Whitehawk 1, Lowestoft Town 3
Lowestoft survived an horrendous five-and-a-half-hour journey – without the benefit of a break due to traffic accidents and congestion – and a torrid opening half before running out worthy winners at Ryman League Premier Division new boys Whitehawk.
The Trawlerboys gave debuts to four of their new signings – Dan Gleeson in defence, Aaron Jones and Lee Smith in midfield and Jack Defty up front.
But Town were all at sea in the opening stages of the game and fell behind after just eight minutes. Paul Armstrong was allowed to reach the byline before crossing to Scott McGleish, whose header struck the arms of Scott Mitchell with the referee awarding a rather harsh penalty.
McGleish stepped up to take the spot kick which rebounded into the net off the inside of a post.
Worse was to follow just two minutes later when Adam Smith fell awkwardly when challenging for the ball and was carried off, to be replaced by Robert Eagle.
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Lowestoft were struggling to put anything together and should have fallen further behind when a cross from Josh Jones found McGleish, but with a free header inside the six-yard box he powered his header a foot over the top.
Lowestoft's only real chance of the first half came late on when a long cross from Greg Crane found Defty whose header was deflected for a corner.
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But it was a different story in the second period as the Trawlerboys took a firm grip on the game and started to pose questions for the home defence.
Joe Francis slipped a diagonal ball though to Defty, but keeper Chris Winterton produced an excellent save. Defty's neat flick found Chris Henderson, who rounded the keeper, but with a gaping goal, he could only stab the ball wide under pressure from Mark Knee.
Whitehawk continued to look quick on the break and might have increased their lead, but Paul Armstrong volleyed high and wide from close range.
Lowestoft's mounting pressure finally paid off with a 63rd-minute equaliser. Eagle won the ball in midfield and threaded an excellent through ball to Henderson who slammed the ball into the top corner from 20 yards.
Just two minutes later Lowestoft were ahead when, from a Lee Smith free-kick, the ball was bundled into the net at the far post by Dale Cockrill.
With their tails up Lowestoft completed an eight-minute purple patch with a third goal in the 71st minute. There seemed little danger as Cockrill played the ball to Henderson, who moved to his right before sending a thunderbolt screaming past the keeper into the top corner of the net from fully 30 yards.
Henderson was close to completing his hat-trick, but from Aaron Jones' pass he curled the ball inches the wrong side of the post.
Henderson then set up Francis who was denied by another fine save from Winterton as the Blues completed an excellent opening day victory.
• Whitehawk: Winterton, Pearson, Knee, Armstrong, Lawrence, El-Abd, J Jones (Hughes 75), Keehan (Godfrey 84), Gargan (Newman 75), McGleish, Fraser. Subs not used: James, Walker.
Goals: McGleish 8 pen
• Lowestoft Town: Reynolds, Gleeson, A Smith (Eagle 12), A Jones, Crane, Mitchell, L Smith, Cockrill, Defty (Frew 75), Henderson, Francis. Subs not used: Stone, Ainsley, Gaughran.
Goals: Henderson 63, 71, Cockrill 65.
• Attendance: 135