Lowestoft Town 2 Gainsborough Trinity 0
- Credit: James Bass
A goal in either half was enough for Lowestoft Town to earn a deserved 2-0 win against Gainsborough, to immediately bounce back from defeat at Boston on Boxing Day.
The Trawlerboys were on the wrong end of a 5-3 thriller two days ago but were much more secure defensively on their own turf, controlling proceedings on the whole.
Despite having the talents of two Premier League starlets in their starting XI the visitors looked toothless in attack and never really threatened to score.
Midfielder Matty Dixon and striker Jonathan Margetts are on loan at Trinity from Hull City but couldn't get their team going.
The closest they came was early on, with winger Grant Roberts swinging at the loose ball in the Lowestoft box in the fifth minute, but finding full-back Adam Smith in his way on both occasions.
Eagle tested visiting keeper Jan Budtz for the first time in the seventh minute when Jake Reed headed down to him on the edge of the box, but the winger's left-footed drive was straight down the stopper's throat.
The former Doncaster and Hartlepool goalkeeper then handed the hosts the ideal opportunity to seize control of proceedings in the 14th minute, rashly bringing down Shaun Bammant in the box to give away a penalty.
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Budtz wasn't booked for the clumsy challenge, with plenty of defenders around him had Bammant gone through, but Jack Ainsley gratefully accepted the chance to put the Blues 1-0 ahead with his ninth goal of the season and his seventh penalty.
Gainsborough got stuck in and did their best to try and pick their way through the home defence but were enjoying little success, with Curtis Haynes-Brown reacting well to nip in front of Paul Beesley.
Beesley was booked in the 29th minute for challenging Haynes-Brown when the defender was in mid-air, falling to the ground awkwardly, and from the resulting free-kick the Blues nearly doubled their lead.
Smith floated the ball to the right of the Trinity box and skipper Sam Gaughran got his head to the ball and looped the ball onto the top of the crossbar, as the visitors survived what could have been a pivotal moment in the match.
Eagle's wand of a left foot was once again called into action shortly before the break, Bammant holding the ball up wall to tee up the former Norwich City player to have a shot from 25 yards, but his effort bent away from the left-hand post.
Gainsborough centre-back Chris Salt was booked just before the half-time whistle was blown, after bringing down an on-rushing Reed, as Trinity managed to keep the score down to 1-0 at the break.
Gainsborough made an attacking substitution at half-time, pushing three men up front in a bid to try and chance the flow of the game. What resulted however was a very scrappy game which saw referee Lee Betts handout three yellow cards in quick succession.
It was a Lowestoft substitute who made the real difference though, Bradley Woods-Garness coming off the bench to make the three points safe.
The goal came as a result of brilliant work by Smith though, tackling back in his own half and firing a great long pass through the heart of the visiting back-line for Woods-Garness to chase, the striker then kept his head to fire across the keeper on his left foot into the bottom right-hand corner.
Woods-Garness and Bammant both had chances to make the win more comfortable and Eagle saw an effort cleared off the line but the Blues had done enough to earn a very satisfying win.
Lowestoft: Jones; Ainsley, Gaughran (C) Haynes-Brown, Smith; Maso, Jarvis, Fisk, Eagle, Bammant, Reed. Subs: Jessop (GK), Okay, Woods-Garness, Radomski.
Gainsborough: Budtz; Roma (C), Salt, Picton, Lacey; Bateson, Beesley, Binns, Roberts, Margetts, Dixon. Subs: Toner, Forrest, Davie, Wisdom-Lockwood, Karkach.