Late strike cruel on Tong’s battlers

Norwich United 4, Great Yarmouth Town 3

An exciting match at Plantation Park on Tuesday ended with Yarmouth losing a second match in the week by the odd goal.

All the Bloaters’ three defeats so far in 2011 have been by just the one goal, writes Gerry Brown.

Manager Paul Tong was full of praise for his side’s commitment, desire and passion for the game. But while he is also aware of their shortcomings, Tong believes they will maintain Premier status: “We will keep up!” he declared defiantly after the game.

With changes again having to be made — Bernardo Junior was injured and Olly Savage was late arriving after a delayed journey from Leeds — United soon took the lead when the Ryman-experienced Ross King took advantage of hesitancy in the Bloaters’ defence after a half-cleared ball was returned to the far post in only the ninth minute.

But Yarmouth fought back and Joe Bell went close with a free-kick in the 17th minute after Andy Key was booked for felling Scott Woodcock outside the home box.

Bell, again, in the 20th minute provided a strong ball into the United box, and a searching centre by Olly McCarthy was then missed by all.

Most Read

Jake Reed hit a narrowly-angled shot into the side netting but Gavin Norman went closest for the Bloaters after 29 minutes.

He took a flick from Reed and beat two players before unleashing a shot that Ben Nower did well to tip round a post for a corner.

Norman then contributed a looping header from a Woodcock cross before Yarmouth’s second corner of the half went deep to the far post but came off a Yarmouth toe for a goal-kick.

A burst of three goals in six early-second half minutes left the scores level at 2-2.

First, United went further ahead from a goalmouth scramble when David Cory got the final touch on 48 minutes.

But three minutes later Yarmouth’s now-famed “comebackability” was seen once again when, from a brilliant Reed cross, Smith blasted in an unstoppable shot past even the experienced Nower to make it 2-1.

And in a further three minutes there was more joy for the Bloaters supporters – there were quite a few – when Reed again contributed to the team effort by earning a penalty which was converted by Woodcock.

Just after the hour Reed beat the offside. Although Nower scrambled the shot away the persistent Reed regained possession, but the angle was just too tight.

Andy Claydon went through to make it 3-2 to the home side in the 68th minute, but undaunted Yarmouth came back again four minutes later to equalise again when Norman headed in from a Woodcock corner to the far post: 3-3.

The game looked anybody’s for the taking.

Although United exerted great pressure in the closing stages it was not until five minutes from time that they snatched the winner.

Tom Jeal sent in a 20-yard rocket that gave Michael Hilton, making his 100th first team appearance, no chance.

Yarmouth Town: M Hilton, L Fell, J Bell, G Spooner, C Duffy, R Catchpole, O McCarthy, D Smith, G Norman, J Reed, S Woodcock. Subs: O Savage (for Bell 70), F Vide (for McCarthy 70), E Short, J Jessup.