Full-time: Lowestoft Town 1 AFC Fylde 0
15:52 16 August 2014
(C) Archant Norfolk 2014
Lowestoft Town have continued their strong start to the Vanarama Conference North season this afternoon, winning 1-0 at home against AFC Fylde.
A first-half goal from Shaun Bammant was the difference in a tough match, making it two wins and a draw from three games since promotion for the Blues.
The match started on a sad note, as a minute’s applause was held in tribute to Carol Rice, the former social club bar manager at Crown Meadow, who lost her short battle with cancer last week.
But the action was soon under way on the pitch, as Lowestoft looked to continue their unbeaten start to the season against opponents who had made the long trip from Lancashire the day before, having won one and lost one of their opening fixtures.
After a scrappy start with half-chances for both sides, the game started to develop a feisty edge after a few clumsy challenges, resulting in Fylde centre-back Tom Hannigan being booked for a late tackle on Bammant in the 16th minute.
Former Manchester United academy player Michael Barnes was looking dangerous down the right as the visitors deployed a 4-3-3 formation, but their lack of a final touch was typified by an awful volley from skipper Bradley Barnes in the 18th minute, firing high and wide from a Barnes cross.
The home support were angered in the 21st minute, when visiting midfielder Joe Booth shoved Chris Henderson to the floor with both hands, following a poor challenge by Henderson on left-back Adam Sumner. Henderson was booked but, bizarrely, referee Anthony Da Costa did not punish Booth and settled for a stern talking to.
But then the goal Lowestoft had been searching for finally arrived in the 28th minute, courtesy of a close-range finish from former Dereham striker Bammant.
A long throw from the left from Curtis Haynes-Brown was reminiscent of Fylde manager Dave Challinor during his Tranmere Rovers days in the Football League, reaching Rossi Jarvis on the far side of the box.
Jarvis nodded down to Jefferson Louis, to find his strike partner Bammant, who prodded home for 1-0.
Fylde went close to levelling matters 10 minutes later after more good play on the right from Barnes, but Richard Allen fired over from close range.
Haynes-Brown also had to head a Michael Potts shot over his own bar with five minutes remaining but the Trawlerboys kept working hard and managed to maintain their lead through to the break.
The visitors got a foothold in the game in the second half, after Robert Eagle saw a shot tipped over shortly after the restart.
Allen twice went close from the left for Fylde as they searched for an equaliser, firing an excellent effort across goal in the 57th minute and then poking an effort into the side netting in the 71st when he really should have done better.
The Blues had tried to change the flow of the game in the 65th minute by reintroducing captain Dan Gleeson after missing the start of the season because of a glute injury.
Gleeson replaced Louis, leaving Bammant up front on his own, supported by Henderson, with Rkki Hayles switching to right-back and Jack Ainsley pushing into midfield.
But Fylde continued to create chances. In the 78th minute a free-kick on the right from Michael Potts was well worked to Allen, who was free on the edge of the box, but his powerful header only found the head of Sam Gaughran.
Then in the 83rd minute Daniel Rowe was inexplicably allowed to turn in the box and get in a shot, but it was straight at Ashlee Jones.
But despite all their huff and puff, Fylde couldn’t blow the Lowestoft house down.
Erkan Okay replaced Henderson to shore up the home midfield and that seemed to help the Blues see out four minutes of added time to hold on to all three points.
Lowestoft: Ashlee Jones; Jack Ainsley, Rikki Hayles, Sam Gaughran (C), Curtis Haynes-Brown; Chris Henderson (Erkan Okay 87), Andrew Fisk, Rossi Jarvis, Robert Eagle; Jefferson Louis (Dan Gleeson 65), Shaun Bammant. Unused subs: Adam Smith, Michael Clunan, Joe Marsden.
AFC Fylde: Ben Hinchliffe; Luke Denson (Casper Hughes 55), Joshua Langley, Tom Hannigan, Adam Sumner; Bradley Barnes (C), Joe Booth (Daniel Lloyd 75), Michael Potts; Michael Barnes, Daniel Rowe, Richard Allen. Unused subs: Liam Tomsett, Karl Noon, Dion Charles.