Same again says Bloaters’ boss

Stanway Rovers 2, Great Yarmouth Town 2.

BLOATERS’ manager Paul Tong was full of praise for his battling side.

“Although we rode our luck at times, for the commitment and desire shown it was an excellent team performance and the point in the end felt like a celebration.”

He also pointed out his team’s inconsistency as his side face Newmarket Town tomorrow at the Wellesley (kick-off 3pm).

“Let’s hope we can take that (the attitude against Stanway) into the game with Newmarket, as to date we never know which team will turn out at the Wellesley,” he said.

Town came back from being behind twice to earn a point at Hawthorns on Saturday, writes Colin Jones.

Two players made guest appearances for the Bloaters. The club was given special dispensation from the league to sign goalkeeper Matthew Hails, despite the player registration deadline of March 31.

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The injury to Michael Hilton and the unavailability of Jake Jessup meant that there was only one recognised keeper registered with the team – and with the reserves playing against Gorleston the same day, the squad was short.

Hails, who had played midweek in King’s Lynn Town’s UCL League Cup semi-final defeat against St Ives, unsurprisingly started and there was also a return for ex-club captain Craig Roberts.

He moved due to work commitments earlier in the season but was still registered with the club, so was able to play after making the trip to Essex.

There was a return in the starting line-up for Adey Ager in a straight swap with Gareth Palmer, who was still feeling the effects of his injury picked up against Hadleigh. Luke Fell also went straight into the starting 11 in place of Johnny Miller, who is still on the road to full match fitness. Glen Spooner returned to the bench and youth product Tom Clark made his second appearance on the first-team bench this season to complete the squad.

Stanway had the better of the opening exchanges and the guest players played their part in keeping the scores level. First Hails had to be at his best to pull of an excellent save to deny Stanway, and then Roberts produced a goal-line clearance before Yarmouth had their first chance.

Scott Woodcock played the ball forward to Jake Reed, but the striker’s shot sailed over the bar. Luke Fell’s effort produced a fruitless corner. A Stanway volley was tipped over by Hails to keep the score sheet blank at the break.

Within a few minutes of the restart, Woodcock chased a ball forward by Ager, and despite the goalkeeper getting the first touch, the ball was contested by Woodcock and he won possession. His shot/cross was almost picked up by Fell but the winger was unable to gather. Woodcock then cleverly slotted a free-kick wide to Jo Bell but the full-back’s cross was cleared.

Yarmouth’s missed chances were preyed upon by Stanway, as a corner was driven in and Gould rose highest and directed a header at goal. The ball connected with the underside of the bar before crossing the line to put the hosts ahead.

Yarmouth almost had a chance of an instant reply, but Reed’s fall in the penalty area was not deemed to be a penalty by the referee. Yarmouth’s luck continued in that vein, as Dominic Smith then had to be substituted due to an ankle injury, to be replaced by Spooner.

A Stanway corner was cleared by Roberts, Gavin Norman passed to Fell and Fell fed the ball forward for Reed, but the striker failed to connect to the through-ball in a decent counter-attacking move. But it was not all one-way traffic, as Stanway missed a golden opportunity from six yards which ballooned over.

That miss was capitalised upon by Yarmouth, as Fell fed the ball forward to Reed again, and this time the striker made no mistake and slotted past the keeper.

Ten minutes later, with 20 minutes to play, Stanway scored again. Two players were unmarked at the far post, Hails made the save but couldn’t hold and Newsom was left with an easy finish.

Norman created a chance for himself but his shot was saved, whilst at the other end Roberts had to clear the danger after Hails saved a cross. Tong then brought on Clark for his first appearance in the first team, replacing Fell.

With five minutes to play, Reed found himself one-on-one. He got his shot away, but the goalkeeper got enough on the effort to make the ball bounce wide. Jo Bell took the resulting corner and the ball found the net without anyone getting a touch to put the visitors level once more.

The final incident ended in a booking for Hails, as he came out and flattened a Stanway striker. The free-kick was drifted in and poor marking led to a free header, but the effort went over the bar. Hails had the final say with a save in time added on.

Team: Hails, Page, Bell, Roberts, Ager, Catchpole, Fell (Clark, 82 mins), Smith (Spooner, 63 mins), Norman, Reed, Woodcock. Subs not used: Miller, Palmer. Goals: Reed, Bell. Bookings: Smith, Hails. Attendance: 52.

The reserves, following their disappointing derby result against Gorleston Reserves, travel to mid-table Walsham-le-Willows Reserves tomorrow, kick-off 3pm.

This is their last away game this season, which is followed by three home games to wind up their season. Victories in their remaining matches will see them finish at least second in the league, with the possibility of league honours if Lowestoft Reserves drop four points in their last two games.

Sunday teams results: Ladies v Acle postponed; U14 lost 1-0 to Waveney Youth A. The U11 side completed a league and cup double when they captured the league title with a 4-0 victory over Gorleston.

Sunday fixtures: Ladies v Aylsham Ladies (away); Men v Hemsby (away); U14 v Kirkley and Pakefield A (home).