Lowestoft Town 1 Margate 0
Lowestoft Town kick-started their season with victory at home to Margate last night courtesy of Jack Defty’s early strike.
The Trawlerboys have finally been given the chance to make up some of the games in hand they enjoy over their promotion rivals and took full advantage at Crown Meadow.
It wasn’t a vintage display from the Blues but Defty’s close range strike, after good work from Chris Henderson, separated the two sides.
Both Henderson and Joe Francis had chances to settle any lingering nerves amongst supporters but victory saw Lowestoft move to within 16 points of league leaders Whitehawk with six games in hand.
Defty provided Lowestoft with the dream start in the fifth minute as the former King’s Lynn striker notched his 11th goal of the season.
The ball broke to Henderson inside the Margate penalty area and instead of shooting the forward had the presence of mind to fire across the face of goal to Defty, who had the simple task of tapping home from close range.
Lowestoft were well on top in the opening stages with Lee Smith almost adding to their lead but his header from an Adam Smith cross was straight at goalkeeper Craig Holloway.
As the half wore on the Blues allowed the visitors to gain a foothold in the game and Carl Rook had a half chance when he got in behind Greg Crane but shot straight at Andrew Plummer.
Midway through the half Lowestoft should have added to their advantage when Henderson sprung the offside trap but chose to try and play in Defty when going for goal looked the better option. John Beales was able to intercept and the chance was gone.
To add to Lowestoft’s frustration Robert Eagle had to be replaced on the half-hour mark due to a chest infection with Francis coming on to replace the former Norwich City man.
Francis had a half chance just before the break when his pace saw him get in behind Margate full back James Campbell but he scuffed his effort wide.
The Blues certainly weren’t having it all their own way and only an excellent clearance off the line by Sam Gaughran prevented opposing skipper John Beales heading home.
The visitors were grateful to their captain at the other end shortly after when Henderson looked all set to make it 2-0 after being played in by Lee Smith but Beales’ last-ditch challenge diverted his shot wide.
Lowestoft were unable to maintain any sort of attacking rhythm in the second period and as the half wore on they got more and more nervy.
Dan Stubbs almost produced a moment of brilliance in the 73rd minute when he turned away from Curtley Williams before unleashing a 20-yard curling effort that whistled just over the bar.
Francis had a great chance to wrap up the points shortly after but blazed over the bar when well placed whilst Lee Smith brought a good save out of Holloway from a 25-yard free-kick.
Lowestoft Town (4-4-2): Plummer, Williams, Crane, Gaughran, A Smith, L Smith, Mitchell (Fisk 78), Okay, Eagle (Francis 29), Henderson, Defty. Subs not used: Dawkin, Frew, Cunningham.
Margate (4-4-2): Holloway, Corneille, Beales, Starkey, Campbell, Long (Dolby 80), Bodkin, Stubbs, Rhodes, Rook, Whitnell (Murphy 72). Subs not used: Brown, Murphy, Mattless, Vines.
Referee: Nick Cooper