Red for Ryan Jarvis as Lowestoft struggle again
- Credit: Richard Land/Focus Images Ltd
Halloween is supposed to be a day shrouded in horror and mystery – and Lowestoft Town found both in equal measure at Bradford Park Avenue.
A horror first half saw them ship three goals on their way to another defeat on the road and remain rooted in the bottom three of the National League North.
But the mystery surrounds referee Marc Edwards' decision to send off Ryan Jarvis just 14 minutes in.
The Trawlerboys were a goal down, when the home side won a corner.
Before the ball was delivered, Park Avenue striker Chib Chilaka made a run to the front post where Jarvis was stationed. The pair appeared to clash, with Chilaka holding his face.
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But as players surrounded Edwards, the man in black instantly produced a red for the Blues' forward, which left everyone in Horsfall Stadium shocked.
At half-time, Jarvis was changed and in the clubhouse, still unsure as to why he had given an early bath, but by then, the game was up for the Blues, thanks to a combination of individual errors and Jarvis' dismissal, which saw them 3-0 down at the break.
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Jarvis has been Lowestoft's most threatening player until he saw red.
Four minutes in, he forced home keeper Jon Stewart into a full-length save with a low drive from 25 yards, and three minutes later, the stopper was forced to gather Jarvis' low cross at the second attempt after the Blues' forward linked well with Jake Reed.
However, with 10 minutes on the clock, Town's defensive frailty proved their undoing as a simple ball over the top was misjudged by Sam Nunn and allowed Chilaka to get away.
As the centre back chased the burly frontman into the box his clumsy challenge brought him down and Richard Marshall confidently tucked the spot-kick beyond debutant goalkeeper Ben Killop.
The 19-year-old, on-loan from Norwich City, was called into action three minutes later as he made a tremendous save to tip Marshall's looping header over the bar.
But he had little chance with the second goal as Chilaka drilled the ball into the corner from 12 yards out after Harry Barker had blocked his first effort from Connor Hughes' cross.
The visitors were firmly on the back foot as the home side, who started the game level on points with the Blues, maintained possession without much threat.
But on the stroke of half-time, danger man Chilaka beat Nunn to a loose ball in the Blues' box and was brought down for another penalty, dispatched into the same corner by Marshall.
The second half was a non-event as the home side settled on their lead, while the Trawlerboys were unable to make an impact, despite their best endeavours.
Killop impressed with a good save from Jason St Juste, before tipping substitute James Walshaw's close-range effort onto a post and behind.
In injury time, Adam Smith's free-kick flew inches the wrong side of the post to encapsulate a wretched afternoon for the Blues.