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Lowestoft Town - Match centre

Billericay Town
Lowestoft Town
Tue 25 Feb 19:45 - The Ryman Football League - Premier Division Full time Attendance 208

Billericay Town 0 Lowestoft Town 1

Lowestoft Town put in a gutsy and determined performance on a heavy pitch to beat Billericay Town 1-0 and clock up their seventeenth clean sheet.

Att 208

Teams:-
Billericay Town: Lumley, Rogers, Beavan, Dunne, Collis, Scott, Layne (Robinson 82 mins), Poole, Sappleton, Benjamin (Ekim 64 mins), Imudia (Kouassi 64 mins)
Subs; Webber, Robinson, Ekim, Mann, Kouassi

Lowestoft Town: Jones, Williams, Gaughran, Gleeson, Stuart Ainsley, Henderson (Jack Ainsley 82 mins), Jarvis, Fisk, Eagle, Frew, Reed
Subs; Okay, Haynes-Brown, Jack Ainsley

Lowestoft Town put in a gutsy and determined performance on a heavy pitch to beat Billericay Town 1-0 and clock up their seventeenth clean sheet.

Lowestoft were greeted by a pitch that was totally different to the one that faced them when the game was postponed late on last time. It was still heavy and there was a heavily sanded area in the corner but after a number of efforts, the game was finally going ahead and credit had to go to the ground staff for getting it on during a time in which Billericay are suffering ongoing pitch issues.

Lowestoft made two changes from Saturday with Henderson in for Jack Ainsley and Stuart Ainsley in for Haynes-Brown. Billericay had the bulky, yet powerful Sappleton up top and ex-trawlerboy Benjamin, who no doubt was desperate to make a mark on his old club.

Lowestoft took to the pitch in white tops and red shorts as the game got underway.
There was little of any note at the start of the match and it wasn't until ten minutes in before an effort was sent in on goal and it was the home side who had it. Sappleton was picked out from the left flank and with him spinning on Gaughran just outside the area, he got a bending shot away that cleared Jones but was fractionally short of finding the net for the opening goal.
Three minutes later it was Lowestoft who were on the offensive with Reed stealing in on Rogers to win a corner and from the Eagle corner, Reed then glanced a header across goal and wide.
Both teams were now competing and settling into the pitch more as the fifteen minute mark arrived but it was still proving not to be the time of year or pitch for football to be easily played at feet.
Stuart Ainsley was putting in some good blocked tackles as Billericay showed strength to their game but nothing much was doing in the way of a goal scoring threat from either side.
The half hour mark arrived with Williams fouling and giving away a free-kick, which Poole sent in from the left to find Dunne at the far post and his header back into the area fell right to the feet of Benjamin but he fluffed the chance and didn't get enough of a connection on it to trouble the goal.
The game continued to have a competitive edge to it, even though some of the areas were now cutting up and making it tricky. However, the game was proving to me somewhat narrow, with neither side finding much width to their play.
Gaughran and Gleeson were having to work hard for Lowestoft against a powerful forward line but both were defending very well. However, the Lowestoft defence nearly got undone when Sappleton danced his way past a handful of white shirts and the ball broke nicely to Poole but he lashed his effort wide, much to the frustration of the home supporters.
The match was now into first half stoppage time and after having a fairly quite half, Henderson burst forward with the ball from midfield and with Reed then picking the ball up twenty-five yards out, he sent a shot swerving away from goal and just the wrong side of the post.
The half came to a close and it had been a half that was highly competitive and contained many free-kicks as a result. Both Frew and Reed were holding the ball up well but had found it hard to break down a solid Billericay rearguard. While the home sides attack had been frustrated by some excellent defending by Gaughran and co.

