Bloaters play well but scant reward

Great Yarmouth Town FC By Gerry Brown

With 29 goals in their last six games, Yarmouth’s supporters cannot complain about lack of goalmouth action, but unfortunately 15 of those have goals gone into the Bloaters’ own net.

Their latest game, at Norwich United on Tuesday, saw four goals conceded. The time before it was three, at Wisbech – and the four games before that saw two goals against in each.

In the six games since the New Year, Yarmouth have been very attack minded – all season they have failed to score on only five occasions – but the youngsters’ inexperience has been found out at the other end.

Nevertheless, the team’s commitment and desire has not been found wanting, as manager Paul Tong is quick to point out: “I can’t praise them highly enough,” he commented. “And I believe we can still achieve our primary aim of maintaining our present status – we will do it.

“We’ve played exceptionally well in the last two games but still got nothing from them. We deserved to win at Wisbech and draw at Norwich United. We have the right mental qualities and attitude but we’ve been na�ve in giving the ball away and allowing opposition players too much space.

“But I must credit our lads. These have been two tough matches against quality opposition. Norwich United, for example, had an array of stars on show — Carl Poppy, Andy Claydon, Ross King have all had Ryman League experience.”

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Tong welcomed a new member of the off-pitch team on Tuesday when Shane Lutkin joined the set-up. “Shane was reserves manager at Fakenham when Boony (Kevin Boon) and I were there, and he has managed several Combination clubs as well as played for March Town United in the ECL. So he is well-experienced and will give me someone to bounce ideas off and himself contribute. He is also a qualified psychologist, so perhaps we all need to pay him a visit.”

Tomorrow, Yarmouth are at home to Debenham LC (Wellesley, 3pm), a team that still includes the well-travelled and much-feared striker Stuart Jopling along with former Stowmarket favourite Ian Gedny.

Although they started the season well, winning their first two home games and scoring eleven goals in the process, Debenham’s last win was November 6 and they have sunk to second-last place, although they did inflict a rare home defeat on third-placed Haverhill Rovers, Debenham’s only away win. Heavy defeats at Kirkley (7-0), Wroxham (9-1) and Mildenhall (6-2) have contributed to 67 goals conceded in 27 games.

?The Reserves visit Norwich United Reserves tomorrow (Plantation Park, 3pm), having returned to winning ways last Saturday with their 2-0 defeat of Stowmarket Reserves. Bloaters Reserves are fourth, Planters Reserves sixth.

?Bloaters’ Youth U18 lost 5-1 (Josh Trett) to Lowestoft U18. Their next game is on Wednesday when Norwich United U18 visit the Wellesley (7.45). It’s a key match between local rivals; currently Yarmouth are third, Norwich fourth but this could all change as a result of this week’s matches (Yarmouth hosted bottom side Harford Tornadoes on Wednesday this week).

?Sunday’s Results: Men v Memphis Belton, W 8-1; Ladies v Stalham, D 0-0; U11 v St Benets A, W 20-0; U14 w/o v Kirkley and Pakefield A; U16 v Gorleston Rangers, L 4-0.

?Sunday’s Fixtures: Men v Hemsby, KO Cup s/f, (Hemsby 10.30am); Ladies v Bungay (Bungay 2pm); U11 v Kirkley and Pakefield B (Walmer Road 10.30am) U14 v Bungay (Bungay 12 noon); U16 v Burrage Centurions (away).

?After a less-then-successful period at Norwich United, Yarmouth’s former star striker Stewart Roach announced his return to football with Lowestoft Town when he scored the winning goal in a 1-0 success for Lowestoft Reserves at Gorleston Reserves midweek.