Lowestoft Town 3 Chorley 1: Ainsley at the double in Blues victory
- Credit: Paul Terry/Focus Images Limited
Lowestoft Town produced a superb team performance to defeat promotion chasers Chorley at Crown Meadow.
The Trawlerboys bounced back from their FA Trophy disappointment with a much-improved display to ease their relegation fears.
Jake Reed got the Blues on their way with his fifth goal of the season in the 13th minute and Jack Ainsley doubled the hosts' lead before the break from the penalty spot after Reed had been brought down.
Ainsley was spot-on again after Adam Smith was fouled inside the penalty area to make it 3-0 although Chorley striker James Dean pulled one back to set up a nervy finale.
Lowestoft kept their composure to see out time despite Erkan Okay's sending off as the Turkish midfielder was shown a second yellow card.
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A crunching challenge by Sam Gaughran on Chris Simm in the fifth minute set the tone for a first-half display that was a world away from the drab performance of last weekend.
Lowestoft looked hungry and it came as no surprise when Reed pounced for his fifth goal of the season. The former Dagenham & Redbridge striker has rediscovered the lethal edge that carried the Blues to promotion last season and when he got in behind the Chorley defence in the 13th minute there was only one outcome.
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Reed was first to react to Dean Mason's clever flick and the Blues striker poked the ball home to get the Trawlerboys off to a dream start.
Two minutes later and it got even better for Lowestoft with Reed at the heart of it all again. Reed latched on to Okay's ball over the top and, as he looked to take the ball round the goalkeeper, he was caught in a sandwich between Kyle Jacobs and Sam Ashton leaving the referee with no option but to point to the spot.
Ainsley calmly rolled the ball home from the penalty spot for his sixth of the season.
Chorley certainly didn't look like the side mounting a promotion challenge in their first season at this level as they struggled to cope with a boggy Crown Meadow surface.
They were lucky not to go 3-0 down just before the half-hour mark when Sam Gaughran was left completely unmarked but could only glance Adam Smith's corner wide.
Blues' keeper Lamar Joseph-Johnson, who was drafted in due to Ashlee Jones' suspension and Jake Jessup's unavailability, was called into action in the 36th minute to make a good save from Andy Teague's header.
The Blues' shot-stopper looked authoritative in his handling from crosses and his confidence looked to be spreading through the side. Shaun Bammant headed just over the bar from Mason's cross just before the break as Lowestoft looked to get the job done before the break.
Lowestoft looked to have effectively sealed the points just before the hour mark when Adam Smith was brought down inside the penalty area by Jake Cottrell. Ainsley stepped up to send the keeper the wrong way again for his seventh goal of the season.
Chorley pulled one back shortly after when Dean met Mather's free-kick to head home at the back post and all of a sudden it was game on.
Only an excellent save from Joseph-Johnson low down to his right prevented Dean from getting his second of the afternoon.
Chorley could sense a comeback, particularly when Okay was shown a red card for a late challenge on Whitham.
However, Lowestoft managed to keep their composure and should have extended their lead when Bradley Woods-Garness was teed up by Rossi Jarvis but the former Canvey Island striker blazed over with just a defender on the line to beat.
- Lowestoft Town (4-4-2): Joseph-Johnson, Ainsley, Gleeson, Gaughran, Haynes-Brown, Mason, Jarvis, Okay, A Smith (Fisk 82), Bammant, Reed (Woods-Garness 77). Subs not used: Eagle, Radomski, Zielonka.
- Chorley (4-3-3): Ashton, Jacobs, Teague, Doyle, Mather (Dorney 88), Cottrell, Lynch (Winter 82), Whitham, Dean, Simm (Hine 55), Jarvis. Subs not used: Roscoe, Ross.
- Referee: Chris Pollard
- Attendance: 562