Bloaters aim to put out the Dragons’ fire

GREAT Yarmouth Town are at home tomorrow facing the side that were their first opponents of the season, Wivenhoe Town (Wellesley, ko 3).

The Bloaters stunned the Dragons with a 4-1 win back in August, writes Gerry Brown.

Wivenhoe last season finished bottom of the league but escaped relegation. However, they are currently above the Bloaters in the Ridgeons Premier table with 24 points from 18 games, two points more than Yarmouth who have played one game less.

Manager Paul Tong had a number of selection difficulties for last Saturday’s game at CRC. He quipped: “I think we were down to Plan F!”

Jake Reed started a three-match suspension on Monday but will be available again for the big game on November 27 when King’s Lynn Town visit the Wellesley for a Norfolk Senior Cup tie.

The Bloaters last week lost the services of Marianne McNally, their excellent players’ sports injury therapist, when she left to concentrate on new work at Lowestoft College.

Paul Tong said: “I would like to place on record the thanks of myself, Trevor and the team for all the assistance she has given us. We wish her well in her new venture at the college. Mazze, as we all know her, will always be welcome back.”

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For the game at CRC, the club was fortunate to obtain the services of another experienced physio, Becky Higginbotham, formerly of Diss Town, and she will again be on duty tomorrow.

The Reserves went down 2-1 in their Junior Cup tie in Lynn last Saturday against Reffley Royals after opening the scoring through Olly McCarthy in the first half. Tomorrow is a blank day for them.

The U18s’ new signing, Jakub Marczenko who needed international clearance, scored all six Bloaters’ goals in their 6-2 defeat of Wroxham Youth last week, reviving memories of Stewart Roach who also performed this feat (in a 12-0 win) in his debut match for Yarmouth Youth in the 1990s.

Next Wednesday Harford Tornadoes are due to visit the Wellesley (7.45pm).

Other results: Norfolk Women’s and Girls League Division One Yarmouth 4, Coltishall Jaguars 4; GY Sunday League Division One Yarmouth 2, Gorleston Albion 2; Norfolk and Suffolk Youth League: U11 Cup Halesworth 0, Yarmouth 7; U16 Yarmouth 1, Kirkley and Pakefield A 0.

Fixtures: N and SYL U11 Division One St Benets Wasps B (away); Ladies Wymondham Town (away).

CRC 1, Great Yarmouth Town 1

Gavin Norman came to Great Yarmouth Town with a reputation as a goalscorer but since turning out for the Wellesley club he has not been

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able to replicate his Swaffham Town form, scoring four in 19 games this season.

However, three of those four goals have come in the last seven games and he does have the knack of notching vital goals, and on Saturday he scored the goal that earned Yarmouth a well-deserved point at CRC.

There was no doubting his predatory instincts at the R Costings Abbey Stadium when, on the half-hour, he bamboozled three-quarters of the CRC defence and toe-poked past the advancing goalkeeper for a shot that trickled to the far post and rebounded into the net.

CRC manager Jez George was apoplectic with his defence. Both managers were agreed that Yarmouth were the better attacking side, George saying: “If anyone deserved all three points it was our visitors. Yarmouth showed a good work ethic.”

After an even first half, Tong thought his side had the better of the exchanges: “I felt in the second half we took the game to them while our back four defended stoutly. Chances included Dominic Smith rattling the crossbar, Scott driving past the post and Lee Roscoe being unlucky with a header from eight yards out.

“On the day we were disappointed not to collect all three points but I would have taken the draw before the game, considering their home form and league position.”

Michael Hilton made an important early save for Yarmouth but CRC took a seventh-minute lead when Larry Atumuto got the better of Roberts and picked out Sam Naiwo at the far post from where he could hardly miss.

Kevin Howes, making his 100th appearance, saw his header, from a 16th minute free-kick, taken by Lithuanian home keeper Martin Trunca who then saved a Scott Woodcock volley under the bar.

Yarmouth scored a deserved equaliser on the half-hour when Norman scored his goal, then Howes had a brave header cleared off the CRC line.

CRC’sex-Nottingham Forest winger Jack Eades was well-policed by Olly Savage, and Roberts made some timely interceptions. Hilton had only one save of note to make in the second half.

Yarmouth brought on Lee Roscoe and Luke Fell and almost immediately Dominic Smith, also making his 100th appearance, shot against the home bar. Smith then supplied a long pass out to Scott Woodcock who beat three players before cutting inside the area and firing an angled shot over the bar.

Jake Reed should have completed a trio of centurions on the day but was unable to make the trip through illness and Tong was forced to bring on Gareth Palmer for Gavin Norman up front.

Fell caught the eye with some runs down the Yarmouth right that resulted in a stream of crosses, unconverted. From one, Woodcock produced a dramatic flying header which went wide with a few minutes to go.

Yarmouth: M Hilton, J King, O Savage, C Roberts, M Magee, R Catchpole, F Vide, D Smith, G Norman, K Howes, S Woodcock. Subs: L Fell (Vide 60), G Palmer (Norman 73), J Bell, L Roscoe (Howes 57). Att: 102.