Lowestoft Town 1, Hastings United 1
Ady Gallagher admits Lowestoft Town are 'not quite themselves' at the moment as another two Ryman Premier Division points were dropped at Crown Meadow in their 1-1 draw with Hastings United on Saturday.
Struggling Hastings United took a shock lead eight minutes after the break through Sam Adams' header and although Town striker Michael Frew's brought the hosts level quarter of an hour later, United deservedly held on for only their second point in 13 matches.
Town also had to settle for a point on home turf in midweek against Billericay, but fourth place in the table with at least two games in hand on their promotion rivals means there is still plenty for the Trawlerboys – unbeaten in the league since early September – to be positive about.
However, co-boss Gallagher admitted Town's belief is being tested: 'The result is disappointing. We've had enough chances, I just don't think we're quite ourselves at the moment, to be honest, and there's maybe not quite enough conviction about us individually and collectively as a team.
'All we need to do really is have a little bit more belief in ourselves, because all we have been doing over the last three seasons has been outstanding.
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'I just feel because results are not quite falling into place for us and we're struggling to get as many goals as we'd like to get, we're carrying a bit of baggage around with us at the moment and that's probably just holding us back.
'It's a testing time for us as a team, but there is enough conviction within the management we can kick on and win games.'
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The Trawlerboys had made an excellent opening, with United goalkeeper Scott Chalmers-Stevens pulling off a brilliant save from Joe Francis' half-volley and Adrian Forbes' header hitting the bar inside the first 10 minutes.
But it was not until Adams' second half opener that the game sparked into life, the midfielder's downward header finishing off Russell Eldridge's cross.
Hastings – winless since October 2 – contributed to Town's leveller, left-back Ryan Storrie's error letting in Frew whose deft lob squeezed in off the crossbar.
Both sides could have taken all three points: Adams wasted one excellent chance on the break and saw another brilliantly blocked by Town centre-back Sam Gaughran, while Chalmers-Stevens stuck out a foot to superbly scupper Frew late on.
The absences of strikers Matt Nolan (Achilles) and Lee McGlone – who suffered whiplash in a minor car accident on Friday night – left Town short of forward options, but Gallagher felt other factors also came into play as Town faced another side that lined 10 men behind the ball at Crown Meadow.
'Let's not get away from the fact as well that over the last couple of games the conditions to play have been horrendous,' added Gallagher. 'We've had horrible swirling winds and our pitch just isn't good enough. When you've got five or six players who want to pass the ball, it's just not conducive with our play.
'I know it seems like a poor excuse but we're a footballing side and we want to play, and we're playing on the bobbliest pitch in the world.
'It's really getting me down because it just plays into the oppositions' hands.'
Lowestoft make the big trip to leaders Sutton United on Saturday – but before that they may have to cope again without Nolan, McGlone, as well as injured defender Curtis Haynes-Brown, when they travel to Tooting and Mitcham on Tuesday night.
• Lowestoft Town (4-4-2): Reynolds; Cave-Brown (Stock, 62), Crane, Gaughran, Smith; Mitchell, Fisk, Cockrill, Francis (Godbold, 77); Forbes, Frew. Subs (not used): Forshaw, Ainsley, Halliday.
Goal: Frew 68
• Hastings United (4-5-1): Chalmers-Stevens; Rowe, Ray, Jirbandey, Storrie; Adams, Olorunda, Davisson, Beautyman, Eldridge; Porter. Subs (not used): Perkins, Hall, Sutton, Newman, Taiwo.
Goal: Adams 53
• Referee: Andy Parker
• Attendance: 695