Bloaters show great character

TWO incidents last weekend exemplified the spirit and character in this season's Great Yarmouth Town FC side, writes Gerry Brown.Stewart Roach resumed training on Tuesday, and nothing unusual about that you might think.

TWO incidents last weekend exemplified the spirit and character in this season's Great Yarmouth Town FC side, writes Gerry Brown.

Stewart Roach resumed training on Tuesday, and nothing unusual about that you might think. Except that 72 hours previous he was in the James Paget Hospital receiving stitches to a cut mouth and face after an incident in Saturday's Ridgeons Division One game with March Town United that also left him concussed and bleeding profusely.

Yarmouth manager Paul Tong was full of praise for the sportsmanship of the March bench: “With Mazze (the Bloaters' therapist) looking after Roach, the March physio straight away offered to look after our players if anyone went down. That's refreshing sportsmanship in this day and age.”

Roach explained on Tuesday: “The March goalkeeper's heel clipped me as I went for the ball on the edge of the box, and it was pretty horrible at the time. I was swallowing blood and fitting, but I was discharged on Sunday afternoon and am ok now.”

Showing great personal strength, he assured the fans: “I expect to be back playing in a week or so!” He also plans to be at tomorrow's game at Godmanchester (ko 3pm) to give any support and encouragement he can to the Ridgeons Division One leaders.

In the atrocious weather conditions gainst March, it was a day for heroes and Jake Reed was another who did not let circumstances get him down.

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Although he put a second-half penalty kick wide, his character shone through as he refused to let the miss affect him, notching the winning goal in the dying seconds of the game, having put Yarmouth ahead in the first half.

Manager Paul Tong praised his squad for their “phenomenal camaraderie” in the face of adversity.

“This was one of our hardest games this season, and that is to give great credit to March,” he said. “We have several key players missing through injury and suspension but still performed at a high level. Steve Best came in for his debut, fitted in well and gave a good solid performance.

“The likes of Olly Savage and Martyn Magee gave their usual consistent performances, and we need more like that from everyone.

“Jake Reed can create great goals and scored another couple himself today. That's four in the last three games.

“OK, he missed the pen. Perhaps the long wait while the referee sorted out the March players got to him, but he showed character to stick at it like he did and go on to get the decider.

“Chris Owen returned to the club and did well coming off the bench; it was his astute through ball that led to Jake's second and winning goal.”

Tong is, however, still concerned that not enough goals are being scored. “We are not finishing teams off,” he said; “I would like to see a greater contribution from our midfield, and also from set plays, but maybe I am just being a bit of a perfectionist.”

Tong said he is still in the market for a couple more players as he continues to build his squad, but one player Yarmouth will have to do without now is Johnathan Watt who has returned to Gorleston after being unable to force a return to the Yarmouth first team this season: “We're sorry to see him go, but thank him for his services and wish him well in the future,” said Tong.

Next fixtures. Tomorrow: First team at Godmanchester Rovers (3pm); Reserves at home to Norwich United Reserves (3pm). Tuesday: First team home to Halstead Town in KO Trophy (7.45pm). Thursday: Youth at Cromer Town (7.45pm).