Lowestoft Town need to raise standards for derby clash at Needham Market

Michael Spillane heads home Lowestoft's first goal against Hendon. Picture: Steven Gardiner

Michael Spillane heads home Lowestoft's first goal against Hendon. Picture: Steven Gardiner

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Local bragging rights are up for grabs again when Lowestoft travel to local rivals Needham Market tonight (7.45pm).

The Marketmen have lost just one of their last seven, with successive 1-0 wins taking them up to fourth place in the Ryman Premier Division.

It is a quick-fire return encounter as well, after a 1-1 draw at Crown Meadow in August. The Trawlerboys also took a point at home on Saturday when they drew 3-3 with Hendon, but manager Ady Gallagher hopes his team won’t give the opposition a 3-0 head start this time.

“I’m looking for a higher standard of performance for longer periods,” Gallagher said. “We’ve played better away from home probably than we have done at home at this stage of the season, which I find quite bizarre.

“We need to go away and work hard as we have in the other games and try to have a bit more quality with our performance, pass the ball quicker and hit the front two a bit sooner, with quality and try and get around teams and hurt them.

“It’s always tough to go away in this league. Needham’s not an easy place, it’s a local derby and they’ll be fired up. We need to just try and get some results to get back on track but more importantly to get some performances back into our side, that we can look back on and say that was a really solid 90 minutes from us.”

The draw against Hendon saw the Blues slip to ninth place, after taking four points from three consecutive home matches inside eight days.

With a trip to bottom-of-the-table Metropolitan Police to follow on Saturday, Gallagher wants his team to start showing their true quality, having needed an equaliser from Chris Henderson in the fifth minute of injury-time at the weekend.

“You can’t kid yourself you’re Barcelona when you are Lowestoft Town, you can’t do that, you’ve got to go forward with penetration and hurt teams and you have got to do that with tempo,” the Trawlerboys boss continued. “We haven’t done that until the last half an hour. The reality is when teams are 3-0 up they might just sit that little bit deeper and give you that space to play but we’ve got to find a way to hit a front two, to hold the ball up in those areas and get up and join in with them two.

“For too longer periods we didn’t do that and we made crucial mistakes.”

Gallagher may be without keeper Jamie Waite, who was replaced by debutant Josh Glover at half-time after hurting his neck during a brave save late in the first half.

“Josh has come on after Jamie had kept us in the game really first half,” he added. “Josh has been waiting for his chance, and it’s frustrating for him because he got caught in possession (for Hendon’s second goal) and I actually felt he could have done better for the third goal as well because the defender was just waiting for him to come and claim it.

“But having said that he’s waited a long time for his chance, from that point on, his kicking was good, his handling was good and he recovered his confidence, and to be fair to him it’s not easy to do that.”

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