Photo gallery: Chorley this win should prove a turning point for Lowestoft Town
- Credit: Nick Butcher
This was much more like it from the Blues.
The threat of a relegation battle on the horizon appeared to be having a suffocating effect on the Trawlerboys in recent weeks. Their tame FA Trophy exit to Dover Athletic exhibited some extremely worrying signs the club was sinking and starting to feel a little sympathy for itself.
What a difference a week makes.
Lowestoft looked like the side with genuine promotion aspirations – not fourth-placed Chorley, who were unbeaten in nine games going into Saturday's contest.
The Trawlerboys of course aren't in a promotion battle, far from it, but a few more performances like this and any talk of relegation will have been extinguished.
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From the moment Sam Gaughran bit into a challenge on Chorley striker Chris Simm in the opening exchanges, you could tell Lowestoft had a point to prove. It set the tone for the kind of hungry display that was the hallmark of Lowestoft's promotion success last season.
At times this campaign it has felt like the Blues have forgotten the values that won them their place in Step Two of the non-league pyramid. Some players looked to be going through the motions, not appreciating just how hard the club had worked to get to this level.
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There was no such sense on Saturday.
Allied to the determination and desire on show, the Blues also had a cutting edge. His name is Jake Reed.
When he latched on Dean Mason's flick-on in the 13th minute to bear down on the Chorley goal, there was only ever going to be one outcome. Despite having to hit the ball at an awkward height due to the oncoming defender, he adjusted his body shape superbly to guide the ball home and claim his fifth of the season.
Rather than sit back and try to defend their early advantage Lowestoft went for the jugular with Reed at the heart of it again.
Erkan Okay's chipped pass over the Chorley back four was perfectly weighted to draw Chorley goalkeeper Sam Ashton off his line and Reed spied his opportunity. The former Dagenham & Redbridge striker beat the keeper to the ball and, as he tried to round him, a combination of Ashton and Kyle Jacobs bundled the Blues man over. Penalty.
When Lowestoft have an opportunity from 12 yards there is only one man they turn to and Jack Ainsley stepped up to send Ashton the wrong way and double the Blues' money.
Chorley had been rocked and when they did get within sight of the Lowestoft goal they found Lamar Joseph-Johnson in fine form.
The Grays man signed Conference North forms with Lowestoft late on Friday night as they were without Ashlee Jones through suspension and Jake Jessup due to work commitments. And as Chorley grasped the importance of pulling a goal back before half-time, Joseph-Johnson proved a formidable presence, coming off his line on several occasions to claim dangerous crosses.
It gave Lowestoft the confidence they needed to kill off their opponents, which they effectively did early in the second half. Reed got to the by-line before pulling a cross back to Adam Smith and when Jake Cottrell clipped the Blues man, referee Chris Pollard again pointed to the spot. Ainsley stepped up again to roll the ball home and register his seventh goal of the season, five of which have come from 12 yards.
Chorley rallied and pulled a goal back through a fine Andy Teague header and you started to fear for Lowestoft when Okay was shown a second yellow card for a late challenge but Lowestoft saw out the remaining 10 minutes with few alarms. The verve that carried Lowestoft to promotion last season had been rediscovered. It's up to them now how far it can carry them up the Conference North table.