Promotion-chasing Great Yarmouth overcome early drama

Action from Great Yarmouth Town's match against Dereham Reserves (stripes). Photo: Robin Woodhouse .

Action from Great Yarmouth Town's match against Dereham Reserves (stripes). Photo: Robin Woodhouse . - Credit: Archant

Dereham Town Reserves 0 Great Yarmouth Town 3

Despite all of the usual preparations for Saturday’s match, some drama as two of the starting 11 arrived late, due to former Magpie Payton Swatman, being taken ill en route.

It was only the quick thinking of Dec McAvoy and Chris Holmes arranging for an ambulance to get new-signing Swatman to hospital, that enabled the Bloaters to start with a full complement of players.

The late change meant that Kyle Howell was drafted into the defence and the Bloaters’ line-up was the team that started in last week’s victory over Haverhill.

From the start a long, searching ball by Jordan Forbes was well defended resulting in a throw-in for the Bloaters, which was cleared.

On six minutes a poor challenge on skipper Andersen resulted in a flare-up between the players, resulting in a booking for the Magpies’ Danny Bacon. Referee George Byrne managed to cool tempers before allowing play to continue.

Some good play between Andersen and Daniels enabled McAvoy to fizz a 25-yard shot that was well saved by keeper Powley.

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The lively Holmes managed to chase down a speculative ball and played into strike partner Mitch Forbes whose fierce drive was brilliantly tipped over the bar by Powley. After a quiet start Sean Perfect turned his full back and crossed, but again Lee Roots was foiled by Powley.

Forbes hit another drive narrowly over the bar and Andersen saw a header slide agonisingly wide as the Bloaters took the game to the young Magpies.

The breakthrough came in the 32nd minute, as McAvoy’s spectacular overhead kick from all of two yards, found the back of the net after a mix-up in the home defence, to give the visitors the lead.

This seemed to spark the young home side into life and full back Jordan Ramm was unlucky when his powerful drive hit Whatmough’s bar. Whatmough also had to be alert to punch away as the home side began to show their teeth.

McAvoy sent a glorious ball into Perfect and the flying winger was unfortunate not to be able to control the ball as he stole in behind the home defence. Yarmouth had regained control after a brief spell of pressure by and finished the half strongly as Holmes and Andersen went close to adding to the scoreline.

If the Magpies thought they had done enough by keeping the Bloaters down to one goal in the first half they were rudely awakened as Roots powered past the defence and crossed for Forbes whose header was misdirected when well-placed. Andersen was then denied by the home keeper and a Daniels shot was deflected wide as the Bloaters went on the rampage.

Forbes saw his header hit the bar and Ager had a header saved at a corner. At the other end Whatmough was called into action to save after a rare break from the home side.

After 14 minutes of play in the second period an interchange of passes between Andersen and Forbes found Roots bearing down on goal and his perfectly weighted pass found Holmes who finished off an excellent move to put the visitors 2-0 up.

The crowd were then entertained for a few minutes when Perfect turned on a magic show as he created a couple of chances on his own with his pace and trickery, and was unfortunate not to score.

Whatmough did well to save a good effort from the home winger, in a rare Dereham raid, but seconds later Roots grazed the bar with a vicious shot after more good work by the excellent Andersen. Holmes had another fine effort from an acute angle ruled out for offside.

Forbes was then bundled over on the edge of the box and McAvoy’s vicious free-kick was parried away by keeper Powley but the ball found its way to Holmes who made no mistake to make it 3-0.

Holmes made way for McAra after another impressive shift from the prolific striker and he immediately combined with Forbes to put Daniels in for a shot, which was again saved. Perfect and Forbes had chances to score as the Bloaters were now dominating possession. McAra had another goal disallowed and there was even time for Ross Catchpole to play a cameo role as he came on to replace Kyle Howell.

The Bloaters contrived to miss a hatful of chances towards the end, but theirs was an impressive performance to maintain their challenge at the top of Division One.

With leaders Wivenhoe’s impressive run continuing with a late winner at Woodbridge and Ely picking up points at Haverhill and Halstead also winning, the Bloaters cannot afford any slip-ups.

This was an excellent performance by the Bloaters particularly given the circumstances before the game.

Team: Whatmough, Howell, J Forbes, Daniels, Ager, Andersen, Roots, McAvoy, Perfect, M Forbes, Holmes. Subs: McAra, Catchpole.