Bloaters’ manager upbeat

Although disappointed that Great Yarmouth Town were unable to break their league win duck at the Wellesley on Saturday, Bloaters’ boss Paul Tong was still upbeat about the performance of his team in general, writes Gerry Brown.

“The boys made terrific efforts to get something out of the game,” he said. For 73 minutes it did indeed look possible, for that was the time between Dominic Smith’s opener and the Wivenhoe equaliser. “But goals win matches, and we didn’t put away our chances so paid the price.”

The team has shown great stability in the past two seasons, and the current line-up is largely that which won the First Division title last season with the addition of up and coming youth players Jake Jessup, Lee Roscoe and Ross Catchpole, returned player Kevin Howes, and a small number of new players. Several seasoned players have made, or are poised to make, their 100th appearance for the Bloaters.

“No-one can fault the players’ commitment,” continued Tong. “Through thick and thin they have shown great loyalty. Some, like Luke Fell, travel a long way to play for Yarmouth, even for home games, and this is recognised and appreciated.”

One of the small number of new faces this season has come in for praise this week from Tong: “Jonny King regularly gets lambasted by me but he is very much in form at the moment. And despite all the stick he’s got from me, Jonny has been a regular since he joined us. His defensive ability is outstanding. We have received seven days’ notice from Diss Town but from my conversations with Jonny, it seems he will be staying.”

With Tuesday’s game at Leiston a victim of the wet weather — and the lateness of the call-off did nobody any favours, especially Yarmouth who were well on their way, if not actually at the ground — Jake Reed’s suspension will now encompass the Dereham away game on Tuesday.

“It will be a great pity to lose him for that game as he has been on fire lately, virtually unplayable at times. He benefited from playing alongside Stewart Roach last year and has come of age this season,” said Tong

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Yarmouth are away at Felixstowe tomorrow (Dellwood Avenue, kick-off 3pm), and visit Dereham Town on Tuesday (Aldiss Park, kick-off 7.45pm).

The Reserves have an intriguing home fixture tomorrow (Wellesley, kick-off 3pm) when current, and unbeaten, North Division leaders Diss Town provide the opposition. The Tangerines’ reserves performances this season are in direct contrast to last season — Yarmouth scored 12 in the match at Brewers Green Lane!

The Youth U18 team had another Ridgeons Youth League win last week when they defeated Cromer U18 by 4-1 with new hotshot Jakub Marczenko bagging another two goals to take his tally to eight in two games. George Barnden and an own goal completed the Yarmouth scoring.

This game on Wednesday is the local derby with Gorleston (Wellesley, kick-off 7.45pm).

Other result: Norfolk and Suffolk Youth League: U11 Division One: St Benets B 2, Yarmouth 6; other teams either had no fixture or had their games postponed through bad weather.

The club’s former Legends Sports Bar has reopened as the Talk of the Town and is once again run by club personnel in the shape of Carl and Julie Harding. They aim is to make it the focus of club activities that it used to be. A grand opening evening was held in October and various private functions now regularly take place.

This Saturday there is to be an “Eighties

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Madness” night with all things Eighties plus fancy dress, competitions, etc. Numbers are limited so booking is advised.

Tickets are only �3 (with a first drink free) and can be obtained from Carl on 07854 019677.

The clubhouse is available for private functions by calling the same number for information or to book.

Great Yarmouth Town 1, Wivenhoe Town 1

Another home draw — the season’s fifth — meant more points lost, but manager Paul Tong could still draw comfort from a number of positives from the game.

Another point towards a presumed safety target, a gain of one place in the Premier Division table thanks to Newmarket’s defeat, a fifth unbeaten match in a row and a second-half performance that saw the Bloaters batter the opposition without any luck in front of goal, but which could and should have given them that first home league victory.

At times only keeper Adam Wilding stood between Yarmouth and a three-points return. Man-of-the-match Dominic Smith three times, Luke Fell twice, Martyn Magee and Scott Woodcock were all thwarted by the keeper who also got a touch on the Woodcock corner which Smith finished off with his head for the game’s opening goal after only 13 minutes.

Yarmouth started well and their goal was deserved reward for early dominance, but as the half progressed, the Dragons turned up the heat and Michael Hilton had to be at his best to turn aside a couple of efforts. However, the Yarmouth keeper blotted his copybook on 32 minutes with a remark to the referee that earned him a yellow card. Play was brought back to the home penalty area and the Bloaters were forced to defend an indirect free-kick in the area.

The visitors’ left-back, ex-Dagenham Tola Odedoyin, was booked for disputing an offside decision against him but he did look useful going forward and several times took the ball to within striking distance. However, Yarmouth finished the half on the attack with Fell, Kevin Howes and Woodcock all combining to create a chance, which Fell struck over on the angle.

Yarmouth upped their game after the interval, and when Woodcock was brought down on the edge of the area, Craig Roberts headed his free-kick back to him and the second cross saw the ball run along the goal-line to be unceremoniously cleared.

As the Bloaters continued to exert pressure, Howes saw a shot blocked and another go wide before Smith stole in at the back post to head a Woodcock corner narrowly over.

Frustration grew amongst the home crowd and players as all this dominance went unrewarded. Jonny King, who has been growing in stature in recent weeks, showed his defensive qualities at right-back with a Wivenhoe striker snapping at his heels. And when Woodcock was replaced by Gareth Palmer it looked as if Yarmouth would at least hold out for the final 15 minutes even if they could not score again.

But with five minutes to go, a concerted Yarmouth attack led to a corner as the visiting defence became jittery, but sub Lee Roscoe’s shot went along the goal line only to be cleared upfield. There, Max Egbuna raced through to beat Hilton with a clean shot.

In the final minute, Yarmouth’s afternoon was summed up when a good Fell shot brought an equally fine save out of Wilding.

Great Yarmouth: M Hilton, J King, O Savage, C Roberts, M Magee, L Catchpole, L Fell, D Smith, G Norman, K Howes, S Woodcock. Subs: F Vide (for Norman 85), G Palmer (for Woodcock 75), J Bell, L Roscoe (for Howes 66).

Attendance: 67.