Roach fires up Bloaters

GREAT Yarmouth Town will be looking for their first FA Vase win for some time when they travel to Eagle Bitter United Counties Premier side St Neots Town in tomorrow's second qualifying round.

GREAT Yarmouth Town will be looking for their first FA Vase win for some time when they travel to Eagle Bitter United Counties Premier side St Neots Town in tomorrow's second qualifying round.

St Neots were members of the Eastern Counties League for four seasons in the early Seventies and Yarmouth's record in that period reads: won two, drew four, lost two, writes Gerry Brown.

In addition, Yarmouth visited St Neots in the FA Trophy on the same date as tomorrow - September 20 - in 1975 and won 2-0.

Currently, the Saints are 14th in their division, with two wins and four defeats which include a 1-0 loss at home to Boston Town.

This may give some clue as to the Saints relative strength as Boston beat Long Melford 5-1 in the FA Cup before the Bloaters defeated Melford by the same score in a league game two weeks ago.

Saints did have a “goal-den” day when they met fellow UCL side Holbeach in an earlier round of the FA Cup, winning 7-1.

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Last Saturday, St Neots won 3-0 at home to mid-table Cogenhoe. The Saints' youth team plays in the Ridgeons Youth Western Division.

Yarmouth have arranged a coach for this important trip, and any supporters who wish to travel with the team should note that departure from the Wellesley will be at 10.45am sharp.

Any inquiries regarding travel should be directed to 01493 656099.

The Reserves also have cup duty on their minds. They travel to Terrington St Clement to take on the West Anglia side in the Norfolk Junior Cup (kick-off 2.30pm).

Last Saturday they defeated Norwich United Reserves 2-1 in their first home game of this season with goals from Charlie McAra and Darren Patterson.

The Youth Under-18s won their FA Youth Cup tie at Wroxham last week by 2-0 and will now face last year's foe, Histon, in a re-match on Wednesday (7.45).

The Bloaters won last year's game, at the same first qualifying round stage, by 2-1, both goals coming from Liam Bartley on a stormy night.

Diss Town 3, Great Yarmouth Town 4

WITH four-goal Stewart Roach in irrepressible form, Yarmouth won a potentially difficult game at Brewers Green Lane the hard, albeit very exciting, way, coming back from a two-goal deficit and taking the lead for the first time with the winning goal in the final minute.

For Roach it was an impressive personal triumph, a fact recognised by his team-mates who swamped him with congratulations seconds after the former Norwich apprentice scored his fourth of the game, which was also his 149th in all senior competitions for Yarmouth.

Roach has many times notched hat-tricks for Yarmouth's first team, but this was only the second time he has bagged four, the first being in an 8-3 win over Harwich at the Wellesley in October 1997.

“I've said it before and I'll say it until I die that Roach is the best striker I have ever been involved with,” declared joint boss Paul Tong. “He's pure quality and always has been.

“To be honest, we didn't play well and made some elementary mistakes and possibly a draw would have been a fair result. But the fact that we did win is a testament to the players' character, resolve and belief. Kevin (Cruickshank) and I also cannot fault their drive and enthusiasm, and then to have someone of Stewart's quality tops it all really.”

Playing in their attractive, new sky blue and white away strip, Yarmouth introduced new signing from Norwich United Chris Squires in place of the unavailable Adam Sullivan.

But they soon went behind as a long crossfield pass was seized upon by Diss left-winger Osiris Gomes and despatched with the minimum of fuss past Michael Hilton who was making his first return to Diss since signing for Yarmouth from the Tangerines in the summer.

With the Barmy Army lending considerable vocal support, Roach being particularly favoured, Yarmouth took the game to the home side. And after Gareth Palmer had a header cleared off the Diss line equalised after 23 minutes through the young fans' hero. Woodcock got away down the left and his low centre to the far post was knocked past keeper Camidge with consummate ease by Roach.

Some over-enthusiastic tackles were rewarded with yellow cards. The home supporters had hopes of retaining their unbeaten record when their side went ahead again on 32 minutes after Andy Moody took advantage of a Yarmouth defender's unintentional back-header to slot past Hilton from 20 yards.

This hope grew stronger when Diss made it 3-1 in the 64th minute when another mistake in the Bloaters' defence presented Ben Deacon with the ball on the edge of the Yarmouth area and the centre-forward volleyed spectacularly over Hilton.

In last season's encounter, Diss had a four-goal man in Danny Partridge, but he was on the bench this time. Yarmouth showed they have a player to equal that. Roach is rapidly becoming the Bloaters' “come-back king” as now he went on to add three more to his tally in the final 20 or so minutes.

No 2 came from a cross by substitute Jake Reed after 69 minutes as the home side began to get over-confident and leave gaps at the back.

The third goal came through further indecision in the Diss defence giving Roach the easiest of chances four minutes later.

And the final coup de gras - the winning goal - arrived in the 90th minute: Substitute José Vide weaved through a static Diss defence, his shot was only parried by Camidge and Roach pounced to fire the loose ball past the despairing keeper's dive. The Barmy Army's joy was unconfined.

Yarmouth seem to have shrugged off the loss of Nick Crawley with the other players taking responsibility for scoring and, in fact, they all look capable of it.

However, after three clean sheets to start the season, 11 goals have now been conceded in the past five games. “The defence is an area of concern to us,” admitted Tong: “We are letting too many goals in and have made too many mistakes in recent games.

“We need more consistency, but to be fair to the boys, on Saturday they admitted their mistakes and said they would put them right in the second half which they did spectacularly.

“I thought young Jake Reed and José Vide changed the game when they went on, and Adam Sewell had another outstanding game. Chris Squires had a steady game in midfield and in the second half showed some magical ability on the ball. Gareth Palmer was a revelation too, he played well beyond his years.

“We were missing three of our strongest players but what we have now is what we have wanted all along competition for places.”

Yarmouth: Michael Hilton, Adam Sewell, Ollie Savage, Gareth Palmer, Adey Ager (José Vide 54), Toby Gorbould, Darren Lamb, Chris Squires, Stewart Roach, Liam Bartley (Jake Reed 62), Scott Woodcock (Mark Thompson 86). Unused Subs: Sam Watts, Elliot Pride.

Referee: A Chapman (Ipswich)

Attendance: 150.