Bloaters look at young players

GREAT Yarmouth Town must put aside their disappointment at two dropped points against rock-bottom Long Melford when they face third-from-last Cornard United at the Wellesley tomorrow (3).

GREAT Yarmouth Town must put aside their disappointment at two dropped points against rock-bottom Long Melford when they face third-from-last Cornard United at the Wellesley tomorrow (3).

Against both Fakenham and Long Melford, the Bloaters have now surrendered five of the available points, and a win against Cornard will prevent an unwanted hat-trick against the three worst-placed sides in the division.

The point at Long Melford did have the merit of raising the Bloaters into 12th place, one above inactive Thetford. And with games in hand on the clubs above and below, Yarmouth can expect to finish comfortably mid-table with just an average return of points from the remaining fixtures.

Manager Kevin Cruickshank is taking the last few games to see what the younger players coming through can do - Jake Reed's senior debut last Saturday is further evidence of that. Also encouraging was Dominic Smith's return from injury.

Long Melford 2, Great Yarmouth Town 2

AT a cold and windswept Stoneylands, Yarmouth dropped two points to bottom side Long Melford.

Most Read

It was the home team's first point after 13 straight defeats, and the first under new player/manager Chris Tracey in his 999th game in senior football.

Yarmouth's disappointment was compounded by the late, late equaliser coming immediately after they thought Stewart Roach had handed them all the points with his second goal of the game in the 90th minute.

Earlier he had given the Bloaters the lead in the second half, only for Melford to find an equaliser.

Yarmouth faced a strong wintry wind in the first half and this, coupled with a bumpy pitch, did not make for an easy game against opponents who had not won since December 27.

But the Bloaters did create four openings in the first quarter of an hour. Home stopper Floyd Croll held onto headers from Adam Sullivan and Roach, then saved low down from Nick Crawley.

Roach then cleverly beat the experienced Tracey to cross for Crawley who hit his shot over.

Melford's leading scorer Ashley Skeggs replied with a shot that dipped just over before Roach got on the end of another Yarmouth attack, but a weak shot did not bother Croll unduly.

With Gareth Palmer commanding in the heart of the Yarmouth defence, and Elliott Pride plucking everything out of the air, there was little threat to the Bloaters' goal, though Danny Manser won a corner after forcing a diving save from Pride, and Skeggs shot inches wide.

Just before half-time, the home side lost midfielder Luke Bennett, who slid into contact with the concrete pitch surround and was stretchered off to hospital.

The news after the game was that Bennett will miss the rest of the season, and Yarmouth send their best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Yarmouth replaced Robbie Oldham with Dominic Smith at half-time and forced two corners before taking a 51st-minute lead.

A goal-bound Crawley header produced a marvellous reaction save from Croll and when the ball was played back into the area.

Mark Thompson chased it to the

by-line and hooked a cross into the goalmouth where Roach rose to despatch a header past Croll.

Adam Sewell's long throws into the home area created further opportunities for the Bloaters but Melford responded spiritedly and Pride saved well from a Matt Wilson header before making a fine block from a Justin Crissell pile-driver.

Youngster Jake Reed came on for his debut, replacing Thompson, and showed a clean pair of heels to the Melford defence on a couple of occasions before the equaliser came out of the blue.

On 73 minutes, a poor clearance found Danny Brind some 20-yards from goal and his hard-hit low shot went just inside the post for 1-1.

Both teams then looked for the winner and it seemed Yarmouth had found it when Roach connected with a forward pass from Reed to nod past Croll for the second time with the 90 minutes up. However, perhaps Yarmouth were still celebrating mentally as Manser made space down the left and crossed into the box where substitute Dan Grindrod headed towards the far post for unmarked super-sub Steve Chisholm to volley into the net.

Yarmouth: Elliott Pride, Johnny Watt, Adam Sewell (Bruno Correia 85), Robbie Oldham (Dominic Smith 46), Gareth Palmer, Toby Gorbould, Sam Watts, Adam Sullivan, Stewart Roach, Nicky Crawley, Mark Thompson (Jake Reed 58). Unused subs: Tommy Gardiner, Carl Hatton.

Attendance: 67.