Aveley 0, Lowestoft Town 1

It wasn't pretty, but Lowestoft Town put another three points in the bag after another 'ugly' win against a very physical Aveley side who had several players booked and one sent off.

But whatever the quality of the entertainment – and Scott Mitchell's winning goal was out of the top drawer – the result cut the gap betweeen the Blues and table-topping Billericay to just two points.

With Andrew Fisk suspended Erkan Okay moved into midfield with Andrew Cave-Brown returning at right back slot. Michael Frew replaced Adrian Forbes up front alongside Matt Nolan.

The tone of the game was set inside two minutes with Ellis Remy lucky to escape with just a stern talking to by the referee after a very high tackle laid out Andy Reynolds.

A difficult uneven pitch did little to aid flowing football and despite dominating possession Lowestoft were not creating many clear cut chances.

A Joe Francis cross was retrieved beyond the far post by Nolan who played the ball back for Lubo Guentchev whose cross was inches too far for the diving Frew.

The only goal of the game came in the 22nd minute from another free-kick. Frew was brought down just outside the home penalty area and Mitchell stepped up to curl the free-kick round the defensive wall and just inside the post.

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Despite dominating possession for the rest of the half, Lowestoft could not find the cushion of a second goal with keeper Dave McCartney saving one handed from a Guentchev header and then holding Frew's 25 yarder.

The second half started in a similar vein to the first and inside two minutes Reynolds was again laid low by a high tackle, this time by Spencer Harrison.

The referee took firmer action this time by cautioning the Aveley central defender and when the same player repeated the offence just three minutes later, this time on Okay, he was shown a second yellow card followed by a red.

With the man advantage the Blues still failed to make their superiority tell and were guilty of some wasteful finishing. Frew escaped down the right and his cross was scooped over the bar by Guentchev.

Greg Crane met a Guentchev corner but his close range header went the wrong wide of the post. The best chance of the lot fell to substitute Chris Henderson who was picked out with a glorious reverse pass from Nolan but after taking the ball forward he sent his shot wide.

• Aveley: McCartney, Wilson (D Francis, 59), Read, Bonnett-Johnson, Harrison, Milton, May, Hyde, Remy, Manderson (Andrews, 53), Kovassi (Thompson, 63), Subs not used Warren, Stanley.

• Lowestoft: Reynolds, Cave-Brown, Smith, Okay, Crane, Mitchell, Guentchev (Onuchukwu, 77), Cockrill, Nolan, Frew, Francis (Henderson, 59), Subs not used: Gaughran, Ainsley, Forshaw.