Lowestoft Town joint manager Ady Gallagher satisfied with display against East Thurrock
Lowestoft Town joint manager Ady Gallagher was satisfied with the Blues' display against East Thurrock despite his side's failure to claim all three points.
The Trawlerboys were relieved to finally get back into league action for the first time since January 12 but were frustrated in their attempt at making a winning return.
Lowestoft looked understandably rusty in the first period before coming on strong after the break. Both Chris Henderson and Joe Francis had good chances to seal victory but Lowestoft had to settle for a point – a blow which was cushioned slightly shortly after the final whistle by news league leaders Whitehawk had lost at Margate.
'I think in the first half we didn't look as sharp as we would have liked but if you look at the game as a whole I think we've played really well,' said Gallagher, whose side currently sit in 10th spot in table with seven games in hand on Whitehawk.
'For the amount of time that we've had out we've done fantastically well. We've dominated long periods of the game and never looked like conceding. Points add up at the end of the season and that could be a crucial point for us.'
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Robert Eagle came close to opening the scoring in the first half but saw his 20-yard effort tipped wide by Elliott Justham but it was only after half-time that Lowestoft gained a grip on proceedings.
Henderson started seeing more of the ball, coming off the right flank on a couple of occasions to worry the East Thurrock defence. He saw a shot cleared off the line on the hour mark while his clipped effort midway through the half rattled the Rocks' crossbar.
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But it was Francis who almost had the final say, meeting Scott Mitchell's centre only to see his first effort blocked and follow up brilliantly saved by Justham.
'We had some good chances and we had a lot of good pressure in the second half,' added Gallagher. 'Hendo (Henderson) was really unlucky with his strike and Franny (Francis) had a good chance at the end.
'It's frustrating but that's the way it goes sometimes. The main thing is that we're creating and we don't look like conceding. We're satisfied with the performance and we just lacked a finishing touch at the end.
'We created a lot of goalscoring opportunities and on another day one of them goes in early on and you get a routine win out of it.'
The match ended on a sour note for the Blues as Curtley Williams received a straight red card for an alleged stamp following a goalmouth melee.
Gallagher admitted the former Ipswich Town defender should have known better than to get involved.
'There were a lot of players in the box – if that's what the referee has seen then we can't condone that,' he said. 'More often than not these things happen because something happened before that – clearly that went unnoticed otherwise we would have had a penalty and won the game from it.
'In saying that Curtley should know better because that sort of behaviour is unacceptable.'
• Lowestoft Town (4-4-2): Plummer, Saker, Williams, Gaughran, A Smith (Crane 90), L Smith, Mitchell, Okay, Eagle (Frew 85), Henderson (Francis 82), Defty. Subs not used: Dawkin, Fisk.
• East Thurrock United (4-5-1): Justham, Sammons, Wood, Harrison, Stephen, Lawson (Newby 66), Gilbey, Collins (Menga 70), Burgess (Parmenter 66), Ruel, Higgins. Subs not used: Peddie, Keith.
• Referee: J Steel
• Attendance: 553