FIRST-HALF defensive frailty cost Witham Town following their 3-0 defeat to Pitching In Isthmian League division north leaders Lowestoft Town at the Simarco Stadium, writes JIM PURTILL.

After conceding three goals in the first 23 minutes, Witham failed to find a way back into the game and they lost at home for the first time this season.

Lowestoft had won all five previous league matches and it took them only four minutes to take the lead.

Right-back Charlie Norman embarked on an attacking run on the right and delivered a cross into the penalty area.

The Witham defence had time for a clearance but hesitation in the back line led to Kyle Haylock finishing easily.

It was the first time that Witham had conceded a goal in the first half-hour this season.

Lowestoft attacked with the confidence of a side who are used to winning and put the home side on the back foot.

Sam Johnson’s cross from the left flashed across the Witham goalmouth but nobody was in place to find the finishing touch.

Witham had not had time to regain their composure when they found themselves further behind in the 13th minute.

Centre-forward Jake Reed finished with a shot from close range near the right-hand post.

In a respite from Lowestoft’s attacks, Adam Vyse chased a long ball in the 17th minute and was foiled by visiting goalkeeper Luke Holt.

Witham struggled to capture the form that they have shown so far this season.

Their attacks lacked fluidity and their reliance on long balls was just giving possession back to Lowestoft.

The visitors’ control of midfield enabled them to dictate the course of events and keep the pressure on the Witham back four.

Reed, Chris Henderson and Adam Hipperson were causing problems for Witham as the home side looked uncharacteristically ineffective in the centre of midfield and hesitant in the centre of defence.

After a Witham attack broke down in the 23rd minute, Hipperson hit a speculative shot from distance and the ball found its’ way into the net.

The goal was conceded far too easily as Witham’s recent defensive assurance had deserted them.

On current form it takes a very good performance to recover from a three-goal deficit to Lowestoft and Witham struggled to raise their game for the rest of the first half.

Haylock shot over the bar for the visitors when he should have scored, with Witham goalkeeper Rhys Madden far busier than Holt at the other end.

The introduction of Gaz Dauti for Witham at half time added stability, with the hosts offering stiffer resistance and more energy in attack.

Shakeel Morris provided flair with his work on the right. Vyse and the indefatigable Lewis Payne headed over from corners as the Witham sought to make an impact.

The three-goal cushion was more than enough for Lowestoft to maintain their dominance.

It was a better Witham performance in the second period but the damage had been done in the first half.

Witham return to Isuzu FAC Trophy action on Saturday at the Simarco Stadium, where they host AFC Dunstable.