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Win gives Bloaters fifth-place finish

PUBLISHED: 12:48 07 May 2009 | UPDATED: 13:50 03 July 2010

Bloaters' keeper Michael Hilton who has been in fine form.

Bloaters' keeper Michael Hilton who has been in fine form.

Two man-of-the-match per-formances by Michael Hilton in the past 10 days helped Great Yarmouth Town to continue their successful end to the season - one defeat in nine games - which complemented their good start last summer/autumn (eight wins and one draw in the opening nine games).

Two man-of-the-match per-formances by Michael Hilton in the past 10 days helped Great Yarmouth Town to continue their successful end to the season - one defeat in nine games - which complemented their good start last summer/autumn (eight wins and one draw in the opening nine games).

The pity is that the middle period saw a dip in results, thanks to injuries and player movements, most notably Darren Lamb's broken leg and the requirements of employment that took Nick Crawley and Adam Sullivan away, writes Gerry Brown.

Overall, though, manager Paul Tong is satisfied with the performance as a whole, considering the lack of strength in depth that he has often talked about this season.

Just look at some stats (with one game still to come): best points total and division placing for 10 years; second-highest number of away wins in their division (only champions Newmarket achieved more); equal-highest away goals scored in their division (with Halstead).

At home, though, it's a different story, and perhaps the dreadfully small attendances for a town of Yarmouth's population had an influence.

The Youth team have their championship play-off semi-final on Monday at Soham Town Rangers (7.45). If they are successful, the final is at Diss Town on Tuesday May 19 (7.45).

Great Yarmouth Town 1, Halstead Town 1

IN the four seasons Yarmouth have spent in Ridgeons Division One, they have faced either the champions

or a promotion-seeking team in the last game - all of which have been at home.

Starting the day in third place two points ahead of Debenham LC and needing to win to ensure promotion, Halstead's failure to beat a team they had smashed 7-1 a few weeks ago left them hanging on for Debenham's result, hoping they hadn't won by more than two goals. In the event, the Suffolk outfit annihilated hosts March 7-0, leaving a dejected Halstead team to drown their sorrows in Legends Bar.

Had it been a boxing match, Halstead would have walked the game on points. But Yarmouth's defence though severely tested for the second time in four days passed with flying colours. Michael Hilton's goal was breached just the once, Chris Bryan heading home a cross in first-half added time.

To the obvious great relief of visiting team and supporters, this equalised Scott Woodcock's 15th- minute penalty, awarded when Adey Ager's hooked shot was blocked by Danny Rowell's upraised hands.

The Bloaters could have been behind twice in the first five minutes but after they shocked Halstead by going ahead the home players grew in confidence though actual shots on target were rare.

The visitors recovered their composure and came back with a header off the Yarmouth bar, then

a corner that Hilton did well to claw down.

Halstead were surprisingly wasteful of their opportunities but they did have one of the best defences - only three teams have conceded fewer - to beat.

In their previous seven games, Yarmouth had let in only two goals. Hilton reigned supreme in a competitive defence missing star performer Alan Darby where Adam Sewell filled in admirably.

With Stewart Roach unavailable, a re-jigged front-line featured fearless midfielder Bobby Hill whose battle experience stood him in good stead as Halstead grew more desperate in their search for a winning goal that would have put them back in the Premier Division.

However, despite a corner count of 10-2, and three “goals” ruled out for various infringements, the frustrated visitors could not beat Hilton again and the home crowd were well pleased with their favourites' final efforts.

Yarmouth: Hilton, Watt, Savage, Gorbould, Ager (c), Darby, Bartley, Squire, Hill, Reed (Lawrence 46), Woodcock (Bryanton 66). Unused sub: Thompson. Referee - N Jacques (Gorleston). Attendance - 77.

Saffron Walden Town 0, Great Yarmouth Town 1

A terrific defensive performance, topped off by a man-of-the-match performance from keeper Hilton, and a superb finish from Scott Woodcock, enabled Yarmouth to return from Essex with a rare three points from Catons Lane.

Saffron Walden dominated possession throughout but were unable to beat the Yarmouth defence in which Hilton was outstanding.

Yarmouth had two shots on target in the first half. Chris Squire sent a free-kick straight at home keeper Pledger, but the second in the 35th minute, brought the game's only goal - a corker.

Bryanton sent the ball out to Woodcock on the right and, looking up, he saw Pledger way off his line. Woodcock sent in a wonderfully-flighted attempt that dipped perfectly under the bar.

Captain Adey Ager also performed heroics, including a goal-saving clearance off the line. Johnny

Watt produced a second goal-line clearance.

In the closing minutes Gorbould, Lawrence, and Woodcock all shot narrowly wide.

Yarmouth: Hilton, Watt, Savage, Gorbould, Ager (c), Darby, Woodcock (Thompson 90), Squire, Roach (Lawrence 46), Bartley (Vide 68), Bryanton. Referee - M Gadd. Att: 128.

Great Yarmouth completed their Ridgeons League Division One season with a 3-0 win at Stowmarket Wednesday night, courtesy of two goals from Jake Reed and one from Liam Bartley.


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