Lewes 0 Lowestoft Town 2
In a fiery encounter with both sides ending the match with ten men, Lowestoft Town get a deserved 2-0 win at Lewes.
Lewes: Banks, Sam Crabb, Cole, Lovett, Pearson, Walder, Wheeler, Dixon (Fenwick 63 mins), Smith (Hall 71 mins), Nathan Crabb, Logan
Subs; Brinkhurst, Hall, Austin, Fenwick, Hendon
Lowestoft Town: Jones, Williams, Haynes-Brown (Henderson 66 mins), Gaughran, Smith, Jack Ainsley, Fisk, Jarvis, Eagle, Osei (Stuart Ainsley 90+ mins), Reed (Frew 90+ mins)
Subs; Stuart Ainsley, Okay, Henderson, Frew, Jessup
In a fiery encounter with both sides ending the match with ten men, Lowestoft Town get a deserved 2-0 win to inflict the first home defeat of the season on Lewes at the Dripping Pan.
The last three visits to the dripping pan for Lowestoft have brought two defeats and a draw, at an unhappy hunting ground for the blues but the team more than made up for their under par showing against Cray Wanderers last weekend.
Gleeson was missing with illness and was replaced in the starting line-up by Haynes-Brown. While Henderson returned to the squad with a place on the bench.
It was a perfect day for football with clear blue skies and no wind as the game got underway on a pitch that was in fairly good shape considering the weather of late.
The first twenty minutes was pretty tight and tetchy stuff, as both sides failed to fully settle. However, Lowestoft did carve out a golden opportunity in that period with a long ball picking out Reed in the box and with him doing well to shake off Lovett, he laid the ball back to Osei right in front of goal but he blasted what was a great chance over the bar.
Not long passed before Lowestoft had another chance to take the lead, this time coming from a poor kick by Lewes keeper Banks. His poor kick went straight to the feet of Eagle and with him lifting a ball forward and into Reed, the Lowestoft striker was in on goal but lashed his shot wide of the upright. Lewes hadn't really threatened Lowestoft and it was two good chances for the blues, who were hoping the misses wouldn't come back to haunt them in the final outcome.
In some games this season Lowestoft keeper Jones has been in trouble for kicking outside his area and yet again he was playing with fire, stealing an extra yard outside the box to send a few kicks forward, much to the annoyance of the home fans behind his goal.
Lewes hadn't looked like threatening in the opening period but with a ball sent up to Nathan Crabb he got the better of Gaughran and was able to send a ball across the box to Smith but with him looking ideally placed to stab home from close in, he stumbled and the chance went begging.
As the thirty minute mark passed it was two good chances to one for Lowestoft but in the whole it was still proving to be a close fought and tight battle with both teams working hard and the game not really bursting into life.
Nathan Crabb picked up a booking for the home side after going through the back of Osei, as the remainder of the half was played out and Lowestoft went in at halftime having created the best chances and edging possession, with Jarvis in particular showing a high success rate in his passing.
Lowestoft started the second half with an extra spring in their step and with just five second half minutes on the board, they took the lead. A high pass forward from the centre circle by Smith was headed down to Osei in the area by Gaughran and with the goal scoring predator spinning on the ball to open the goal up, he finished with great aplomb for 1-0 (50 mins).
Lewes nearly struck back in double quick time with a ball coming in from the left and Smith getting on the end of it with his head but with Lowestoft keeper Jones rooted to the spot his header came back into play off the bar.
Lowestoft had certainly come out with an extra ten percent in their work rate and their goal had forced the game to open up more with both sets of players now seeing more space and time on the ball. Lowestoft were showing a good tempo to their play with Jarvis and Eagle starting to pull a few strings and Fisk snapping and snarling in midfield to win the battles. Osei had also upped his game and was now fully settling into the team, finding the same wavelength as his team mates and showing some clever football to threaten and also bring others into the game.
Great play from Eagle slide in Smith on the left side of the area and his squared ball found Reed but his chance flashed wide as Lowestoft looked hungry for a second goal.
Lewes were forced into their first change just after the sixty minute mark with Dixon coming off worse in a clash with Fisk and being replaced by Fenwick.
