Bloaters make Greens rue missed chances in derby

Great Yarmouth Town 3, Gorleston 0Great Yarmouth Town maintained the east coast bragging rights with a fine second-half perform-ance that saw the them score three goals without reply after a goalless first 45 to win their tenth league match on the trot.

Great Yarmouth Town 3, Gorleston 0

Great Yarmouth Town maintained the east coast bragging rights with a fine second-half perform-ance that saw the them score three goals without reply after a goalless first 45 to win their tenth league match on the trot.

Bloaters' boss Paul Tong thought Gorleston first half were the better side: “Yes, they came at us, created chances and we were not really at the races. Only some stout defending from Magee and Roberts along with impeccable handling by Hilton in goal got us to half time 0-0.

“But I take my hat off to my lads: they took the criticism at half-time, showed their character and worked harder for each other. It was a game of two halves, but we took our chances when they came, whereas they didn't.”

Having achieved 26 points from a possible 30, Gorleston have now won just one of the last nine.

Last season Gorleston were 2-0 up at half time but lost 5-2. This season, despite there being no goals at half-time, the Greens were dominant in the first half but missed chances. Coupled with second-half defensive mishaps, this cost them the game.

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Gorleston piled on the pressure. Steve Taylor cut in from the left to curl in a right-foot shot but the ball didn't bend enough. A Taylor cross was headed goalwards by Lambert but Hilton was down to save.

A Reece Hunn shot ricocheted to Lambert who screwed his shot wide when he had more time than he was told. Then a terrific Taylor cross from the left was met by a diving header by Lambert which grazed the post.

Positive Yarmouth defending and a diving Michael Hilton save kept the scoresheet blank at the interval.

Yarmouth's best chance of the first half came in added time when Gavin Norman, in a tight situation in the Gorleston box, slipped as he put a shot past the far post.

Yarmouth upped their game after the restart and soon took the lead with a fine 51st minute goal from Scott Woodcock who got on the end of a long cross from Olly Savage and crashed home a volley from 10 yards

The Greens' Robbie Oldham then had to be replaced after being the subject of some vigorous challenges.

A Hunn cross was just a fraction too high for Lambert's head.

Stewart Roach almost made it two in the next minute but saw his effort cleared off the line. Luke Goreham, another former Bloater in the Greens' line-up, fired a free-kick over the Yarmouth bar to remind the Bloaters that the game was far from over, and there was more threat from Gorleston just after the hour, but by dint of hard work and good fortune Yarmouth escaped with their line intact.

Excitement came at both ends especially with some panicky clearances by the Gorleston defence as Yarmouth began to exert control once again. And when Liam Bartley, who had replaced Fernando Vide, ran though his shot was just not strong enough to beat Pride, who gathered the dropping ball. Then Woodcock, terrorising on the right flank, came up with a cross-cum-shot that rolled along the Gorleston line.

The Greens put some good moves together but were confounded by Martyn Magee and Craig Roberts and could not beat keeper Hilton. They paid the price after Yarmouth brought on Jake Reed. The youngster led several attacks, including one when he tried to place his shot into the corner but Pride managed to push theball onto a post and away.

Reed and Roach both had shots parried in the same attack with a corner resulting which Magee glanced wide. Reed then gave the Bloaters breathing space with an 83rd minute penalty after he had been upended in the box.

Yarmouth now piled on the pressure as Gorleston wilted and a third goal was inevitable. Reed obliged to make the game safe with his second in the 88th minute after beating a defender and the keeper.

Man of the match Magee modestly deflected the praise onto Reed: “The youngster's had a tough time, in and out of the team with his injury lately, but he showed great character in wanting to take the penalty which he himself won and then put away so coolly. And then coming up with a second goal which clinched the game.

“There's no 'I' in team; we all work together for each other and there's a great camaraderie in the dressing room. Of course, winning breeds confidence and that helps, but we are not going to get complacent. The gaffer keeps our feet well on the ground.”

The experienced former Wroxham man revealed he has never yet been in a title-winning team: “When I was with the Yachtsmen, because of injury I did not make enough appearances to qualify for a medal when they won the league.” His chances of achieving that aim are improving week by week at Yarmouth.

The win was Yarmouth's tenth straight success in league matches, and their first against Gorleston at the Wellesley in the Boxing Day derby since 1991: 440 paying spectators were there to see them do it - the highest at the Wellesley for six years and, oddly enough, the same number as that at Emerald Park last year when Yarmouth also won by a three-goal margin (5-2).

Yarmouth officials were very happy at the size of the crowd. Secretary Colin Jones said: “We are well pleased with the turn-out. I hope any neutrals enjoyed some entertaining play and hopefully will want to come back for more. Our young lads deserve a bigger audience for their endeavours.”

The only disappointment of the day was the closure of the grandstand because of preparations by the council for the long-awaited repairs to the roof which are set to start in January. Fortunately, the Boxing Day weather turned out fine and dry.

Bloaters - M Hilton, J King, O Savage, C Roberts, M Magee, Sewell, F Vide (L Bartley 60), D Smith, S Roach (B Junior 89), G Norman (J Reed 72), S Woodcock. Unused subs: M Thompson, J Bell.

Greens - E Pride, A Thurtle, L Goreham, R Oldham (M Forbes 52), S Blowers, E Thompson, S Taylor, J Bell, H Maddison (S Butler 72), P Lambert, R Hunn. Unused subs: DJ Kareche, M Tacon, T Daniels. Att: 440

Yarmouth drew 1-1 at Thetford on Tuesday evening (report next week), and take on Stowmarket tomorrow at the Wellesley (3), the first of three consecutive home games with Swaffham next week and the mighty Wroxham returning for a League Cup tie on Tuesday, January 12.

Gorleston's Monday home game with Swaffham was postponed because of a frozen Emerald Park pitch.

Tomorrow, the Greens are at Team Bury.

Words by Gerry Brown and David Hardy