FC United 6 Lowestoft Town 1: Blues slip deeper into relegation mire
- Credit: Matt Wilkinson/Focus Images Ltd
Many of Lowestoft Town's away trips this season will be tough enough at the best of times and the journey to the fantastic Broadhurst Park was set to be no exception.
And when the Blues' tactical plan of three at the back was binned inside the first five minutes due to injury to Andrew Fisk, there was a sense it would be a long afternoon.
But nothing could excuse the abject defensive performance and capitulation which followed, leaving more than 3,000 boisterous home fans chanting 'Can we play you every week?'.
After the early setback caused when Fisk received a ball in the face to leave him with blurred vision, Town were comfortable for the opening 20 minutes.
The two sides, level on league points at kick-off, seemed equally matched, and the visitors almost created the best chance but Ryan Jarvis failed to bring down a long pass from Robert Eagle.
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That was as good as it got for the Blues, who were without leading scorer Jake Reed and centre back Michael Spillane.
Halfway through the first period, the Trawlerboys failed to clear an innocuous looking cross and the ball fell to left back Chris Chantler, making his home debut, to fire low beyond another debutant, Mark Smith, in the Town goal.
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If the Blues' defending for the opening goal was poor, it was to get far worse in the final moments of the first half.
In injury-time, FC United skipper Tom Greaves was given an age in the Town box to fire home beyond Smith, despite twice miscontrolling. Moments later, centre back Lewis Lacy was given all the time in the world to score after his header from a corner had initially been stopped on the line.
At 3-0 down, Town did up their game briefly at the start of the second half and their best passing move saw Harvey Hodd's effort blocked on 54 minutes.
It was a brief respite and the defensive problems arose again on 62 minutes, as Lacy was allowed another free header from a corner. Keeper Smith failed to gather the weak effort and Sam Madeley tapped home.
The home fans, who sang throughout, were momentarily silenced nine minutes later when sub Danny Crow's volleyed flick from a Shaun Bammant cross snuck in at the near post.
But they had more to sing about as FC United sub Greg Daniels tangled with Jack Ainsley by the corner flag and wriggled free of his man before rifling home from an acute angle on 80 minutes.
The coup de grace came in stoppage time as another sub, Craig Lindfield, was left all alone to volley home number six from six yards.
At the final whistle, Town's players shuffled off, while the FC United men did a lap of honour as if they had won the league.
Regardless of the result, both sides will continue to face a fight to avoid relegation, but after this display, the battle appears far tougher for the Blues.