Yarmouth defence answering all the questions

PUBLISHED: 17:01 08 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:22 30 June 2010

Great Yarmouth Town's defence has been severely examined several times this season, but they have passed their SATs, GCSEs and, after Monday's derby win, A-levels mostly unscathed.

Great Yarmouth Town's defence has been severely examined several times this season, but they have passed their SATs, GCSEs and, after Monday's derby win, A-levels mostly unscathed. Now they face the ultimate - their Masters Degree examination by free-scoring FC Clacton on Tuesday, April 27.

That game should not have an appreciable effect on the Bloaters' promotion, which hopefully will be secured by then, writes Gerry Brown.

But it could very well determine the destiny of the First Division championship, as may tomorrow's game between leaders Brantham and third-placed Clacton, while second-placed Yarmouth are entertaining Stowmarket Town (Wellesley, 3pm). But there are still several games to go for each of the three leading teams.

“There will be a few more twists and turns yet,” says Bloaters' boss Paul Tong. “We just have to keep focusing on what we have to do.

“It's not about pretty football but about winning games. At the start of the season I reckoned that if we lost no more than five games we'd be in with a chance, and so far we are on that target. It's all still in our own hands.”

Ambitious Tong says he aims to win all six of his side's remaining games. “I told them before Monday's game my motivation is to go on and win the next seven games, not just today's. Our destiny is in our hands and it's my aim that we keep it that way.”

After tomorrow, Yarmouth's remaining fixtures are: Saturday, April 17 Downham away, Tuesday, April 20 Team Bury away, Saturday, April 24 Fakenham home, Tuesday, April 27 FC Clacton home and Saturday, May 1 Whitton away.

Tong paid tribute to his backroom staff for their part in the team's success and for the quality of the players at his disposal, especially the youngsters.

“We've brought on Ross Catchpole in the last four games and it shows we are prepared to give the youngsters a chance, and there are several others waiting in the wings - Eddie Short went on the bench on Saturday for example,” said Tong. “It's great credit to those people behind the scenes who are finding and bringing on these young players, from the Under-10s upwards.”

At the other end of the scale, Stewart Roach is fast approaching his 300th first team appearance for the Bloaters. He is currently on 297 games and the milestone should be made at Team Bury on April 20, as long as he also plays in the games against Stowmarket and Downham beforehand.

He made his debut as a substitute on March 18, 1996 against Lowestoft Town.

Yarmouth Reserves follow the first team in visiting Emerald Park when they face Gorleston Reserves tomorrow (3), with the young Greens having won 3-1 at the Wellesley in November. Liam Bartley, now with Gorleston, scored Yarmouth's goal then.

The Reserves have one remaining home game, against Woodbridge Reserves tomorrow week, then have three away games to finish their season.

Last Tuesday, the Yarmouth seconds lost for the second time in the week to Lowestoft Reserves.

The Blues, having won 4-0 in last week's Chell Trophy game, returned to the Wellesley to inflict a 4-1 defeat in a league fixture.

Although Yarmouth's Nando Vide opened the scoring after ten minutes with a wonderful 25-yard strike after tricking his way round three opponents, the young Bloaters could not hang on to

the lead and conceded two before half-time.

The Blues dominated the second half, scoring another two goals, before Yarmouth missed some late chances to claw back the deficit.

The U18s have one remaining game, at Cromer on April 20.

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