Lowestoft Town 3 Margate 0
Lowestoft Town keep another clean sheet and put in a clinical performance to beat a hard working Margate side 3-0.
Lowestoft Town: Jones, Gleeson, Gaughran, Haynes-Brown, Smith (Stuart Ainsley 54 mins), Jack Ainsley, Jarvis, Fisk, Eagle, Osei (Doddington 90+ Mins), Reed (Henderson 46 mins)
Subs; Stuart Ainsley, Okay, Henderson, Doddington, Jessup
Margate: Holloway, Cox, Dolby, Avery, Vines, Borrowdale, Whitely, Fakinos (Sammoutis 76 mins), Walsh, Ademeno, Bodkin
Subs; Azeez, Ehui, Sammoutis, Beale, Osborn
Lowestoft Town keep another clean sheet and put in a clinical performance to beat a hard working Margate side 3-0, to move just seven points off the top of the table.
The game was preceded by a minutes silence for 89 year old Stephen Stead (father of David Stead) who was one of Lowestoft's oldest supporters but sadly passed away this week.
Lowestoft were forced into one change from their win at Lewes with Gleeson returning from illness and replacing the suspended Williams at right back.
The match got underway with Lowestoft playing some lovely football right from the off and with just three minutes gone, they took the lead. Following some good football and build-up play, Eagle sent in a great ball from the left and like a true goal poacher, Reed was at hand close in to make it 1-0 (3 mins).
It was the perfect of starts for Lowestoft but Margate responded with some good football of their own with Whitely whipping a ball in and with Bodkin getting across the front of Jones, it just needed a touch but luckily for Lowestoft no touch came.
Margate were now settling into the game and the right winger Whitely looked like he was going to be a handful for Smith, as Margate started to apply some pressure on the Lowestoft defence.
Margate continued to show a good tempo to their play as the twenty minute mark passed and they were certainly giving Lowestoft a game, who were now struggling to get a foothold.
The tall striker Walsh was putting himself about and working the Lowestoft defence hard, as a scramble in the Lowestoft area was eventually cleared by the blues.
Lowestoft were certainly thankful for their early goal, as the half hour mark passed and Margate were not easing off in their effort and determination to breach the Lowestoft rear guard. A super tackle by Haynes-Brown in a dangerous area managed to keep Margate out but they were now holding the edge in the game. Lowestoft were having to earn their crust in defence but were coping well and as a result Margate hadn't forced Jones into any real action.
A scuffle on the ground between Gleeson and Ademeno saw both players go into the referees book, as the game took on the shape of being an intriguing battle between two solid sides.
Gleeson had mainly been defending for the first thirty minutes of the match but with him getting forward and stealing the ball off the Margate defence, a chance opened up for him but his shot was right into the keepers clutches.
Lowestoft were now getting out of their own half more and with Eagle lurking on the edge of the box, it looked as if he was shaping to slide it off to someone else but cleverly got a shot away and forced the keeper Holloway to push it away at the foot of the post. Lowestoft were now starting to get on the front foot and were applying some pressure of their own, as half time approached.
A lovely back heal by Jack Ainsley sent Haynes-Brown away down the left but in full flow he was completely wiped out by the right back Cox, who went into the referees book for his troubles.
It had been a fairly even half but Margate hadn't created any real chances, whereas Lowestoft had and with the break approaching Lowestoft yet again showed clinical precision in front of goal to double their lead. A free-kick was sent in from the right and with Gaughran heading it down and forcing the keeper to save, all the Margate shot stopper could do was to push it into the path of the waiting Osei, who was at hand to make it 2-0 (42 mins).
As the half time whistle sounded Lowestoft had been given a good battling half of football by Margate but crucially the blues had taken their chances and left the pitch happy with a two goal cushion.
After being involved in a clash of heads just before the break, Reed was suffering in the dressing room with concussion and with him being sent to hospital to be checked over, Henderson was introduced for the second half.
Lowestoft started the second half by pressing high up the pitch and were putting together some good football on the deck to disrupt the Margate defence. The Lowestoft faithful were also doing their bit with the stands roaring out endless chants of 'come on you blues'.
Lowestoft were forced into their second change of the game, as Smith left the pitch with a hamstring injury and was replaced at left back by Stuart Ainsley.
Lowestoft were now applying good spells of pressure to keep Margate penned in their half and were also closing down quickly whenever the opposition did win possession.
Margate still had plenty of fight in them though and eventually managed to put together some sustained possession of their own, with Walsh ensuring that Gaughran and Haynes-Brown had to stay alert at the back. A stinging effort by Fakinos saw Jones called into action and shortly after a Margate corner was met by the head of Walsh but his free header went right into the grasp of Jones. Since his introduction, Henderson was making plenty of runs to pull the Margate defence about and even though he hadn't cut them open, he did draw a foul and a booking for the opposition, winning a free-kick for Lowestoft on the left. The resulting free-kick was sent in by Jack Ainsley and with Gaughran making a lovely angled run across the defence, he left them for dead as he powered home a superb header into the top corner for 3-0 (66 mins).
The points now looked secure for Lowestoft and as the final fifteen minutes approached the blues looked comfortable and in control. Margate to their credit were still working hard and were not giving in but Lowestoft were looking very solid in midfield and at the back.
Margate made their first and only change with Sammoutis replacing Fakinos but Lowestoft continued to see the game out.
A fourth goal was in the offing to cap a fine result but with Lowestoft spilling forward through Osei, Henderson and Jack Ainsley, the passing wasn't quite crisp enough and the Margate defence cleared.
Margate kept working right up until the final whistle but with a late change for Lowestoft and them seeing the minutes down, it was another impressive result and performance from the Trawlerboys.
Lowestoft are now keeping plenty of clean sheets but they are also now looking clinical in front of goal, which is proving to be a lethal combination for them at present.
Yet again there were a number of great performances on the pitch and even though Jarvis and Fisk had held the midfield and team together well, the central defensive pairing of Gaughran and Haynes-Brown were simply magnificent. The tall and hard to defend against Walsh, kept Sam and Curtis on their toes all game but the pair were instrumental in delivering another clean sheet.
My Man of the Match quite simply had to be Sam Gaughran for another talisman like performance in defence, an assist and a fantastic header that was right out of the top draw. Well played Sam!!
After being checked over at hospital Jake Reed returned to the ground shortly after the final whistle and even though he was a bit sore, he had been given the all clear.
After the match I grabbed a word with a jubilant Sam Gaughran:-
Another clean sheet and three more points, you must be happy with that?
"Yeah, that's the most important thing as clean sheets are what defenders and goalkeepers look for, so we're absolutely delighted with that".
Their number 9 looked big and a bit of a handful but I thought you and Curtis were brilliant at the back today?
"To be fair to him, he was a bit of a handful. He was different to a lot of the strikers in the league as he doesn't stand on you he stands behind you, so you never really know where he is. I think we dealt with him really well".
You're starting to get involved in the goal scoring charts now with another goal today?
"It's about time I did to be fair, as the amount of chances I missed last year and before, it's about time I started scoring some goals".
Lowestoft Town are next in action this coming Tuesday, when they welcome Leiston to the Crown Meadow in the third round of the Robert Dyas League Cup.