No Low At EP, As Hatters Hit Three To Reign From On HighWatch the match highlights, see Alan Lord's reaction, and watch Mark Lees post match interview with CountyPLAYER here now.
County responded in the best possible way to their bitterly disappointing derby-defeat at Bower Fold, by putting in another accomplished performance at Edgeley Park against a hitherto-unbeaten side.
Lowestoft, travelling up to SK3 after a 6am departure from far, far away in the East, arrived on the back of a highly creditable start to life in the Conference North - and, no doubt taking note of the visitors' strength and prowess as an attacking force, Alan Lord opted to continue with the five-man defensive line which had been in operation since the Hatters' visit to Tamworth a fortnight previously. A single change to the line-up which had started the Stalybridge match on Bank Holiday Monday saw Chris Churchman partner Jamie Milligan in midfield - replacing Nathan Woolfe, who had been unwell overnight. Danny Murray, meanwhile, was called up to serve on the County bench for the first time.
The morning drizzle in and around SK3 had relented by kick-off time, and gave way to glimpses of sunshine as the game began. Taking their cue from the weather, County started brightly, too, and within minutes, had a tremendous chance to take an early lead, as Richie Baker showed good movement to pick up the ball in the Lowestoft area. Having done the tricky bit, though, he then skied his shot over from close range.
Lowestoft have, so far this season, owed much of their success up front to the efforts of their strapping strikers, Shaun Bammant and the much-travelled Jefferson Louis. It was, however, one of their more diminutive players, Robert Eagle, who was the first to test Danny Hurst with a well-struck shot that County's ‘keeper did well to parry. Eagle's exocet was followed swiftly by a bullet from the excellent Glenn Belezika, as County's attacking right back got his head on the end of a Baker cross. Ashlee Jones, resplendent in pink in the visitors' goal, matched his counterpart's earlier save with an excellent block.
Lowestoft were not to enjoy the best of luck with injuries this afternoon. And after two separate spells of lengthy treatment for knocks, central defender, Sam Gaughran, had to call it a day, and be substituted, within twenty minutes.
Shortly afterwards, and following the first corner of the game, County went ahead as Milligan's ball into the box was first picked up by Scott Spencer. His shot was blocked, but, before it could be properly cleared, Baker stole in and, atoning for his early miss, made absolutely no mistake to hit home from close range.
As the first half moved towards its conclusion, there was a clear air of growing confidence around the home side, as Milligan directed operations in midfield and the defence looked ready at all times to repel any attacks that might develop - but, in the event, didn't - for Lowestoft.
HALF-TIME: County 1 (Baker, 22), Lowestoft 0.
Kicking towards the Cheadle End in the second half, the Hatters sounded an early declaration of intent as Churchman floated a delightful through-ball to the on-rushing Spencer, with only Jones to beat. The Lowestoft ‘keeper, however, stood up well to deflect the shot from County's Number Nine - for whom, given his sterling efforts this month, the goals will surely soon come.
Just before the hour, Kristian Dennis and Chris Sharp replaced Jack Ryan and Spencer, and, just several minutes later, Lowestoft lost a second central defender - Captain, Dan Gleeson - to injury. Almost immediately following that, County doubled their lead - Dennis, for the third game running, scoring as a substitute, courtesy of a low glancing header from a tight angle.
County were now dominating the game in all departments, and a third goal, after another five minutes, was no less than they deserved. Sharp's shot was knocked away by Jones, but only into the path of Baker who converted home to cap a fine individual performance and ensure a second consecutive home victory.
August, then, ends with County in the ascendancy - at least momentarily! - and Edgeley Park looking as if some of those old fortress foundations may be re-positioning themselves back into place. Still early days, of course - but this was an admirable all-round team performance.
FULL-TIME: County 3 (Baker, 22 and 70; Dennis, 65), Lowestoft 0.
Team: Hurst, Belezika (Lofthouse, 83), Duxbury, O'Halloran, Gregson, Lees, Churchman, Baker, Spencer (Sharp, 58), Milligan, Ryan (Dennis, 58).
Unused Subs: Ormson, Lofthouse, Murray.
Man of the Match: Baker.