Lowestoft Town boss Gallagher: This proves we’re where we belong
Lowestoft Town joint manager Ady Gallagher believes Saturday's draw against Sutton United justifies the Blues' position at the top of the Ryman League Premier.
The table is starting to take shape after 11 games and shows the Blues sitting pretty at the summit, albeit having played a game more than most of their rivals. Gallagher admitted the Blues management team used the Sutton clash as a barometer of how far they can go this season and, but for an inspired goalkeeping display from Kevin Scriven, would have stretched their lead at the top.
'We were looking to use this today to assess where we are as a side and also how we could fare this season in this league,' said Gallagher, who has presided over successive promotions with the Blues alongside Micky Chapman. 'We've done well. I've said all along now that there's not a lot of difference between the bottom and the top sides in this league. You've just got to show that consistency and a little bit of know-how. We've acquitted ourselves really well today and it probably indicates that our league position is about right.'
Lowestoft had numerous chances to get their noses in front during the first half and perhaps need to discover a killer instinct in front of goal to propel themselves to the next level. But Gallagher was delighted to see an improvement from the disappointing midweek draw against Canvey Island when Town were lucky to get away with a point.
'We've had our chances but I'm more than happy with our performance,' he added. 'We knew it was going to be a tough game and we responded accordingly.
'We knew we weren't great on Tuesday but we showed why we are at the top end of the table and why we are going to be a tough team to beat this year.
'To be honest, we're a bit disappointed that we haven't got all three points today.'
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Craig Dundas' red card for an X-rated challenge on Adam Smith killed the game as a contest for the last half hour as Sutton decided to sit back and protect what they had.
Gallagher believes referee Neil West made the correct decision and revealed that Smith, who had to be substituted as a result of the challenge, should not be out of action for too long, saying: 'I was right in line with it and it wasn't two-footed but the foot was up over the ball. I think the referee got the decision right and at that stage it really affected things.
'Sometimes you can find more space but sometimes the nine players on the pitch up their game and work even harder. Sutton are a quality side and they are not easy to break down. I still felt we were in control and we just couldn't quite force the win that we probably deserved.'
The real bright spot of the afternoon was Matt Nolan's first appearance of the season after being given the all clear to start playing again following an elbow injury.
Gallagher believes a fully fit Nolan will make the Blues an entirely different proposition in the weeks and months ahead.
'He is not quite match fit but you saw flashes of the quality he has, particularly when he found a bit of space in the penalty area late on.
'That's why we've missed him – he is going to be a huge influence on our side when he's back fully on song.'