper was being asked any questions, as the half went on.
Defty had so far been marked out of the game by Whitehawk but was still occasionally getting some little flicks in to try and release his fellow team mates.
It was Defty who was involved in Lowestoft's only chance of the half, when finding himself bearing down on goal but instead of shooting he slide the ball wide to Francis and with his ball across the face of the goalmouth, it was agonisingly short of any players getting on the end of it.
The game reached halftime with it looking like being a game with 0-0 written all over it, with everything really tight and narrow for both sides.
The second half got underway with the rare sighting of the sun beaming down on the Crown Meadow pitch. It was matched by Lowestoft, who made a bright start to the second period with much more tempo in their play and Mitchell and Francis hitting the sidelines and stretching the play.
It was Lowestoft who were looking more likely to create an opening and after pressuring the defence of Whitehawk, Henderson latched onto a mix-up at the back to then find Lee Smith, who let fly with a volley that stung the keepers hands.
It was a much more improved game compared to the first half and with Whitehawk seemingly happy to defend a draw, Lowestoft started to get possession. Mitchell was playing much higher up the pitch in his right back position and Francis was already looking in the mood to run at the defence and cause some problems down the left.
With Lowestoft stretching the game more, it naturally allowed Whitehawk some more space and even though Malcolm was dropping off for Whitehawk, in a similar floating role to Henderson, he was having no joy. Even the solid figure of Araba was getting no change out of Crane, who was putting in a focused and powerful defensive performance.
Earlier in the half Gaughran had needed treatment in the area and with him going down again, Lowestoft were forced into their first change, as Saker replaced the struggling Gaughran. This resulted in Saker taking up the role of right back and Mitchell moving alongside Crane, who was now donning the captains armband.
The bookings count increased to eight but Lowestoft weren't letting the busy officiating effect them, moving forward and putting some good spells of football together to try and breakdown the resolute Whitehawk defence.
The crowd were starting to roar from the stands "Come on you Blues" and with Francis looking lively down the left and Lee Smith working very hard down the right, Lowestoft were giving their all to try and break the deadlock.
Whitehawk introduced the dangerous Mills after 72 minutes in place of Malcolm and he showed his intent straight away, trying to spin away from the Lowestoft defence but causing no danger.
Defty had been ably marked out of the game today and as a result he allowed his frustrations to spill over, as he went into the book and became the ninth player to be cautioned on the day.
Lowestoft were certainly having the majority of the football though with Francis having some joy down the left, running at the defence but Whitehawk to their credit were defending really well.
It was looking like a game which would need a special strike to trouble the scoreline and that special strike duly arrived with Okay playing a ball into the edge of the area and in one move, Henderson spun and sent a great shot just past the upright with the keeper Winterton rooted to his spot.
Both teams made a further change late on but it was looking like the hard work by Lowestoft in the second half was not going to be rewarded.
It very nearly was rewarded though in the last few minutes of the match, with a looped effort by Okay being cleared off the line and falling straight to Crane, who appeared to have the simplest of chances to nod home but instead sent the header onto and over the bar. It's a goal which would have been deserved, as Lowestoft had really given it a go second half, while Whitehawk seemed happy to just sit there and defend for a draw.
Unfortunately for Lowestoft the defending of Whitehawk held out and with the final whistle going the gap between the two sides remained the same as it was prior to kick-off.
Lowestoft would have loved to have got the win today and did give it a good shot in the second half but it wasn't to be and some fine defending kept the Whitehawk goal intact.
It was another clean sheet though and another game unbeaten, as attention will now turn to the Hastings game at home on Monday night, in which the team will be hoping to notch up three points.
The second half is where the game came to life for Lowestoft with a much better tempo and the wide men stretching the play more. Francis asked questions of the Whitehawk defence and looked lively down the left, while Lee smith worked really hard on the right to close them down and to also try and penetrate the Whitehawk rearguard.
When it comes to the Man of the Match though it simple had to be Greg Crane, who put in a towering defensive performance up against a huge and muscular number 9. He defended with such focus and strength and didn't allow Araba any effort on goal all game. A real defensive master class by the big man!