East Thurrock 0, Lowestoft Town 2

Lowestoft underlined their credentials as Ryman League Premier Division promotion candidates as they moved into fourth place with a 2-0 victory at East Thurrock.

In a hard-fought battle, the Trawlerboys were reduced to 10 men after 30 minutes when Michael Frew was shown a red card for a lunging tackle on the heavy pitch.

But they refused to dwell on the setback and after Joe Francis had had a goal disallowed for offside, they took the lead five minutes later.

A moment of madness by Kris Newby, who punched Blues striker Jack Defty in full view of the referee, led to Newby being given his marching orders.

There was more bad news for the hosts as Dale Cockrill stepped up to convert the resultant penalty.

The home side dominated the second half but Defty's 81st-minute close-range finish to convert a low cross after a flowing move involving several players secured the points for the Suffolk club who have firmly put last month's injury woes behind them.

Joint-manager Adie Gallagher praised his players for the victory over a side, who, despite their lowly third-from-bottom position, had only previously suffered one home defeat, in 13 league games.

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'We controlled most of the first half but they really came at us in the second half and we had to defend manfully in the conditions to make sure we preserved a clean sheet.'

Of Frew's red card he commented: 'It was a bit of a lunge but I didn't think it was malicious.

'It was a heavy pitch and it was a slightly mistimed challenge but there was no real intent to do any harm. I felt it was harsh.'

Gallagher is hoping the improved form can pave the way for a New Year promotion challenge.

'We had a difficult November due to the amount of injuries we had and we weren't really getting too much luck in games. In the last four games we have had three wins and a draw which is really satisfying but there is still a lot of work to do. It's important that we don't get too carried away.'

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