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'Old boy' Roach will not face Bloaters with new team

PUBLISHED: 11:02 13 August 2010 | UPDATED: 11:56 16 September 2010

The Bloaters in winning action at Wivenhoe. They won 4-1 to start life back in the top flight of the Ridgeons League.

The Bloaters in winning action at Wivenhoe. They won 4-1 to start life back in the top flight of the Ridgeons League.

Despite losing Stewart Roach to Norwich United two days before the start of the season, Great Yarmouth Town managed four goals in their opening fixture at Wivenhoe, with four different scorers, writes Gerry Brown.

Despite losing Stewart Roach to Norwich United two days before the start of the season, Great Yarmouth Town managed four goals in their opening fixture at Wivenhoe, with four different scorers, writes Gerry Brown.

“I was just pleased for the players really,” commented Yarmouth manager Paul Tong after seeing his side commence a new era in the Ridgeons Premier Division with the 4-1 win. “They're such a young team. Archie (Jake Jessup) in goal for instance is only 16-years-old and is another of our youth players to come through.

“But the players rose to the challenge. We had a few last-minute changes to cope with - not least being the loss of Stewart - but the players took it in their stride. The young players like Jake and Dominic were magnificent, as was Archie who by now, will have played in a Norwich City trial at Beccles on Monday night.

“Eddie Short went on, and it's good more youngsters are getting involved. Craig Roberts was captain, in place of the unavailable Michael Hilton, and new player Richard Durrant slotted in well beside him; Jonny King, too, was magnificent in defence but it was a good all-round performance.

“However, one swallow doesn't make a summer and there will be tougher challenges to come, but it is a good start and I'm looking forward to it now.”

On the subject of his departed leading goal scorer, Tong remarked: “Stewart's a legend and he'll always be welcome at the club as long as I'm here, and I'm sure others.

“His circumstances changed and you can't blame the lad under the circumstances. It's the end of one chapter and the start of another for him and us. We'll miss his quality for sure, but today with what we played against I thought the boys did enough.”

Ironically, tomorrow the Bloaters play Roach's new side in an FA Cup extra-preliminary round tie at the Wellesley Stadium (kick-off 3pm).

But Tong reports that Roach will not be in the United squad. “Paul Chick (United manager) has given a gentleman's agreement that he will rest Stewart Roach for this match,” said Tong. “So I'd like to thank him and his chairman John Hilditch for this gesture.”

The tie brings together two former managers at both clubs with former players also on both sides. “As my former boss at Plantation Park, John is someone with whom I've agreed to disagree in the past,” Tong continued.

“But John has got a lot of things right and is someone who always makes people welcome at his club; he has had the foresight to run his club soundly and generate income that other clubs can only dream about, and I take my hat off to him. I hope they have a good season.

“Even so, it will still be a tough game for us as United have a lot of experienced players now - Claydon, Wilson, Key, Fox, Blois to name but a few. Their array of talent will be a test for our youngsters, but we wanted to be in the Premier and we want to pit our wits against the best. Our boys have just got to go out there, rise to the occasion, enjoy it and give a good account of themselves. Who knows what can happen in cup football? Let's hope the locals will get behind us.”

Yarmouth's tough opening to the season continues on Tuesday when the Bloaters are scheduled to visit Wroxham (7.45), assuming tomorrow's game is not drawn, in which case the replay will be on Tuesday at Plantation Park at 7.45pm with the Yachtsmen's game postponed.

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