Bloaters' future bright

GREAT Yarmouth Town face three home games in the next seven days to end a mixed and frustrating season but one that has brought new light and new hope for a more secure future.

GREAT Yarmouth Town face three home games in the next seven days to end a mixed and frustrating season but one that has brought new light and new hope for a more secure future.

Tomorrow the Bloaters entertain Halstead Town (3pm), one of several teams fighting for the third promotion spot to accompany Tiptree and Ely who have already secured their Premier places for next season. Halstead will also be smarting from the loss of three home points when the Bloaters won 4-2 at Rosemary Lane in February so a keen game is in prospect, writes Gerry Brown.

On Tuesday, Stowmarket Town visit the Wellesley (7.45), followed by the final game tomorrow week when another promotion-seeking side, Saffron Walden Town, provide the opposition (Wellesley, 3).

The Youth team's hopes of being crowned Eastern Division champions rested on the results of other teams following defeats in their last two games. On Wednesday, Kirkley beat Gorleston 4-2 which left Yarmouth in runners-up spot, a marvellous achievement considering most of the squad are young enough to be available for another year.

Congratulations go to two Bloaters youngsters Marcus Godbold and Richard Brett, who were selected for the Norfolk youth side on Wednesday.

Gorleston 3, Great Yarmouth Town 3

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TWICE behind in Tuesday's derby, the Bloaters hit back to lead only to be denied a win by a goal in the final seconds by one of their former players.

Kevin Cruickshank was forced into changes with Nick Crawley succumbing to a flu virus, Adam Sullivan not recovered from injury and Paul Dyer also not 100 per cent fit, though he was named on the bench. In came Adam Sewell, Dominic Smith and Robbie Oldham.

The first 3-3 draw in the East Coast derby for exactly 50 years was entertaining after some recent dour encounters. Although it meant the Greens were unbeaten against the Bloaters for the fifth game in a row, the loss of the two points dented Gorleston's promotion hopes as they must now win both of their remaining games and hope other sides drop points. However, after an unpromising beginning to the season, they are the surprise package in the promotion stakes.

Gorleston got off to the perfect start with a goal in the first minute when Matt Bowles fired in with a wrong-footed Elliott Pride helpless. However, Yarmouth found an equaliser 13 minutes later when Steve Taylor centred, Tom Marsden half-saved and Sewell followed up to score in front of a delirious Barmy Army.

Sewell played up front in Crawley's place and was a potent force, not only with the ball at his feet but once again with his penetrating long throws. He was involved twice in the 15th minute, first with a header from Johnathan Watt's free-kick, then with an angled shot that went just too high.

Four minutes later, Mark Thompson was fouled by his namesake in the Gorleston side, Eddie, and when the free-kick was pumped into the Greens' box Oldham got the ball in the net but was adjudged to have fouled Marsden in the process.

Pride was the busier of the two keepers and showed his range of goalkeeping skills. He was fortunate to come away with the ball after an almighty scramble in the Yarmouth six-yard box but was powerless to keep out the second goal when, from a throw-in, Peter Lambert centred and Gary Todd worked the ball past him on the half-hour.

The second half almost opened in the same fashion as the first but Yarmouth kept the ball out. Paul Dyer replaced Oldham in the 56th minute and two minutes later a Stewart Roach header glanced wide after a run by the substitute.

Gary Ingram should have done better with a hasty shot that he pulled wide but Gorleston were very dangerous on the break. However, Yarmouth drew next blood, equalising after 70 minutes when Roach picked his spot past Marsden after a cross from the left.

Afew minutes later Taylor had a great shot from 30 yards that went narrowly wide. Gorleston won a free-kick near the corner flag but Pride made an excellent leaping catch.

Yarmouth pressed with corners and two efforts by Toby Gorbould before they took the lead. An 86th minute free-kick on the edge of the Greens' area was judged to perfection by Taylor and the Bloaters' supporters had the scent of victory.

But for the second time recently, they saw a possible three away points reduced to one in the last moments. With the 90 minutes up, Gorleston pressure saw a shot deflect off Watt's outstretched leg and fall kindly for ex-Bloater Luke Goreham to blast home. This was doubly cruel on Watt as this was his first match in Yarmouth colours at the ground where he spent three seasons before crossing the river.

Gorleston: Tom Marsden, Kyle Howell, Luke Goreham, Jack Marsden, Adam Thurtle, Eddie Thompson (c), Matt Bowles, Peter Lambert, Gary Ingram, Gary Todd (John Bell 80), Richie Fruin (Ricky Butler 86). Unused subs: Louis Turner, Sam Jones, Paul Todd.

Yarmouth: Elliott Pride, Johnathan Watt, Sam Watts, Steve Taylor, Gareth Palmer, Toby Gorbould, Dominic Smith, Robbie Oldham (Paul Dyer 58), Stewart Roach, Adam Sewell, Mark Thompson. Unused subs: Lee Perry, Damon Wise.

Referee: A J Chapman (Ipswich).

Attendance: 165.