Lowestoft Town 1 FC United of Manchester 4
- Credit: James Bass
A brace apiece from Tom Greaves and Sam Madeley was enough for FC United of Manchester to claim the three points as Lowestoft found themselves three goals down inside 30 first half minutes.
Before the eagerly anticipated clash, a minute's silence was observed in memory of Stephen Hammersley- a long serving and dedicated referee in the area who died this week.
The Trawlerboys made one change as 26-year old Sam Nunn, a defender signed from Needham Market, made his debut at centre-half alongside captain Rossi Jarvis after signing a two-year deal.
He replaced Andrew Fisk, who was unavaialble for the match through injury along with Adam Smith and Scott Mitchell.
With just goal difference and one place separating the sides at the start of play, it was the visitors who made a confident start in the sunshine.
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In the first ever meeting between the two sides, home keeper Marcus Garnham punched away a free kick from the left flank in the early exchanges and Tom Greaves' shot on the turn was tame.
And on nine minutes, FC United of Manchester took a deserved lead as a pinpoint cross from Sam Madeley was headed home by Tom Greaves- which was just out of the reach of keeper Marcus Garnham.
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It was a clinical header from the front man, who has been the leading scorer for the past two seasons for the visitors.
The away side continued to look dangerous on the attack and were being given a lot of space in the midfield area. Greg Daniels fizzed a shot over before FC United of Manchester doubled their lead on 18 minutes.
A shot from Shaun Cooke fell kindly into the path of Tom Greaves, who scored his second of the afternoon by firing past Garnham at his near post.
The visiting supporters behind the goal even threw some confetti on the field in celebration as their side were dominating proceedings.
Lowestoft Town were struggling to impose their usual passing game and were giving the visitors far too much space in the attacking areas.
And on 26 minutes, the visitors, who were promoted from the Northern Premier league last season, were in dreamland as they scored three goals in a match for the fourth consecutive time. A free-kick swung into the box found the head of Luke Ashworth, and his set-back was nodded home from close range by Sam Madely.
On 30 minutes, FC United of Manchester, who were only formed in 2005, could have made it four but Marcus Garnham saved well, even though the flag was raised for offside.
Lowestoft needed a spark to begin what would be a remarkable recovery and Ryan Jarvis claimed a penalty after a neat one two with Chris Henderson, but the referee was not interested.
However on 38 minutes, the home side did manage to reduce the arrears with their first real chance of the game.
Bradley Woods-Garness showed a turn of pace and crossed for Chris Henderson who headed the ball towards goal only for defender Nia Bayunu to divert the ball into the top of the net with the help of his goalkeeper David Carnell.
The wide man will definitely claim the goal, although the big central defender for FC United of Manchester did not cover himself in glory.
Jack Ainsley's corner was then palmed wide before half time, and home defender Harry Barker was booked for handball right on the edge of the box, but the resulting free-kick was poor and didn't test keeper Marcus Garnham.
The Trawlerboys were keen to start the second half strongly knowing that the next goal in the game was crucial. Rossi Jarvis shot over before he was called into action at the other end to produce a vital tackle to thwart a visiting attack.
Sean Cooke, who was playing just behind striker Tom Greaves, then forced keeper Garnham into a save before firing just wide shortly after.
But just moments later, after the striker's third shot in quick succession was blocked by a home defender, the spin of the ball sat up perfectly for Sam Madeley – who produced a stunning over-head kick to give keeper Garnham no chance.
Manager Ady Gallagher then made two quick changes for Lowestoft as Shaun Bammant and Joe Marsden replaced Bradley Woods-Garness and Harry Barker but the home side seemed deflated knowing that they faced an uphill task for the remaining half hour.
The visitors also made three changes of their own which affected the pace of the match as the new players attempted to gain a foothold.
Dean Mason was introduced as Lowestoft made their final change and as the game neared its conclusion, Luke Ashworth headed over for the visitors before Jake Reed fired a shot over the crossbar.
Jack Ainsley was then sent off for the home side after picking up two bookings in quick succession.
FC United of Manchester could have claimed a fifth, but somehow Garnham saved as Cameron Murray looked to finish off a goalmouth scramble as the points headed north.
For player ratings and match reaction, see Monday's Eastern Daily Press.
Lowestoft Town: Marcus Garnham, Harry Barker (for Joe Marsden 57), Robert Eagle, Rossi Jarvis, Jack Ainsley, Sam Nunn, Ryan Jarvis, Erkan Okay, Jake Reed, Bradley Woods-Garness (for Shaun Bammant 57), Chris Henderson (for Mason 70).
Subs not used; Shaun Bammant, Joe Marsden, Dean Mason, Dan Gleeson, Jake Jessup.
FC United of Manchester: David Carnell, Liam Brownhill, Greg Daniels (for Matthew Wolfenden 59), Dean Stott, Nia Bayunu, Luke Ashworth, Sam Madeley (for Craig Lindfield 59), Rory Fallon, Tom Greaves, Sean Cooke (for Cameron Murray 63), Scott Cheetham.
Subs not used: Craig Lindfield, Matthew Wolfenden, David Burch, Cameron Murray, Adam Thurston.
Yellow Cards: Lowestoft Town: Barker (45), Ainsley (81 & 85); FC United of Manchester: Brownhill (21), Fallon (80)
Red Cards: Ainsley
Referee: Chris Pollard