Eagle picked up the first booking of the game for Lowestoft in the 65th minute after being too close to a free-kick but it didn't knock him off his stride, with him playing a part in Lowestoft then winning a penalty. With Eagle sliding in Reed and him spinning in the area to work an opening, he was bundled over by Pearson in the box and the referee immediately pointed to the spot. Up stepped Reed but with him hitting a very poor penalty the keeper pushed it away with ease and with Osei putting the rebound wide of the far post, you couldn't help but feel that the missed opportunity could prove costly with twenty five minutes still to play.
The Lowestoft defence had so far kept ten clean sheets this season and were yet again looking solid with Gaughran, Haynes-Brown, Williams and Smith keeping it tight. Haynes-Brown in particular was putting in a commanding performance at the back but with it being his first game since returning from an injury he started to feel a bit tight and tired in the legs and was replaced by Henderson, as Lowestoft reshuffled.
As the final twenty minutes approached a bit of needle started to creep into the game with Lewes getting frustrated and Lowestoft unwilling to back off and make it easy for them.
Lewes made another substitution and started to up their work rate but Lowestoft were battling hard and were looking resolute in defence.
The best football move of the game then saw Lowestoft double their lead and give themselves a bit of breathing space. Some great football started with Jack Ainsley on the right and then Henderson getting involved, before an overhead kick by Reed ended at the feet of Eagle who wrong footed the keeper and finished well for 2-0 (73 mins).
There was a beautiful red sunset on the skyline as the final stages of the game approached and red was the colour of the mist that then descended on the pitch, with a huge scuffle involving all players in the middle of the pitch. The referee and linesman convened to discuss the scuffle before the referee put Logan and Walder in his book for Lewes, Fisk for Lowestoft and then a second booking for Nathan Crabb, as he was sent from the pitch and Lewes were reduced to ten. Smith had also got involved for Lowestoft initially and was lucky to avoid a card himself after lashing out. Not long passed before it was ten men on both sides but Eagle could count himself unlucky when picking up a second booking for a minor offence and being given his marching orders with five minutes of the game remaining.
Smith was booked for time wasting late on for Lowestoft as Stuart Ainsley replaced Osei and the game went into seven minutes of stoppage time. A bizarre booking in stoppage time was given to Frew, who was waiting to replace Reed on the touch line but was booked for time wasting.
The final whistle soon followed though and the late booking didn't distract from what had been a great performance by Lowestoft and a solid, well deserved three points.
The Lowestoft defence had put in a resolute rearguard display again, restricting Lewes to just two chances in the whole match and were ably covered by a snapping, snarling and industrious shift put in by Fisk. Both Jarvis and Eagle were pulling strings for Lowestoft, especially in the second half and played a big part in opening the game up. My Man of the Match though was Manny Osei. He didn't have a great first half but is new to the side and in the second half he fully settled into the team and was regularly on the same wavelength as his team mate. He showed some clever touches and not only looked lively up top but also brought others into the game when dropping off the front line to touch the ball off, before spinning back into space.
After the match I caught up with the Man of the Match Osei to talk about the performance and his goal:-
Coming out for the game you said to me you were going to score and that's what you did?
"Yeah but to be fair I missed one in the first half when I should have scored but it did take a bobble. However I still expect to score those sort of chances. As the game went on I kind of got more comfortable and obviously it's only my second game with the lads, so it's been a case of me getting used to everyone's style of play. The goal was pretty decent to be fair, as Sam flicked it on and I touched it across my body before volleying it in, so I'm happy with the goal and happy with the win, as we worked really hard today".
You touched on the team working hard today and it was a great performance, inflicting their first home defeat of the season on them?
"They're a strong side at home and when I was here with my previous team (Met Police) we found it difficult. They work hard but we worked harder and that's what's excellent about Lowestoft with the team ethic and great work rate".
It got a little bit fiery at the end there, did you see much of what went on?
"It was just handbags really but that's football and it happens".
Lowestoft are next in action on Tuesday night when they travel to Billericay again, this time hoping to get the game played.