Great Yarmouth Town set up chance of revenge after KO Cup win

INFLUENTIAL: Connor Deeks was in the thick of the action for the Bloaters at Downham.

INFLUENTIAL: Connor Deeks was in the thick of the action for the Bloaters at Downham. - Credit: Archant

Downham Town 1 Gt Yarmouth Town 2

The Bloaters are through to the quarter-finals of the Thurlow Nunn First Division Knock-Out Cup after a narrow win in west Norfolk.

Joint managers Martyn Sinclair and Adam Mason made several changes for the match in order to rotate the squad, with Adie Ager coming in after a six-game lay off to replace Robin Andersen.

Callum Mordecai started for the first time in midfield replacing Pete Oldham and Josh Brett, who has been prolific for the reserves, made his debut at centre-forward in place of Mitch Forbes.

Declan McAvoy was suspended and was replaced by Lee Roots and in came Leighton Crux to replace Sean Perfect.

The Bloaters started well and Connor Deeks, Jay Turner and Mordecai were neat with their retention of the ball and lots of good work was only undone by the final ball.

The hosts were relying on speedy counter-attacks which gave the visitors a couple of scares due to the number of players committing forwards. Both sides recognised the best area of the field to play in was down the flanks and Roots was prominent with a couple of speedy runs that troubled the home defence.

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The quick breakaways almost brought a reward for the hosts as a close-range header was narrowly wide of Hembling’s goal.

The Bloaters continued with their neat passing game and the lively Turner was unlucky with a great turn and shot which went narrowly wide. Trett had a shot from 25 yards that went over and a mazy run by Nick Bailey caused panic in the home defence resulting in a corner.

More good work by Deeks and Turner resulted in a Turner shot that was well-saved by keeper Brooks in the home goal. Lee Roots created himself a chance when he raced past three defenders only to shoot over, as the Bloaters continued the pressure on the home goal.

They were finally rewarded when Deeks took a 34th-minute direct free-kick from outside the box and his low shot somehow found a way past Brooks in the home goal to give the Bloaters a deserved lead.

Five minutes later another Deeks free-kick was well-saved by Brooks. On 43 minutes another run by Roots put the youngster in on goal only to be foiled by keeper Brooks.

A good first-half performance by the Bloaters although the lively home forwards were well-marshalled by the returning Ager. A couple of feisty challenges that earned yellow cards were the main topic of conversation at half-time, as the officials struggled to retain a good grip on the game.

The second half started badly for the Bloaters, an off-the-ball altercation between Jordi Forbes and Alexander resulting in the home forward going down clutching his face. The referee missed the incident, however his alert assistant saw everything resulting in Thomas Daniels being sent off for violent conduct.

A more unjust sending-off you will not see, Daniels was nowhere near the incident when it occurred, a clear case of mistaken identity.

Once the dust had settled and the Bloaters reorganised it was the visitors who looked the more likely as Deeks hit the post. Immediately after this the home side got back into the game with a cross-shot that deceived everyone including Hembling in the Bloaters goal to make it 1-1.

The hosts rallied and became more of a threat, however the sending-off had made the game a war of attrition and some Bloaters players lost some composure. Andersen went on to replace the red-carded Daniels as Trett was sacrificed in the reorganisation for the 10 men. Perfect replaced Roots who had a fine afternoon tormenting the hosts with his pace. Turner, Mordecai and Deeks were now far more compact and it looked for long periods that the Bloaters were controlling the game although the rapid attacks of the hosts were often dangerous but dealt with well by the Bloaters rearguard.

Some more hefty challenges ensued and even Hembling was bundled over for a soft yellow card for Downham.

The winner came when good work by Perfect put Turner in behind the home defence and he kept his nerve to fire past keeper Brooks in emphatic style.

McAra came on for Turner who had been impressive all afternoon. An injury after another poor challenge on Jordi Forbes effectively put the Bloaters down to nine men, although the young defender stayed on the field and took his place in the forward line, despite being barely able to walk. The Bloaters played out the remaining minutes and more unnecessary bookings spoilt some of the celebrations.

A good all-round performance by the Bloaters, which presents a nice selection headache for the managers as all the newcomers played well.

Tomorrow the Bloaters travel to AFC Sudbury Reserves looking for revenge for last season’s First Division KO Cup final, which was lost 1-0 at Woodbridge.