AFC Hornchurch 1, Lowestoft Town 2
There was no disguising the satisfaction of the Lowestoft management team after they had watched their side earn three valuable points to move back into the play-off positions in the Ryman Premier Division.
Their hosts AFC Hornchurch were themselves defending an 11 match unbeaten league run which had seen them soar up the table.
Lowestoft showed both sides of their game defying a very heavy pitch to provide some flowing attacking football in the first half but also prepared to buckle down to defend solidly in the second period when they were put under some intense pressure.
Straight from the kick off Hornchurch's leading scorer Martin Tuohy was clear on goal but shot tamely at Andy Reynolds. Lowestoft immediately played the ball forward where Scott Mitchell squared the ball to Dale Cockrill to pick his spot from 12 yards to put Lowestoft ahead inside the first minute.
Hornchurch had hardly realised what had hit them when they found themselves two goals down in the sixth minute. A cross from Joe Francis was cleared out of the area but, as Billy Coyne dwelt on the ball, Francis reclaimed the ball and crossed again into the area where Dale Cockrill was again on the spot to hit home off the post.
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Cockrill almost turned villain as he was penalised 30 yards out and Jonathan Hunt's quickly taken free-kick found Tuohy in space but his shot hit the base of the post and bounced clear.
Lowestoft's intricate approach work was causing Hornchurch many problems and Francis was only inches wide after being set up by Matt Nolan and Scott Mitchell.
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Lowestoft thought they had added a third goal as Lee McGlone headed powerfully home from Scott Mitchell's corner but the effort was ruled out for an infringement.
As the first half came to a close Andy Reynolds produced an excellent save form Billy Coyne from a long throw by Elliott Styles.
As expected Lowestoft came under some heavy pressure at the start of the second period and the home side were rewarded with a 54th minute goal. A right wing corner was headed into the net by Ricky Hayles from close range.
Matt Nolan was high and wide from an opening created by Andy Fisk, Andy Cave-Brown and Lee McGlone.
With the heavy conditions taking their toll less was seen from Lowestoft as an attacking force but their defensive qualities then took centre stage. Andy Reynolds produced a stunning point blank save to deny Hornchurch's liveliest forward Lewis Smith and Andrew Cave-Brown dived to head clear to deny Michael Spencer.
Lowestoft were not finished as an attacking force and Andy Fisk stabbed just wide after Matt Nolan had flicked on a Greg Crane free-kick.
Adam Smith also saw a 25 yard free-kick turned on to the post and wide by Darren Behcet in the home goal.
As the game reached the 90 minute mark Cave-Brown and Greg Crane again produced excellent clearing headers before loud groans emerged from the travelling Trawlerboys as the sign indicated an additional 10 minutes.
The Blues safely negotiated nine-and-a-half of those minutes before Lowestoft's Scott Mitchell and Hornchurch's Joe Benjamin were shown straight red cards after challenging for a 50-50 ball.
• AFC Hornchurch: Behcet, Coyne, Holloway, Styles (Benjamin, 77), Hayles, Hunt, Eyong (Collis, 54), Curley, Tuohy, L Smith, Spencer.
Subs not used: Fletcher, McSweeney, Ramkin.
• Lowestoft Town: Reynolds, Cave-Brown. A Smith, Fisk, Crane, Gaughran, Mitchell. Cockrill, McGlone, Nolan (Halliday, 74), Francis (Forshaw, 87),
Subs not used: Ainsley, Godbold, Stock.
• Attendance: 318