Great Yarmouth Town 1 Brantham Athletic 1: First draw of season for new-look Bloaters

Aaron Sanders was on target for Great Yarmouth Town against Brantham: Nick Butcher

Aaron Sanders was on target for Great Yarmouth Town against Brantham: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

After a busy week the Bloaters fielded five of their six new signings for this vital fixture - and performed well to record their first league draw of the season.

Cain Eagleton and Payton Swatman returned from Yaxley and Wymondham Town respectively and the club are grateful to Stevenage Borough for the loan of youngsters Theo Sackey-Mesah, Drilon Kransniqi and Jack Smith.

Shaun Grieveson started at right back and Charlie Blake took his place in the new-look midfield.

It didn’t take long for one of the new signings to make a mark as Kransniqi robbed a defender and his shot was saved.

The visitors settled the better however as first Howell fired in a shot before Beckwith saved well from Madley. Blake was clearly enjoying his debut, with a couple of robust challenges in the congested midfield area.

In the 17th minute Sackey-Mensah, playing at centre back, sent in a glorious pass to Kransniqi that sent the young striker through on goal and Avenell saved with his legs.

Much of the action centred around a congested midfield area but the new signings were all performing well. Kransniqi again did well to hold the ball up and find Eagleton who swapped passes with Swatman and his ball found Aaron Sanders at the far post who swept the ball home to give the home side the lead on 24 minutes.

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The home side started the second half well as a delightful pass by Sanders put man-of-the-match Swatman through but the midfielder was crowded out. The home side then won a free-kick which caught the visitors napping and Kransniqi held the ball up well before playing it in to Eagleton whose powerful shot on the run hit Avenell’s legs and was scrambled away.

With 15 minutes left an innocuous pass into the penalty area saw Ford slip and Plane took full advantage, finishing well to put the Imps level. The game then took on a feisty edge sparked by an injury to Sackey-Mensah as he appeared to take a knee to the head in a clash with Clarke, with the Imps striker then kicking the ball away, sparking a fracas. Howell and Blake continued the argument and after consultation with his assistant, referee Adi Sannerude gave a straight red card to Blake, which incensed the home side.

With a man down the Bloaters sent on a half-fit Ady Ager to preserve a vital point and a closely-fought game ended with honours even.

The Bloaters will feel aggrieved at the way the second goal was conceded and Blake’s sending off, but they would have taken a point before the game after suffering a 5-1 reverse in the recent corresponding fixture.

Great Yarmouth: Beckwith, Grieveson, Ford, Bartram, Sackey-Mensah, Forbes (c), Swatman, Eagleton, Kransniqi, Blake, Sanders. Subs: Holmes, George, Le Picq, Ager.