Top spot a festive gift for Lowestoft

Jonathan Redhead Lowestoft Town joint boss Micky Chapman admitted the season has been like a dream after his side secured the Ryman League Division One North top spot for Christmas.

Jonathan Redhead

Lowestoft Town joint boss Micky Chapman admitted the season has been like a dream after his side secured the Ryman League Division One North top spot for Christmas.

A 3-1 win over nearest rivals Thamesmead Town at the Crown Meadow on Saturday, leaves the Blues five points clear of the Kent side with four games

in hand.

Chapman's men came from a goal

behind to beat Thamesmead and he was understandably delighted with the victory and the performance of his squad throughout the season.

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"It's been a dream few months after going into the Ryman for the first time with a new challenge and bringing in new players to add to the squad," he said. "Everyone's gelled together and have been absolutely first class.

"We haven't got any 'big time Charlies' at our club. We've got a lot of honest, down-to-earth guys who just want to play football and really get on well together as well. But they're here to win things and to be successful and they are certainly doing the business on the park.

"It was an excellent win. It was an important three points for us against a very good Thamesmead side, to be fair.

"They had some good individuals and were strong up front and played the game in the right way, they tried to play football throughout.

"In the first half they caused us a few problems and got in behind quite a few times a bit too easily, and we mentioned that to the lads at half time."

As well as claiming the win, Chapman praised the performance of his men, including new signing Joe Francis, from Corby, who bagged the equaliser for the Blues with his first touch as a substitute.

"I still felt we had the majority of the first half but they always looked dangerous on the break," Chapman said.

"We had some really good opportunities and played some really good possession football and looked dangerous without any end product in the first half.

"We had the better chances, but every time they attacked they looked a threat.

"We started the second half really well and they scored against the run of play really. But from that minute on it seemed to liven us up even more.

"We brought on Joe Francis and after a cracking ball from Dale Cockrill, a 30-yard defence-splitting pass, he got in behind and with his first touch put it in the back of the net - what a dream debut. From then on

we dominated.

"It was a really well-earned, well-deserved three points against one of the better sides in the league and some of the football at times was excellent.

"We showed good possession play and movement and quality and in the second half we got what we deserved."

And Chapman insisted the acquisition of former King's Lynn man Francis is designed to make the Blues squad a force to be reckoned with beyond this season.

"Joe Francis was playing for Corby," he said. "He lives in Ipswich and was playing in Corby and we've been tracking him for a while. We've been keeping an eye on him since he was at King's Lynn, to be fair. And the opportunity came up for us to bring him in and that's what we've done.

"He can play wide on the left or switch and also play through the middle. He's a big, strong lad with a lot of pace and a lot

of quality."

"We haven't brought Joe in to replace anyone; we've brought Joe in to add to what already is a quality squad. We're trying to build a really strong squad and competition is fierce. And quality players always respond to that. They've got the shirt on their back and they see quality on the bench and they respond to that and that's what we expect from our boys.

"They're all in our plans and it's down to everyone to make sure they're sharp and make sure that when they get the shirt they keep it.

"We're trying to build a squad that

can stay together for the next two or

three years," he added.