Bloaters looking for home advantage

Great Yarmouth Town won their first game in six, and only their second in the last 12 in all competitions, at FC Clacton last week as they continued their good away form while that at home remains a mystery, writes Gerry Brown.

Manager Paul Tong said: “It’s amazing that last season we were undefeated in league matches at home and this season we can’t buy a home win.

“I expect a tough encounter tomorrow against Haverhill Rovers as we try again to get the monkey off our back! But we’ll keep trying and we will turn that particular corner.”

Like Yarmouth – and last week’s opponents FC Clacton – Haverhill have a better away record than they have at home, although the unpredictable nature of football is shown by their recent experiences of beating lowly Woodbridge 5-0 at home followed a few days later by defeat (in the League Cup) at Woodbridge. Currently the Rovers are unbeaten away in league games with two wins and two draws.

The last time Haverhill visited Yarmouth, they were on their way to promotion in 2007, winning 3-0 at the Wellesley.

The team is managed by Peter Betts who has worked with the New York Red Bulls following a stint as Rovers’ reserves manager. Betts is assisted by Stuart Wardley who played 95 professional games for QPR.

On Tuesday, the Bloaters entertain Norwich United in the Ridgeons League Cup (7.45pm).

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The Planters, managed by former Yarmouth manager Paul Chick, have already won a cup tie at the Wellesley – when they were 4-0 victors in an FA Cup tie in August.

The Reserves have a fascinating encounter in store tomorrow when they take on Lowestoft Town Reserves at Crown Meadow (3pm). The Blues’ second string have a 100 per cent record after six games, but Yarmouth have dropped only two points from the draw with Debenham LC.

The U18s start a run of home games on Wednesday when they host Wroxham U18s (7.45pm).

The Ladies lost their cup tie with Hethersett 2-0 last Sunday, their first defeat of the season, while the men’s Sunday team won 3-0 against Hainsford YCOB in the Sunday Senior Cup.

Norfolk & Suffolk Youth League results: St Benets Wasps U11A 1, Yarmouth U11 2; Loddon U14 0, Yarmouth U14 5; Shrublands U16 0, Yarmouth U16 3.

FC Clacton 0, Great Yarmouth Town 2

Yarmouth and FC Clacton both enjoyed promotion honours last season, and this time around are also experiencing similar fortunes in the Premier Division in that both have better form away than at home, so it was perhaps no surprise that it was the visitors to Rush Green Bowl that should come out on top.

Indeed, the Bloaters’ win was their first at the ground since the home club was reorganised from the old Clacton Town, as was, four years ago. The match also provided Yarmouth’s first clean sheet of the season, as a delighted manager Paul Tong was quick to point out: “The defence was majestic,” he said. “We had to make changes with Martyn Magee unavailable and the boys deserved their well-earned three points.”

In Jake Reed, the Bloaters had the most dangerous forward on the pitch and although he was not amongst the goals this time, it was not for the want of trying, and he was denied twice in the opening minutes.

Liam Coleman almost opened the scoring for Clacton after a quarter of an hour when he beat the offside trap and latched on to a long-ball over the Yarmouth defence; however, he failed to take account of the strong following wind and although his lob from thirty-yards over Michael Hilton at first looked goal-bound it bounced and then sailed wide of the goal. Some minutes later the same player saw another long-range effort land up in Hilton’s arms.

A confident Dominic Smith and a tigerish Ross Catchpole dominated the midfield and Yarmouth’s pace up front continually threatened the home defence which finally cracked on the half hour. Yarmouth appealed for an advantage instead of a free kick but play was stopped for Chris Ribchester to be booked for a high challenge and the Seasiders were punished fully when Craig Roberts got on the end of Smith’s free kick to turn and smash home his third goal of the season from the centre of the area.

Five minutes later and the game was effectively over when a throw-in reached Gavin Norman who swivelled delightfully in the area to bury a shot in the bottom corner, also his third of this season. Hilton palmed away a Coleman free kick allowing Yarmouth to take a two-goal lead into the interval, though it could have been better as Kevin Howes missed connecting with a header when Reed placed a delicate cross under the bar and then home keeper Paul Rutherford saved at Reed’s feet.

The start of the second half saw home favourite Kevin Coyle come off the bench for his 200th FCC appearance but still it was Yarmouth that were the more impressive with Reed knocking over from twelve yards and Jonny King joining in with a cross that was carried by the wind onto the bar.