Lowestoft run out of luck at Havant
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Havant & Waterlooville 1
Lowestoft Town 0
Lowestoft Town's first ever visit to Westleigh Park brought a narrow single goal defeat against one of the pre-season title favourites.
The Hawks, like the Trawlerboys, were relegated from the National League last season and are pulling out all of the stops to reclaim their place in the higher sphere at the first attempt.
Lowestoft made one change to their starting line up with the recall of Harry Barker at right back with Travis Cole moving into the centre of defence to partner Rory McAuley in place of the injured Michael Spillane. Josh Glover replaced Jamie Waite as the substitute goalkeeper.
Lowestoft found themselves down to 10 men early in the game for a five-minute spell as Ryan Jarvis received treatment, and during that time Havant came close to scoring, with Jake Jessup diving to block from close range from the dangerous Jason Prior.
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As expected, Havant were doing most of the pressing, but found the Cole and McAuley partnership dominant. It took a courageous block from McAuley to stop a ferocious drive from Dan Strugnell.
Lowestoft were being hampered by some poor distribution from midfield and from one such misplaced pass Havant attacked down the inside right channel, with Ben Swallow shooting past Jessup from the edge of the six-yard box – but Barker recovered superbly to clear off the line.
Although Havant had enjoyed the better part of the half it was Lowestoft who went closest to scoring as Ryan Jarvis played the ball down the inside right channel to Jamie Forshaw whose clever chip beat keeper Ryan Young but bounced down off the bar and was cleared.
Two minutes after the break the referee was forced out of the game, with the senior assistant taking over in the middle and a Havant official filling the assistant's role.
Jessup saved from Bradley Tarbuck before the Hawks finally broke the deadlock in the 62nd minute. A cross from the left by Rory Williams saw Prior finally get the better of the Town defence to head down past Jessup.
Lowestoft sent on Joe Marsden to replace Forshaw with about 25 minutes to play and he immediately perked up the Lowestoft attack. He seemed to be relishing his first taste of action of the season and his pace and directness had the Havant defence on tenterhooks. The final 20 minutes saw numerous balls played into the Havant area with shots being blocked and some desperate sliced clearances by home defenders narrowly going the wrong side of the upright.
Despite many plus points for the Trawlerboys the Hawks deserved the points on the day based on the whole 90 minutes.
Havant & Waterlooville: Young, Strugnell, Williams, Robinson, Woodford, Harris, Swallow, Lewis, Prior, Rutherford (Paterson 56), Tarbuck (G Barker 56), Subs not used: Hayter, Molyneux, Ridge.
Lowestoft Town: Jessup, Barker, Blake-Tracy, Fisk, Cole, McAuley, Henderson, Rossi Jarvis, Reed, Forshaw (Marsden 67), Ryan Jarvis (Bammant 57). Subs not used: Deeks, Smith, Glover.