Ten-man Blues get campaign under way

Mark Armstrong Lowestoft Town 2, AFC Hornchurch 0: Lowestoft Town got their season up and running in the Ryman Premier Division last night with a comfortable victory over AFC Hornchurch.

Mark Armstrong

Lowestoft Town 2, AFC Hornchurch 0

Lowestoft Town got their season up and running in the Ryman Premier Division last night with a comfortable victory over AFC Hornchurch.

Blues joint boss Micky Chapman called on his side to bounce back from defeat on the opening day against Carshalton Athletic and they did exactly that thanks to goals in either half from Jamie Godbold and Matt Halliday.

It was nothing less than the Trawlerboys deserved after they had to negotiate the last 15 minutes with 10 men after Dale Cockrill's straight red for an X-rated challenge.

Town made the quicker start and Godbold epitomised the sense of purpose within the home ranks in the first minute when he chased down a lost cause before shooting wide from a tight angle.

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Danny Bloomfield had a fantastic chance to break the deadlock in the 14th minute when Adam Smith's excellent free-kick found the striker unmarked in the six-yard area but he couldn't keep his header down.

Town were not having it all their own way, however, and AFC Hornchurch's Tommy Black showed glimpses of his former prowess on several occasions.

The former Arsenal and Crystal Palace man cleverly ghosted past both Smith and Scott Mitchell midway through the half but nobody had gambled on him providing a cross and the chance went begging.

Lowestoft were doing their best to get their passing game going and it almost paid off six minutes before the break when Bloomfield and Smith exchanged passes resulting in the full-back making good progress inside the Hornchurch penalty area, but his left-footed effort, which looked destined for the back of the net, was blocked.

Lowestoft did get their reward, however, in time added on at the end of the half thanks to Godbold. Cockrill's long ball forward caused confusion in the Hornchurch defence and the sharp looking Lee McGlone benefitted.

The former Leiston man laid the ball off to Godbold, who kept his composure to slot past Darren Behcet and give his side the lead at the interval.

Lowestoft still looked the more likely scorers in the second-half and Mitchell almost put the game beyond doubt in the 69th minute when his 25-yard screamer smacked against the crossbar.

Godbold kept the danger alive and his cross was flicked on by McGlone to Bloomfield whose header was well saved by Behcet.

There was controversy soon after when Cockrill was shown a straight red for a reckless challenge on away skipper Elliot Styles and referee Lee Betts had no hesitation in sending the midfielder for an early bath.

The Town management immediately sent on Halliday for Bloomfield to protect their lead but the former Norwich City youngster actually put the game beyond doubt in the 77th minute.

Godbold's in-swinging corner found the defender unmarked at the back post and he showed the composure of a seasoned striker by placing a controlled volley past the 'keeper from eight yards.

The referee evened up the numbers in injury time when he gave Martin Tuohy his marching orders for a second yellow card after a late challenge on Reynolds.

“It was a really hard fought win tonight,” said joint manager Ady Gallacher. “We looked a bit anxious but it was important to believe in ourselves and you can always rely on Godders to come up with something. It was a great goal.

“I'm disappointed in the sending off because Dale isn't that sort of player. I just thought the referee wanted to affect the game somehow. But it's obviously great to get off the mark.”

t Lowestoft Town (4-4-2): Reynolds, Cave-Brown, Crane, Haynes-Brown, Smith, Godbold (Bussens 89), Dale Cockrill, Ainsley, Mitchell, McGlone, Bloomfield (Halliday 76). Subs not used: Gaughran, Marsden, Clark.

t AFC Hornchurch (4-4-2): Behcet, McSweeney, Fletcher, Styles, Hayles (Hunt 66), Black, Dormer, Hunter (Shave 71), Spencer, Tuohy, Richards (Flack 46). Subs not used: Coyne, Eyong.

t Referee: Lee Betts

t Attendance: 709