Lowestoft Town 2 Canvey Island 0
Lowestoft Town kept up the pressure on their promotion rivals after outclassing Canvey Island at Crown Meadow last night.
After an indifferent first half display, Lowestoft turned on the style in the second period and fully merited the three points given to them thanks to a Lee Smith penalty and a cool finish from Jack Defty.
The winning margin could have been a lot more but the home side found opposing goalkeeper Ashley Jones in outstanding form. Only Chris Henderson will know how he didn't manage to get on the scoresheet whilst Defty was denied by an excellent save midway through the second period before he notched three minutes from time.
Lowestoft almost got off to the best possible start in the third minute when Henderson latched on to a flick from Defty that left him through on goal. The former Bury man looked to have done everything right in volleying the bouncing ball towards goal but Jones produced an excellent save.
Canvey then started to settle after that early scare but couldn't muster much of a threat to Andy Reynolds, who was making his first league start since October after a knee problem.
The Gulls were getting at the Lowestoft defence far too easily though and when Andrew Fisk miscontrolled in the centre circle opposing forward, James Rowe, looked to be in on goal but the Blues midfielder was rescued by the flag of the referee's assistant.
Lowestoft re-asserted their authority at the end of the half and again it was Henderson that looked most likely to break the deadlock. He lashed over the bar from 10 yards just after the half-hour mark when he should have hit the target but shortly after he forced Jones into another superb stop. Henderson once again fed off Defty's knockdown and although he got to the ball before the Gulls' keeper he couldn't lift it over him to give Lowestoft the lead.
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The Trawlerboys built up a real head of steam at the start of the second half but still the breakthrough eluded them.
Jones produced another fantastic save after Defty met Eagle's cross only to see the Gulls' shot-stopper deny him at point-blank range.
Jones was finally beaten in the 71st minute when Okay looked to have placed the ball in the bottom corner after a corner was only partially cleared but, unfortunately for Lowestoft, James Hawes was there to clear off the line.
The breakthrough finally came in the 73rd minute when Lowestoft were awarded a penalty. The Defty-Henderson partnership was at work again with Henderson racing on to another flick and when he got round Blackwell the Canvey defender hauled him to the ground and the spot-kick was awarded. Lee Smith calmly fired home low to the goalkeeper's right.
Lowestoft put the result beyond doubt in the 87th minute when Defty capitalised on a mix-up in the Gulls' back four before slamming the ball home from 10 yards.
Lowestoft Town (4-4-2): Reynolds, Williams, Crane, Gaughran, A Smith (Ainsley 64), L Smith, Fisk, Okay, Eagle (Dawkin 72), Henderson (Frew 90), Defty. Subs not used: Francis, Cunningham.
Canvey Island (4-4-2): Jones, Dumas, Blackwell, Orlu, Hawes, Curran, James-Lewis, King, Chatting, Wood-Garness, Rowe. Subs not used: Gilbey, Cocklin, Davidson.
Referee: Evan Goodman