Margate 3 Lowestoft Town 0
After being a clear second in the first half, Lowestoft Town start brightly in the second but fall away and get soundly beaten 3-0 at Margate.
Margate: Bull, Nelson, Rents, Allen, Stuart, Beckles, Sammoutis, Phipp (Artemi 80 mins), Louis, Wishart (Wishart 73 mins), Bodkin
Subs; Artemi, Holloway, Wilson, Ademeno, Riviere
Lowestoft Town: Jones, Williams, Gleeson, Gaughran, Haynes-Brown, Jack Ainsley, Jarvis, Fisk (Okay 78 mins), Eagle (Smith 78 mins) Henderson (Frew 71 mins), Reed
Subs; Stuart Ainsley, Frew, Okay, Smith, Jessup
After being a clear second in the first half, Lowestoft Town start brightly in the second but fall away and get soundly beaten 3-0 at Margate with Jefferson Louis scoring two stunning goals.
Williams and Henderson both passed late fitness tests, with the only change to the Lowestoft side seeing the returning Reed come in for Frew.
The game got underway on a good looking surface with Lowestoft in a strip of red, white and blue and as per in previous games at Hartsdown Park, there was a stern breeze blowing.
In the very first minute Jack Ainsley found Henderson in the box from the right but his miss-control of the ball saw the early chance go missing for Lowestoft.
The Margate captain and defender Stuart had been snarling at his players to switch on right from the off and with just five minutes on the board it was Stuart who gave his side the lead. Bodkin delivered a free-kick from the left wing and with Stuart unmarked at the far post it was all too easy for him to head in for 1-0 (5 mins).
It had been a fairly sloppy start by Lowestoft with a number of passes going wayward and with Bodkin finding space on the edge of the area, he fired over.
Lowestoft were second to everything and with fifteen minutes gone, Margate were applying all the pressure.
Lowestoft then caused the first bit of concern for the Margate defence, as an Eagle corner found Gaughran at the far post but his downward header was cleared off the line at the foot of the post by the defender.
As the thirty minute mark approached Lowestoft were working harder to try and get possession but were still struggling to get any sort of rhythm to their play.
Louis was already proving a handful for the Lowestoft defence and with him getting in behind, Margate should have been two up. However, with Louis finding Wishart from the byline, Wishart had an open goal from a couple of yards out but he unbelievably hit his shot across the face of goal, messing up a golden chance.
Sammoutis then tried one from distance for the home side but Jones was down on it comfortably and shortly after had to save again as Wishart spun in the box to get a shot away. Margate were looking ominously comfortable and well up for the game as their captain Stuart continued to fire his team on.
Jack Ainsley picked up a booking as his frustrations spilled out against the linesman but with the break approaching, Lowestoft were seeing a bit more of the ball and showing some fight against a tough to break down Margate defence.
Overall it had been a half that hadn't contained an awful lot of football but with a moment of magic, Louis struck a match changing blow to the hearts of the Lowestoft players. As the ball came in from the right the Lowestoft defence were tight on the tall and powerful forward but with him holding off his marker and holding the ball up brilliantly on his chest, he spun to finish magnificently across goal and into the far corner for 2-0 (44 mins). It was a real blow for Lowestoft who were hoping to go off just one goal behind to regroup at the break but their task was now a stiff one.
The second half started with a lot more urgency being shown by Lowestoft, who no doubt were in the hunt for an early goal to reduce the deficit.
The Margate defence was looking solid and had the pace to deal with any Lowestoft runners but they were being asked more questions.
A foul on Henderson in the middle of the park saw the referee wave the advantage and with Gaughran and Jack Ainsley combine to get up to the box for Lowestoft, Jack Ainsley pulled the ball back across the box but it was well stopped and grappled in by the keeper Bull.
Fifteen of the second half had gone and it was much better by Lowestoft but they were still missing that end product to puncture the home sides rearguard.
That was until Lowestoft come out from the back at pace with Haynes-Brown, who carried the ball through the middle and towards the area before putting Reed in to his left with a timely pass but with just the keeper to beat, Reed did all he could but the keeper got down to save well and steer the ball to safety.
It was a chance that seemed to make Margate sit up, as they started to find the corners again and stretch the Lowestoft defence. The home side were looking a threat again and with Eagle getting booked for a lunge on the touchline, the play started to swing back in favour of Margate.
Frew was introduced for Henderson and immediately following the change Margate fired another warning shot at Lowestoft with Sammoutis having a shot blocked and Allen then drilling a deflected effort over.
The game was then put to bed with another stunning strike by Louis, as he grabbed his second and the third for Margate. It was an unstoppable and stunning volley from distance, that rifled right into the top corner and was worthy of winning any match; 3-0 (73 mins). The third goal was instantly met by Margate introducing some fresh legs, as Ademeno replaced Wishart.
It looked like getting worse for Lowestoft when a corner was met by the head of Beckles in the Lowestoft box but Jones was at hand to tip the effort over the bar.
A double Lowestoft change saw Eagle and Fisk replaced by Smith and Okay but it was Margate who were finishing with a flurry and with Ademeno getting in behind the defence, Jones was forced to save again, this time with his feet.
As the final minutes ticked away Reed was left sitting on the touchline injured and with Lowestoft having already used all their subs, the final whistle couldn't come soon enough.
The minutes ticked down and both Jarvis for Lowestoft and Allen for Margate picked up bookings but the four minutes of stoppage time ran down and Margate had secured all the points with a 3-0 win.
It had been a bad day for Lowestoft but it was just a single game and had come on the back of an eight game unbeaten run, containing six wins. It was therefore a disappointment but hadn't done too much damage to their continued play-off push, in which Lowestoft are still very much in the mix.
Special mention has to go to young reserve team striker Luke Bailey, who travelled with the side as back-up for Williams and Henderson in case they failed fitness tests. As a result, Bailey didn't make the squad but showed a fantastic attitude and mentality on the day.
Gaughran was a stand-out figure in the Lowestoft defence but in my view he was pipped to the post for the Man of the Match honours by Jones, who made a number of saves to stop Margate from scoring more.
Focus will now be on Tuesday for the visit of Wingate and Finchley, as Lowestoft look to respond and push on again.