Bloaters still searching for first home success

Great Yarmouth Town 1, Ely City 1: The Bloaters are still looking for their first home win of the season following this draw on Saturday.

Manager Paul Tong was forced into two changes by the non-availability of Michael Hilton and Olly Savage, youth ‘keeper Jake Jessup taking over in goal for only his second first team appearance while Joe Bell returned to the left-back position. Gareth Palmer also returned to the side after missing the Vase game at Lynn through a one-match suspension.

In difficult conditions of alternating tropical sun and torrential rain accompanied by a constant strong northerly wind sweeping down the ground, Yarmouth won two early corners, and Luke Fell though looking offside was allowed to go on and shoot but poked the ball wide of the advancing keeper. Jake Reed was then brought down on the edge of the area but when Martyn Magee played the ball short, the overlapping Joe Bell shot over.

Ely were proving a tough nut to crack, and it was the visiting Robins who were on-song when they took the lead after 21 minutes with a superb 35 yard free kick from Adam Dalby which, aided by the wind, sailed over the head of youth keeper Jake Jessup and in under the angle of bar and back post.

Yarmouth, facing the weather in the first half, conceded nine corners but nevertheless defended well with Gareth Palmer and Martyn Magee taking the eye. Jessup also did well to punch over another dangerous Dalby free kick.

The sun greeted the teams on the resumption and immediately it was Yarmouth’s turn to go close when a Scott Woodcock corner caused mayhem in the Ely goalmouth but keeper Lee Pacey collected the ball on the line.

The weather then deteriorated again and a period of indeterminate play followed before a superb tackle by Joe Bell broke up a threatening Ely raid and Yarmouth almost immediately profited but Jake Reed’s shot, after latching onto a long Magee clearance, flew wide. However, the equaliser came two minutes later after Kevin Howes had been fouled. Woodcock’s free kick again caused panic in the visitors’ goalmouth and after several attempts by the Bloaters it was substitute Gavin Norman who finally shot home in the 69th minute.

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Both keepers then produced outstanding saves but it was the Robins who went closest when Nick Impey’s shot hit the bar and bounced over with a quarter of an hour to go.

A late chance for the Bloaters saw a goalbound Scott Woodcock effort knocked up by the Ely keeper who then managed to hang on to the falling ball.

“After last weekend’s heroics at Lynn, it was a bit of after the Lord Mayor’s show,” commented Bloaters’ boss Paul Tong. “But it was difficult for both sides and probably a fair result on the day. Young Jake Jessup in goal did very well, Dominic Smith was outstanding in the middle, and Martyn Magee held the defence together. If I have one criticism it was that we didn’t get the ball in their box enough, but really I’m just full of praise for the young lads, and especially Lee Roscoe who came in from the youth team for his first senior appearance of the season.”

• Team: J Jessup, J King (G Norman 62), J Bell, C Roberts, M Magee, G Palmer, S Woodcock, D Smith, K Howes (L Roscoe 77), J Reed, L Fell. Unused subs: R Catchpole, R Durrant, F Vide.

Attendance: 75