Lowestoft Town 1 Hastings United 0
- Credit: Picture: Nick Butcher
Lowestoft Town stayed in the promotion hunt last night after a Chris Henderson strike saw off lowly Hastings United at Crown Meadow.
Lowestoft moved up into fourth place, 14 points behind leaders Whitehawk with five games in hand, thanks to Henderson's close range strike early in the second half.
Hastings came to defend and for long spells managed to frustrate the Trawlerboys, who were playing their second game in just over 48 hours as they look to make up the games in hand they have over their rivals.
But Henderson always looked the man most likely and the striker pounced to slam home the rebound after Lee Smith's effort had been saved by Hastings' 'keeper Matt Cruttwell.
Lowestoft made four changes from the side that drew against Whitehawk but it was still a very tired first half display from the Blues.
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Erkan Okay and Scott Mitchell did their best to get the Trawlerboys going at the heart of the midfield with some biting challenges but, creatively, Craig Fleming's men never got going for the first 45 minutes.
Henderson had a half chance in the fourth minute when trying to meet Adam Smith's free-kick but headed wide before Okay scooped the ball over the bar when well placed on the edge of the box.
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Hastings were more than happy to try and hit Elvis Hammond as early as they could and work off the former Norwich City loanee. However, Hammond often cut an isolated figure and struggled to bring any of his team-mates into play for the whole half.
Hastings were grateful to skipper Lee Carey in the 17th minute when Henderson's sliced effort was heading for the corner before his intervention on the line.
Henderson looked the man most likely to find the breakthrough but wasted a good opportunity at the start of the second half. The former Bury man latched on to Jack Defty's flick to go through on goal but wildly mis-kicked with his left foot and the chance was gone.
The goal he had been threatening finally came though in the 51st minute as the former Bury man struck for his 13th goal of the season. A nice move down the left flank worked the ball to Lee Smith, whose effort was partially saved by Cruttwell but Henderson was there to fire home the rebound despite the best efforts of Tom Vickers on the line.
Hastings suddenly had to show more adventure and Andrew Plummer, in for the injured Andy Reynolds, had to be alert when Sam Adams let fly from distance.
With Hastings offering more going forward, Lowestoft had more space to exploit and Okay almost ensured victory with an excellent 25-yard effort that flew inches over the crossbar.
Lowestoft were on the hunt for a second and Dawkin came close to providing it. The former Norwich academy product ran on to Defty's header but dragged his shot just wide under pressure from Elliott Cox.
Defty flicked a superb Lee Smith free kick just wide late on but it didn't matter as Lowestoft held on for all three points.
Lowestoft Town (4-4-2): Plummer, Saker, Williams, Crane, A Smith, L Smith, Michell, Okay, Dawkin (Eagle 84), Henderson (Frew 88), Defty. Subs not used: Fisk, Francis, Ainsley.
Hastings United (4-5-1): Cruttwell, Dixon, Vickers, Judge, Cox, Okojie, Crellin, Adams, Carey (Freeman 78), Attwood, Hammond.
Referee: Shon Meale