Momentum keeps building as Lowestoft Town battle hard to beat Alfreton

National League North: Lowestoft Town V Alfreton. Rossi Jarvis

National League North: Lowestoft Town V Alfreton. Rossi Jarvis - Credit: Nick Butcher

There have been few more satisfying results during Ady Gallagher's reign as solo Lowestoft Town manager than this scrappy battle in tough conditions at Crown Meadow.

Jake Reed's typically clinical finish made the key difference for the Trawlerboys in an encounter which was low on quality but which remained entertaining, despite being played in wind gusts of over 40mph.

The Blues' top scorer poked past former Hull City goalkeeper Matt Duke in the 67th minute in the game's crucial moment, following a perfectly weighted pass from Ryan Jarvis.

The former Norwich City striker seized on a loose ball in the centre circle and split the Alfreton defence with his pass to put Reed through one-on one with the keeper and the striker finished the job for his 11th of the campaign.

It was a moment of class which lit up an afternoon of dull and difficult conditions – and his manager's face at the full-time whistle.

Match report – National League North: Lowestoft Town 1 Alfreton Town 0

Gallagher took full control of the Trawlerboys in the summer following the retirement of club legend Micky Chapman after 33 years with the club as player and manager.

Chapman was joined in the dug-out by Gallagher back in 1999, as joint manager, so when the former striker stepped aside it seemed a natural evolution for the club.

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The season started brightly as well, with captain Dan Gleeson stepping up as first-team coach and the Blues winning both their opening matches of the season, 3-0 at home against Telford and 1-0 at Alfreton.

However, just one win in the following 14 league matches saw Gallagher facing some serious questions.

The troubles prompted a changing of the guard on the pitch and on the sidelines, with Gleeson moving on and being replaced by former Norwich city academy coach Dale Brooks.

The signing of young Canaries keeper Ben Killip on loan and another couple of former City players in Michael Spillane and Harvey Hodd has improved the squad further and an unbeaten run of five matches has now been put together.

Gallagher has put his stamp on his new-look team and is now starting to get his rewards.

Beating Alfreton 1-0 for the second time this season secured the club's first ever league double over a team in the second tier of non-league football – but the win could have been more comfortable.

The visitors made the trip from Derbyshire looking to get their season back on track, having taken just four points from their last eight games, and it was the Reds who generally had the better of the first half, with the wind in their favour.

The hosts had the biggest chance of the opening half though, in the 11th minute, after a rampaging run from right-back Harry Barker was bundled to an end by Thomas Allan.

Blues defender Jack Ainsley, normally so reliable from the spot after scoring 14 penalties last season, wasted the chance by striking his effort against the right-hand post.

Allan and Joe Ironside both headed wide from close range soon afterwards for Alfreton when they should have done better and the lively Andi Thanoj poked wide in the 28th minute.

Lowestoft had the wind in their favour in the second half though and once Reed had put them in front in the 67th minute, they never looked like letting their lead slip.

The three points moved Gallagher's side up to 20th place in the table, with a trip to bottom-of-the-table Telford next up in the league, on December 19.