Jamie Godbold has got his players along for the ride but can Lynn boss say the same?
Shirley D Whitlow
You would struggle to find more contrasting body language than that displayed by Jamie Godbold and Simon Clark at the end of yesterday’s contest.
Blues boss Godbold was buzzing around the pitch shaking the hands of his players with the odd hug thrown in here and there. You got the sense this set of young players have bought into what he wants from them.
It’s early days but he looks to have married the youthful exuberance of players like Ben Fowkes and Kieran Higgs with the know-how of seasoned pros like Andrew Fisk and Adam Smith. August hasn’t even finished yet but it’s working thus far.
Linnets chief Clark was at the other end of the spectrum after the final whistle confirmed a third defeat in five games.
As the players went through their warm down he glowered at his players. They had let him down again and there was “nothing positive” he could take from his side’s defeat.
The Linnets looked like a squad that is still to come to terms with their promotion near-miss last season under Ian Culverhouse.
One of Simon Clark’s biggest jobs when he replaced the former Norwich City man was to shake off that hangover whilst replacing some of the star quality that headed out The Walks exit door.
There wasn’t a great deal of star quality on show for Clark and Co. on Monday. Lowestoft made this contest all about endeavour and the Blues looked like they wanted it more than their opponents early on and it proved enough to take the points.
“We started off really poorly, we didn’t step up to the physical battle for the first 20-25 minutes,” said Clark. “I spoke to the lads about how we’ve got to be ready for the battle and their physicality.
“We’ve had players that weren’t up for the work load today that they have put us under.”
Fisk and Adam Smith snapped into challenges early on with Fisk in particular at his snarling best in the first period.
What the midfielder lacks in stature he makes up for in bite and determination. When he squared up to Lynn’s big striker Valter Rocha midway through the first half it sent a message to the rest of his team... ‘This lot aren’t anything to be scared of’. He was right.
Lynn were never able to harness the passing game that took them so close to glory last season as Lowestoft didn’t give them a moment to settle.
That’s not to say that Lowestoft didn’t have quality of their own and it was on full display for the defining moment in the 13th minute.
When Jacek Zielonka’s shot from the edge of the area was parried by Alex Street it would have been quite easy for Fowkes to just hit the ball as hard as he could in front of goal and hope for the best.
But he displayed a cool streak in skipping round the Lynn shot-stopper before slotting home.
Lowestoft carried the greater threat in the first period but only an excellent stop from Elvijs Putnins prevented Craig Parker from bringing Lynn back on level terms after Frazer Blake-Tracy found the midfielder with a fine cross.
Blake-Tracy was the one bright spot for the visitors and Lowestoft felt the presence of their former left back more and more as the contest wore on.
But Lynn lacked a cutting edge with recent signing Valter Rocha enduring a frustrating afternoon. The Portuguese striker had a decent shout for a penalty before firing just wide of Putnin’s left-hand post shortly after but, apart from that, Rossi Jarvis and Connor Deeks enjoyed a relatively easy afternoon’s work.
Lynn centre halves Rory McAuley and Ryan Fryatt couldn’t say the same after their battle with Shaun Bammant. Clark described the way Bammant kept his centre halves occupied as a bit of “a tear up” and sounded slightly envious some of his forward players hadn’t offered their opponents a more difficult afternoon.
But Clark insists he will find players willing to put their bodies on the line in the same way and that there might be one or two home truths delivered over the next few days before they take on Stourbridge.
“There’s no positive coming away from here. We will be real with it and I will have conversations with the players for the next three or four days but we need a reaction on Thursday (at training) and then on Saturday.
“The players have got to understand it’s not about what they want to do.
“It’s about the group, it’s tough at the minute but we will get better.”