Has the penny finally dropped for Lowestoft Town?
Lowestoft Town director of football Craig Fleming believes 'the penny has dropped' with his side after watching the Blues dismantle Margate at Crown Meadow.
The Trawlerboys' season so far has been undermined by an inconsistency that look like threatening their hopes of promotion. For every high point like the wins over Kingstonian or Hornchurch a reality check has too often followed demonstrated in the surprise defeats to Hendon or Cray Wanderers.
The management team have identified that their side's mentality against some of division's lower lights needed to change and that process took a promising turn on Saturday after goals from Jake Reed, Manny Osei and Sam Gaughran handed Lowestoft all three points.
'I think the penny might have dropped with them a little bit,' said Fleming, whose sit in seventh place four points outside the play-offs. 'We've had a good chat with them and we know the mental side of the game is more important than anything else.
'It's not that they didn't want it (against Cray) or anything like that. It's just subtle psychological things. You've got to try and get yourself up for every game like it's the most important one of your career. That's what we try to get across to them.'
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Fleming hailed the contribution of Osei, who has settled quickly into his new surroundings following his move from Metropolitan Police. Fleming admitted that he feared the Blues would sorely miss Lee Smith following the winger's exit but the acquisition of Osei appears to have mitigated that loss.
'We thought Lee would be a massive loss but Manny has come in and done ever so well,' added the former Norwich City defender, who also revealed that Michael Frew had been allowed to join St Neots on loan. 'He is a player that I tried to get last summer when he left Leiston but he has settled in really well.
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'He is a very strong player – he's got a very low centre of gravity and he's very difficult for defenders to come up against. He's had a real impact since coming in.'
Fleming also reserved praise for Gaughran, whose bullet header midway through the second half killed off any hopes Margate could launch a comeback in the second half.
It was the defender's third goal of the season but Fleming is not surprised to see him finally hitting the back of the net more regularly.
'Sam has got this happy knack of always being on the end of things,' he added. 'You get little phases when you are narrowly missing or whatever and he is in a run now where everything he's getting on the end of is flying in the top corner.
'Away from that he has been outstanding for us. He has been one of the constants for us and I can't speak highly enough of him.'
Lowestoft Town (4-4-2): Jones, Gleeson, Gaughran, Haynes-Brown, A Smith (S Ainsley 55), J Ainsley, Jarvis, Fisk, Eagle, Osei, Reed (Henderson 46). Subs not used: S Ainsley, Okay, Doddington, Jessup.
Margate (4-4-2): Holloway, Cox, Vines, Borrowdale, Dolby, Whitely, Fakinos (Sammoutis 77), Avery, Bodkin, Ademeno, Walsh. Subs not used: Azeez, Ehui, Beale, Osborn.
Referee: Jon Block