Bloaters claim a hard-earned point after being reduced to 10 men

All eyes on the ball as Great Yarmouth host Kirkley & Pakefield on Tuesday evening. Picture: Steve W

All eyes on the ball as Great Yarmouth host Kirkley & Pakefield on Tuesday evening. Picture: Steve Wood - Credit: Archant

The home side were looking for a reaction after a poor display at the weekend and in the end did well to take a point after being reduced to 10 men in the second half.

With new signing Ben Lewis unavailable there were welcome returns for skipper Rob Andersen and striker Chris Holmes.

On a tricky Wellesley surface the visitors were first to show when Liam Harvey-Cooper saw a header well-saved by Jack Whatmough.

Lopez then hit an audacious volley that cannoned off the bar before Whatmough made a number of good saves to keep his side in it. It took the home side almost 40 minutes before they mustered any real threat as Sean Perfect’s effort was kept out by Rix.

But the hosts went ahead in the 44th minute when Andersen hooked the ball into the box and Aaron Sanders reacted first and fired home via a deflection.

Within seven minutes of the restart the home side were pegged back when Kyle Baker was allowed the freedom of the Wellesley and the former Gorleston striker made no mistake.

The game erupted midway through the second half. After a few niggly challenges from both sides, a foul on Andersen brought a reaction and players from both sides came together for a pushing match. After much consultation Ady Ager and Sam Applegate were booked for the Bloaters and Jack Herbert for the Royals. An incensed Adam Mason was then sent off as he objected to the home bookings.

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After peace was restored referee Morris-Sanders awarded a controversial free-kick to the Royals on the edge of the area, a goalmouth scramble developed and Harvey-Cooper managed to bundle the ball home.

The atmosphere was now somewhat hostile and minutes later Applegate was sent off for a second yellow card offence. Two one down and playing with 10 men, the home side looked dead and buried against a good Kirkley side but in the 83rd minute a direct run by Perfect ended when he lifted the ball over the defence and Mitch Forbes fired in a powerful shot that Rix couldn’t keep out.

Great Yarmouth: Whatmough, Roots, Andersen, Bartram, Ager, Howell, Perfect, Applegate, Forbes, Sanders, Davis. Subs: Ford, Palmer, Forbes J, McAra, Holmes. Attendance: 106.