Bloaters need to take their chances

Great Yarmouth Town 0, Woodbridge Town 1

Town boss Paul Tong was left rueing his team’s profligacy in front of goal again on Saturday after watching them dominate large portions of the game but fall to a poorly-conceded goal, writes Gerry Brown.

“Once more we showed our Achilles’ heel as we didn’t take our chances,” said Tong. “At the moment, whenever we make mistakes we get punished. The ever-reliable Michael Hilton got caught out in two minds for the goal, but he has done terrific work this season and I’m sure he will bounce back.

“Just one mistake cost us the game. But to be fair, we dominated most of the afternoon but again failed to make it count – and that’s the story of our season!”

A long ball forward in the 13th minute caught out Hilton who flapped at the ball, missed – and new Woodbridge hot-shot James Hubbard had the comparatively simple task of slotting into the net despite the presence of two defenders.

Yarmouth had early chances from Gavin Norman and Kevin Howes before Hubbard gave notice of his danger, though Gareth Palmer policed him well. Tom Trevivian shot wide from Hubbard’s astute pass before what proved the winning goal.

After a good team build-up, Jonny King slanted one over the bar, and then Craig Roberts also showed Yarmouth’s attacking bent as he went up for a corner. But despite his lanky presence in the area the move fizzled out through an offside decision.

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Roberts was in luck at the other end after 33 minutes when his attempted back-pass narrowly missed being an own goal.

Yarmouth piled on the attack but found the surface tricky to turn on and chances were lost. The visitors’ best chance apart from the goal came after a 40th-minute Paul Berry free-kick which was headed on by Ben Seaman to Hubbard, who nodded over when well-placed.

Palmer, who replaced the unavailable Martyn Magee, was playing superbly in the home defence, breaking up attacks and coolly passing the ball out the danger zone. But the Bloaters’ attack looked shot-shy, and when they did manage an attempt on goal it generally carried little threat.

Woodbridge dominated the early stages of the second half before Yarmouth woke up the meagre crowd with two efforts in a minute. Scott Woodcock saw his free-kick taken low down by Glyn Dixon, then a Norman shot was well held by the diving Dixon low by a post.

The response from Woodbridge was another great shot by Hubbard which brought an equally great save from Hilton.

With all Yarmouth’s substitutes on (including Youth-teamer Josh Trett making his senior debut), it was defender Olly Savage’s turn to attempt to show his forwards how to do it, but although his right-foot shot was a good one on his ‘wrong’ foot, it failed to find the net.

Yarmouth began to turn the screw and substitute Fernando Vide twice cut into the area only to be foiled. Norman had one last shot turned round for another corner which King blasted over, and with the referee looking at his watch, Hilton produced another exceptional save from a Woodbridge corner.

“We’ll keep working at it,” concluded a disappointed Tong. “I do think we need to keep the ball on the ground more as sometimes,, when we have Kevin Howes up front, we seem to think he might score from the half-way line with a header!

“Football is all about confidence and I’m sure one day someone is going to get a hiding from us!.

“I’ve always said, even after our good start, we mustn’t get carried away. And neither I nor the players have because we know what a tough league it is, and that’s been shown by teams in the lower reaches beating teams higher up.

“Anybody can beat anybody and nothing can be taken for granted – look at basement-side Brantham drawing at Wroxham last Saturday! But, as I keep saying, we’ve got a young squad and we mustn’t ask too much too soon.”

Team: M Hilton, J King, O Savage, C Roberts, G Palmer, R Catchpole, S Woodcock, D Smith, G Norman, K Howes, L Fell. Subs: J Bell (for Woodcock 68), F Vide (for Fell 57), J Trett (for Howes 71), J Jessup.

Attendance: 51.