The second half saw the home side force a couple of early corners but these came to nothing, as Billericay looked to have come out for the second period on the front foot. The homes sides cause was also being aided by some wayward kicking by Lowestoft keeper Jones.
The Lowestoft midfield were looking for that key threaded pass but as of yet the Billericay defence were looking solid and unyielding.
A number of bookings were dealt out on the night and the first of three for Lowestoft, in a twenty minute period came when Stuart Ainsley went into the referees book for backchat. This was shortly followed by a Billericay booking for Scott, who went right through Reed as he was bursting forward.
The top right corner of the pitch was now cutting up badly and the heavy mix of sand and cut up grass was making attacking difficult. However, Lowestoft had now upped their game and work rate and as a result were now seeing more of the ball in the Billericay half, as the final twenty-five minutes of the match arrived.
Billericay then made a double change in the hope that some fresh legs could find them that all important first goal, as Ekim and Kouassi replaced Benjamin and Imudia.
Following on from Saturday at Carshalton, Frew had yet again shown some good hold-up play and some lovely touches and it was one of his lovely touches that finally broke the deadlock and gave reward to a Lowestoft side who were now starting to take charge of the game more. The lovely touch from Frew sent Reed in on goal and with the challenge coming the ball broke to Henderson, who calmly rounded the keeper to score and send Lowestoft 1-0 ahead (66 mins). It had been a tight and competitive game but Lowestoft deserved the lead after having upped their game and showing better movement and passing in this second period.
Just moment after taking the lead, Lowestoft nearly made it two with a miss-hit clearance falling nicely for Reed but a shell-shocked Billericay defence survived and the lead remained at one.
The final fifteen minutes of the match were now upon Lowestoft and with the pitch being so heavy, tired legs were surely about to come into play. However, Lowestoft showed little sign of tiring and if anything they rolled up their sleeves even further to ensure all of the points would return with them to Suffolk. Poole hit a free-kick from fully thirty-five yards for Billericay, that Jones had to turn around the post but Lowestoft were showing great energy levels and went in hunt of an all important second goal as the final ten minutes approached.
Jack Ainsley was introduced for goal scorer Henderson and Billericay made their final change with Robinson replacing Layne.
Frew, Reed and Jack Ainsley combined well to get into the Billericay box and carve open a chance at the far post for Eagle but he was unable to convert the effort, as stoppage time approached.
It was all looking good for Lowestoft but then in the Lowestoft goal, Jones provided all away supporters with a real heart-in-the-mouth moment. As the ball came towards Jones in the area it looked like being a simple case of picking the ball up but the Lowestoft stopper tried to play the ball with his feet and got himself in a right mess, presenting Robinson with a chance to severely punish him. However, the newly introduced Billericay substitute equally messed up and let a golden chance to steal a draw go begging. Things then got worse for the home side, as out on the flanks Sappleton clearly elbowed Stuart Ainsley and could have no complaints when the referee marched over and showed him a straight red card.
The stoppage time seemed to be going on forever and it was the home keeper this time who made a mistake, gifting the ball to Reed but the usually clinical Lowestoft striker couldn't convert and the defence cleared his effort from the goalmouth.
The missed chances late on for Lowestoft didn't matter though, as the final whistle eventually sounded and a gutsy and determined Lowestoft performance had secured the three points and the sides seventeenth clean sheet of the season.

It was another one of those winter month pitches that was never going to be conducive to flowing football and would always be a war of attrition between two competitive sides.
Lowestoft upped their game second half, rolled up the sleeves and showed the sort of guts and determination that is needed to claim a play-off spot.
Frew put in an exceptional performance alongside Reed, showing good hold up play again and some lovely touches; one of which played a part in the move that led to the winning goal.
It was the Lowestoft defence though that played a huge part against the Billericay forwards who were bulky, powerful and at times a handful. Gleeson was alert and confident in his defensive duties but it was Gaughran who claimed the Man of the Match honours with a faultless display of defending against a tough and powerful home attack.

It's two away wins from two for Lowestoft now and perfectly sets them up for the visit of Maidstone United on Saturday.

Come on you blues!!

Terry Bullen

Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

League round up

League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Wealdstone 46 96
2. Kingstonian 46 85
3. Bognor Regis Town 46 85
4. Lowestoft Town 46 84
5. AFC Hornchurch 46 83
6. Dulwich Hamlet 46 82
7. Maidstone United 46 81

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