Lowestoft Town 2 Dulwich Hamlet 0
Lowestoft Town put in an epic performance of football to beat high flying Dulwich Hamlet 2-0.
Lowestoft Town: Jones, Jack Ainsley, Williams, Gaughran, Stuart Ainsley, Henderson (Smith 85 mins), Jarvis, Okay, Eagle, Osei (Bailey 90+ mins), Reed
Subs; Smith, Bailey, Fitzgerald, Haizel, Jessup
Dulwich Hamlet: Wilson, Walker, Pinnock, Crook, Adeniyi, Gonsalves, Clunis (Pinney 54 mins), James, Daly (Green 66 mins), Oztumer, Lodge (Vidal 77 mins)
Subs; Green, Okoye, Pinney, Darboe, Vidal
Lowestoft Town put in an epic performance of football to beat high flying Dulwich Hamlet 2-0 with every player in a blue shirt putting in an outstanding effort.
With several games called off due to waterlogged pitches, praise has to go to the Lowestoft groundsman David Page for his hard work all this week and prior to the game, to ensure the match was on.
Lowestoft are still in the middle of an injury crisis but were relieved to see two faces return with Okay starting and Smith taking up a place on the bench. The most notable name on the Dulwich Hamlet team sheet was the small but very dangerous Oztumer.
The match was preceded by a minutes silence to remember lifelong Lowestoft supporter Stan Rayner who had sadly passed away.
The game got underway with Lowestoft kicking into a strong wind and the opening ten minutes of the match saw a very open and high tempo game being played by both sides.
For Lowestoft, Reed showed great power down the right and his squared ball was just shy of Osei, who was running in on goal. At the other end Daly was found in the Lowestoft box but the defence was alert and snuffed out the danger from Dulwich.
As the twenty minute mark passed Lowestoft started to impose themselves on the game more with Eagle getting his foot on the ball regularly and both Osei and Reed making some good runs.
Great build up play ended with Jarvis and Henderson combining, with the later sending a ball across the Dulwich box but it was out of reach of Osei at the far post.
Lowestoft were now in the ascendancy but even though Osei was showing some good skill and movement, his final ball was letting him down. This didn't stop Lowestoft pressing on though and with thirty minutes gone they looked in control with the creative Eagle popping up everywhere and Okay and Jarvis winning the midfield battles, resulting in Lowestoft retaining possession really well.
The Dulwich defence were looking solid but Lowestoft were working very hard playing good, patient and confident football.
The returning Okay picked out a great pass to find Osei in space down the right but with a poor final touch the chance went begging, with Reed free in the middle and waiting to be found.
Lowestoft were quicker to the ball and were making it hard for Dulwich to get into the game. Even when Dulwich did come forward the Lowestoft defence was looking well organised with Williams and Gaughran as solid as ever. Stuart Ainsley in particular was also putting in another good showing with some no nonsense defending and good distribution from left back.
As halftime approached Osei bent an effort wide and literally on the stroke of halftime Dulwich had a glorious opportunity to go in at the break undeservedly in front. Clunis came inside from the right flank and sent a well placed pass right across the front of goal but from just a couple of yards out, Lodge stabbed an excellent chance wide. It would have been harsh on Lowestoft to go in at the break losing as it had been a great half by them in which the Dulwich danger man Oztumer had been kept quite by the hard work of both Okay and Jarvis.
The second half started with Lowestoft now having the wind behind them, which had now also been joined by a persistent drizzle of rain.
All the first half had missed for Lowestoft was a goal but that was put right just minutes into the second half. From an Eagle corner the ball went right across the box and missed everyone except Gaughran, who was at the far post to bundle it home for 1-0 (48 mins).
Eagle picked up the first of three bookings for Lowestoft moments later. Then Dulwich made their first change of the game as the ex Carshalton forward Pinney replaced Clunis.
Eagle was yet again looking a threat with his skill and footwork and with him using the wind to his assistance, he sent an effort in on goal from all of forty yards, forcing the keeper to turn it behind.
Lowestoft were playing in the same fashion they had in the first half, knocking the ball around on the deck with great confidence, forcing the Dulwich defence to work hard and as a result winning a few corners. It was from a Lowestoft corner that the second goal came for the blues with Eagle seeing his corner nearly go straight in at the far post but Jarvis was at hand to make sure for 2-0 (55 mins).
Moments later an Eagle free-kick was only pushed away by the Dulwich keeper Wilson but Lowestoft were unable to capitalise.
Another Eagle free-kick from way out on the right nearly turned into a spectacular goal with the wind catching his shaped kick nicely, flying over the keeper and coming crashing back off the bar, forcing the keeper to save from the follow up shot.
Twenty minutes of the second half had now passed and Lowestoft were flying with some impressive and dominant football over a side who are in great form and had recently beaten Maidstone.
Lowestoft continued to look like the only team who would add to the scoreline as Henderson fizzed one over from the edge of the area.
Dulwich tried to get a response by introducing Green for Daly but in truth Lowestoft were winning their battles all over the pitch and looked strong in all areas of the team.
Lowestoft thought they had added a third with Henderson cutting in from the right and finding Eagle but with the keeper saving and the ball rolling towards goal, Reed finished it off, only to then see the linesman waving for offside.
With the exception of the chance right at the end of the first half, Dulwich had not created any other chance on goal. This was mainly down to the Lowestoft midfield winning their battles and the Lowestoft defence showing great organisation, especially through the authoritative Gaughran.
Dulwich made their final change of the game and with ten minutes remaining their frustrations were captured in a tackle that went right through the back of Eagle and earned James a booking.
Adam Smith was introduced for a struggling Henderson with five minutes remaining and shortly after Osei went into the referees book. Williams was unfortunate to also join him in the book in stoppage time as Lowestoft made their final change and saw out the last minutes to secure a well deserved three points.
It was a great result and performance against a very strong side, in which Lowestoft looked impressive in all areas of the game. The side are still struggling with injuries and are up against the wall at present but today showed the unquestionable fight and determination that every single player has inside of them for this club. With the current squad size, injuries and budget it will no doubt continue to be a testing season but with performances like that, Lowestoft will keep fighting to the end.
Every player was outstanding today and even when trying to think of a Man of the Match, at least five players immediately come to mind. Gaughran scored from a corner yet again and defended with his usual brilliance. While Stuart Ainsley put in a no nonsense performance and yet again showed good distribution from left back. Eagle was masterful once again and notched up two more assists to take his tally to ten assists for the season. However, for me the midfield pairing of Okay and Jarvis were superb today in ensuring Oztumer didn't affect the game and also crucially winning all of the battles in the middle, which gave Lowestoft such a strong foothold in the game. For such a strong performance and also getting on the score sheet, my Man of the Match is Rossi Jarvis.
After the match I grabbed Jarvis for a chat about the game and his own performance (parts missing as wind made recording inaudible):-
An outstanding performance in all departments by the team today, you must be happy with that?
"Yeah very happy as we're down to the bare bones at present with players being injured and it's a tough period. It was a great result and performance".
Yourself and Erkan Okay were key in winning the midfield battles and you seemed to deal with their danger man Oztumer really well?
"Our game plan was to keep him out of the game and myself and Erkan did that well".
You grabbed yourself a goal and hit the post last week, is goals something you're looking to add to your game?
"I need to, as that's the only thing I don't really have in my game at present so it's nice to get on the score sheet".
Lowestoft Town are next in action when they travel to Leiston on Boxing Day. Please note that this is a 1pm kick-off and extra parking will be on offer (details to follow on website tomorrow).