Bloaters get lift of a home win

WITH a new spring in their step from their first home win on Tuesday, Great Yarmouth Town will take confidence — and their pink strip — into the superior surroundings and pitch of the R Costings Abbey Stadium to face CRC tomorrow (ko 3), writes Gerry Brown.

Having set the early pace in the Premier Division, Cambridge Regional College now lie fourth.

The Cambridge United youngsters have scored plenty of goals, including nine against Woodbridge in their first game, but have since suffered home defeats to Leiston and Wroxham – as have Yarmouth. The Bloaters have no midweek game next week.

Yarmouth Reserves make the trip to King’s Lynn tomorrow to face Reffley Royals in the Norfolk Junior Cup (1.45).

Royals play in the North West Norfolk League and are currently top with five wins from six games.

Last Saturday’s game at Lowestoft Reserves was postponed after heavy rain waterlogged the Crown Meadow pitch.

The U18s have another home league game this week when Cromer Town visit the Wellesley on Wednesday (7.45). The young Bloaters recent visit to North Norfolk saw them bring home an 8-1 win.

Most Read

In other matches, the Sunday team won 5-2 but the Ladies lost 2-4. In the Norfolk and Suffolk Youth League, the U11 and the U16 both won, the younger group going top, while the U14 drew.

Great Yarmouth Town 5, Norwich United 3 (aet)

A most exciting and dramatic turnaround saw Yarmouth come back from the brink of defeat to win this Challenge Cup first round match.

With 93 minutes of normal time on the clock, Yarmouth seemed headed for another home loss as they trailed 2-1 until Dominic Smith took on the United defence and the experienced Ben Nower in their goal to force a last-gasp equaliser and take the tie to extra time.

But that wasn’t the end of the drama. The Bloaters then took a 4-2 lead in the first 15 minutes of the extra time period thanks to the intervention of Jake Reed.

The young striker had been feeling unwell and missed the first half of normal time but was needed to take over at half-time from Gavin Norman, who had taken a knock.

Although he did not score, Reed showed why he is such an important part of the Yarmouth team as his tenacity and extra pace caused the United defence all sorts of problems.

However, Reed did the real damage in extra time when twice he was brought down in the visitors’ penalty area.

Scott Woodcock had not scored this season but he confidently stuck away

Continued on page 70

the two spot-kicks to give Yarmouth the two-goal cushion.

Of course, only three days previously Yarmouth had surrendered such a lead to Haverhill and when United made it 4-3 early in the second extra period through Ross King thoughts must have strayed back to Saturday. But the Bloaters’ supporters at last had something to cheer them on a cold and wet evening when Lee Roscoe notched the fifth Yarmouth goal of the match — and his first for the Bloaters senior team — with just four minutes left to make sure of the win.

Earlier, Smith had put Yarmouth ahead after 40 minutes following a superb cross from Luke Fell. But it all seemed to be going wrong in the second half when not only did Norman have to go off but Fell also received a knock, being replaced by Roscoe for only his fifth first team appearance.

United then drew level through Andy Claydon on the hour before another injury saw Gareth Palmer replaced by Chris Duffy who was making his first team debut, having been drafted in from the Reserves. Then, on 73 minutes, disaster struck the Bloaters as a rather fortuitous United corner was headed in by Warren Preston to give the Planters the lead.

Then came Smith’s dramatic equaliser and the thrills of extra time. Not only did the match see Yarmouth’s highest score of the season, but the result was also their first home win, a fact that came as an enormous relief not least to manager Paul Tong.

“We’ve got that monkey off our back at last!” Tong declared. “The General (Martyn Magee) led from the back with Craig Roberts unfit, and we also had Kevin Howes on the bench with a knock. Then we lost other players with injuries during the game but on came people like youngster Lee Roscoe, Fernando Vide back from suspension, Scott Woodcock, and they came of age. I’m full of praise for them. Reedy didn’t feel very well before the game but goes on and changes the game for us.

“First half I thought we shaded it but second half they brought Fox on and I thought he changed the game for them. At 2-1 down we couldn’t get going and they thought they’d won the game. But our boys never say die attitude of such as Dominic Smith pressured the ball and he pinched it and scored in injury time. Personally then I thought there was only going to be one winner because we looked fitter. There was a togetherness on the pitch from our boys tonight and I’m just so pleased for them.”

Team: M Hilton, J King, O Savage, G Palmer, M Magee, R Catchpole, F Vide, D Smith, G Norman, S Woodcock, L Fell. Subs: J Bell, J Reed (Norman 45), K Howes, C Duffy (Palmer 68), L Roscoe (Fell 55).

Attendance: 60

Great Yarmouth Town 2, Haverhill Rovers 2

Yarmouth were very close to that first home win of the season but were pegged back after leading 2-0 against Haverhill Rovers. The visitors came with an unbeaten record away from home, but Yarmouth took the game to them though goalmouth action was in short supply in the first half. On a pitch made heavy by morning rain, Yarmouth did get the ball in the net after a 35th minute corner but it was over-ruled for a foul on the goalkeeper. Haverhill then broke away via a long ball over the top of the Yarmouth defence but Michael Hilton raced from goal to kick clear.

The Bloaters continued to press with Scott Woodcock on for the second half. It was Woodcock’s searching effort tipped low round the post after an hour’s play that led to the opening goal when his ensuing corner was dramatically turned in by birthday-boy Gareth Palmer with his back to goal. It was a deserved lead which within four minutes was doubled. Kevin Howes battled for the ball in the visitors’ box and Craig Roberts got a toe on it to notch his second goal in two games; the captain’s goal contribution was invaluable last season and he now has four this time round.

In another four minutes, Matt Clark gave Haverhill a lifeline though his hard shot deflected off a defender’s head and the bar before going in. The Rovers tails were up and an equaliser followed after 82 minutes when substitute Craig Cutts sent in a low ball and another defender’s lunge only helped it over the line.

In the closing minutes, a Roberts header, a free kick that flew narrowly wide and a shot cleared off the line all failed to bring Yarmouth a three-point return.

Manager Paul Tong commented: “Obviously very disappointing for all concerned but we didn’t work hard enough or defend well enough to keep our second clean sheet of the season. However, a draw was not a bad result given Haverhill’s previous record this season

“We are a young side, and learning, but we’ll have to learn quickly. With teams below us now starting to pick up points, it’s vital we keep attaining points; the good thing is we didn’t lose the game because to be honest there was only one team that looked like winning it in the closing stages, and it wasn’t us!

“We do have some naivety in our play and we have to get tighter to people, stop crosses, etc. One thing I cannot fault is their commitment. I may have made one or two wrong decisions: I tried to close the game out but unfortunately we were not capable of it and that’s something we have to work on. The first half we didn’t test their keeper and in fact Michael kept us in the game with a great one-on-one save. We did create chances in the second half when Scott Woodcock came on and changed the game, albeit he’s still not firing on all cylinders and needs to start scoring goals, but I’m sure it will come back.

“Nevertheless, we are still holding our own in this division — so far — though we are some way off the target we have set ourselves. We have to work harder for each other, especially when we haven’t got the ball, do things quicker and play at a higher tempo.”

Team: M Hilton, J King, J Bell, C Roberts, G Palmer, R Catchpole, K Howes, D Smith, G Norman, J Reed, L Fell. Subs: M Magee (for Norman 81), S Woodcock (Fell 46), F Vide, O Savage (Howes 75).

Attendance: 55.