Great Yarmouth Town relishing promotion challenge

Great Yarmouth's Thomas Daniels and Kyle Howell keeping out the Ely attack.

Great Yarmouth's Thomas Daniels and Kyle Howell keeping out the Ely attack. - Credit: Archant

Great Yarmouth Town are showing no let-up in their bid for promotion.

The Bloaters came so close to joining the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division elite last season only to fall just short.

But Town are in a rich vein of form and have moved up to second in the First Division table after two cracking wins in the space of just a few days.

A week ago they beat in-form Ely City 5-2 at the Wellesley, and then, on Wednesday, they hammered four without reply at Leiston.

It takes their scoring tally to 12 in the last three games – and with only five conceded in eight league outings, they also have the meanest defence.

Two goals from Mitch Forbes and one apiece for Connor Deeks and Jay Turner earned the points at Leiston, as Town – who have an FA Vase tie at home to Deeping Rangers this weekend – moved to within a point of leaders Wivenhoe Town.

Against Ely City – relegated last season and one of the favourites to go straight back up – the Town management duo of Adam Mason and Martyn Sinclair made just one enforced change from the previous week’s side that had such an impressive victory away at Halstead, with Lee Roots replacing Tom Cullumbine.

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In front of an expectant crowd, with the sun blazing down, the visitors started quickly and the usually solid Bloaters defence was caught napping when a raid down the right was converted from close-range by the visitors’ centre-forward after only just over a minute.

The shell-shocked Bloaters were stunned by this and struggled to find their way into the game in the exchanges. The Robins, buoyed by the early goal, settled into some nice passing moves and the Bloaters were up against it. The one bright spot was the performance of Sean Perfect who was tormenting his full-back with his mazy runs, one of which brought a cross that was converted at close range by Deeks after 17 minutes.

With the Bloaters now back in the game the game was end-to-end, with the visitors having more than their fair share of possession.

It was no real surprise when the surprisingly hesitant defence failed to clear the ball and the Robins forward rode a couple of weak challenges and shot past Hembling to make it 2-1 to the visitors.

On the balance of play the Robins deserved their lead. Roots limped off with a back problem to be replaced by McAra, but the visitors continued to press. A through ball found Forbes bearing down on the ‘keeper, who handled the ball outside the area and received only a yellow card for his troubles as the referee had controversially adjudged that there were covering defenders to prevent a goal-scoring opportunity.

From the resultant free-kick Declan McAvoy hit a sweet left-footer around the wall, leaving the ‘keeper stranded, to make it 2-2. The Bloaters could consider themselves slightly fortunate to go in at half-time level, with the impressive visitors showing real championship pedigree.

After the break the Bloaters started brightly and were looking more menacing.

Sean Perfect continued to impress and McAra began to get in on the act with a couple of mazy runs. A thunderous volley from Deeks was tipped over by the ‘keeper and from the resultant corner Daniels’ pressure on the ball led to an own goal to put the Bloaters 3-2 up.

This seemed to knock the stuffing out of the young visitors as the Bloaters now led for the first time in the match.

A great move started in his own half by Deeks led to a pass to Perfect who returned the favour to put Deeks in on goal, and the youngster coolly finished to put the Bloaters 4-2 in front after 62 minutes.

McAvoy made way for Turner, and he and Deeks began to control the midfield, one pass putting Forbes through on goal, with the keeper managing to save with his legs. The impressive Deeks’ afternoon was over as he was replaced by Nick Bailey. In the 80th minute a brilliant raking ball from Andersen found Forbes, who played a dangerous ball across the face of goal, giving Sean Perfect the opportunity to hammer home from close-range for a goal he richly deserved, making it five.

The visitors were clearly demoralised and the Bloaters saw the game off, missing a couple of further chances on the way.

The final scoreline is slightly harsh on the young visitors given their first-half performance, but Yarmouth dominated for large parts of the second half and although not at their best this was a very good win for the Bloaters against a side that should be in the hunt for promotion at the end of the season.