Bloaters' fortress breached

Great Yarmouth Town 0, Halstead Town 3THE Bloaters' proud home record came to an abrupt end on Tuesday night as Halstead emerged comfortable winners to progress to the Ridgeons First Division KO Cup semi-finals.

Great Yarmouth Town 0, Halstead Town 3

THE Bloaters' proud home record came to an abrupt end on Tuesday night as Halstead emerged comfortable winners to progress to the Ridgeons First Division KO Cup semi-finals.

It marked a rapid east coast double for Halstead, who dented Gorleston's promotion hopes on Saturday (see Sport Supplement front page).

On Tuesday, the Bloaters had the better of the opening exchanges, hitting the bar in the 20th minute and Roach blasting a free-kick opportunity harmlessly over three minutes later.

A quickfire double (28 and 31 minutes) from Pirie put Halstead in control.

The diminutive No 10 was a thorn in relatively new centre-back partnership of Saunders' and Best's sides, with the striker's movement making the pairing that were immense at Godmanchester on Saturday look like relative strangers.

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Perhaps the unavailability of regular full backs Savage and the cup-tied King hardly helped the cause of a usually solid back four for Yarmouth.

This is only the second time this season the Bloaters have conceded more than two goals, the other at Ryman League promotion-chasing Lowestoft Town.

The third goal of the game came early in the second half with Turner profiting from the Bloaters' off day.

Manager Paul Tong declared that it was just a bad day at the office.

“Obviously I'm disappointed and a few of the players were below par, but we just have to put it down as a blip.

“I thought we started well and created enough chances to put us ahead but Halstead are a good side and they punished us with every mistake.

“I can't fault the players as they've been superb all season and we just have to make sure we put this result behind us and put things right in the next game.”

That next game is at Brantham Athletic on Saturday. Brantham, like Yarmouth, have only lost once in the league all season so it's another big test for the section leaders before their midweek match, again away, at Team Bury on Tuesday evening.

On Saturday, the reserves ran out 3-2 winners in a pulsating match against Norwich United.

Jamie Miller produced an amazing lob over the Norwich keeper but Norwich equalised when Blaine Lowthorpe was unable to keep hold of the ball and a Norwich player took full advantage.

Norwich then took control with Lowthorpe and Short saving the day, both superbly. The team rolled their sleeves up and dug in for the final 25 minutes and were rewarded four minutes from time through substitute Ross Catchpole's equaliser and with seconds to go another sub Lee Roscoe converted a Mark Thompson corner.

Assistant manager Andy Deeley declared: “The commitment and attitude of the lads was exceptional, I really can't praise them enough.”

He also pinpointed an excellent team of managers at the club working together as a reason for success.

“Throughout the club teams are doing well, and it is the co-operation between the managers that is the exciting thing here. Today, we had a large squad available and even then some others were not available, but we also have other players in mind and further signings are imminent.”

The U18 side went down 5-1 at Lowestoft last Wednesday in an eventful game which saw a missed penalty from Lowestoft, Yarmouth hitting the bar three times, two red cards, eight bookings and a goal from Lee Roscoe which could be a contender for goal of the season.

Joint manager Mark Scales said: “Lowestoft are a very good side and so we needed to perform at our best. However fitness told in the end.

“The third goal was the killer after being scored at a time when we were on top.

“After that heads dropped, frustration got the better of some and fitness dropped too.”