Yarmouth four points clear at top of league

Great Yarmouth Town 4, Downham Town 0With FC Clacton idle, Yarmouth restored their four-point lead at the top of Ridgeons League Division One with this comprehensive victory that could have been even more emphatic.

Great Yarmouth Town 4, Downham Town 0

With FC Clacton idle, Yarmouth restored their four-point lead at the top of Ridgeons League Division One with this comprehensive victory that could have been even more emphatic.

Four players were unavailable for various reasons and Paul Tong was struggling midweek for a side, writes Gerry Brown.

In came untried youth keeper Craig Lambert, Alan Darby from his self-imposed retirement and Martin Goulder from the Reserves - whose game at Needham Market was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch. In addition, new signing Johnny King from Diss Town made his debut at right back.

Liam Bartley was also in the starting line-up for the first time in seven games, replacing Fernando Vide who took a place on the bench.

Bartley immediately justified his selection with the opening goal after 17 minutes. Olly Savage sent a long diagonal cross over to the right and Bartley impressively steered an immaculate first-time shot between Downham keeper Ben Griffin and

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his post.

The rampant Bloaters had already seen three efforts denied, Bartley having a cross cleared off the line then being denied by keeper Ben Griffin before Scott Woodcock shot into the side netting.

After 27 minutes, Dominic Smith had a shot pushed round a post by Griffin, and the re-jigged Yarmouth defence had little difficulty in repulsing the few tentative Downham attempts to move forward.

John Connolly and Ryan Pearson produced the only efforts of note from the visitors before Craig Roberts doubled the Bloaters' lead after

40 minutes.

Stewart Roach's long throw-in to the area saw Roberts' header pushed round by Griffin but the keeper was helpless to keep out Roberts' second effort from Woodcock's subsequent corner kick.

Four minutes after the break Bartley made it three from a Woodcock cross, and the game was effectively over.

Just after the hour, following the substitution of Jake Reed for Roach. A somewhat comical sequence of events after a Bartley shot hit a post resulted in Gavin Norman scoring the fourth goal.

There were further chances for Yarmouth to benefit but no more goals accrued to the Bloaters' account.

All the additional players slotted well into the system, with King taking the eye in defence and Goulder filling in admirably in midfield, as he has done every time he has been asked to play.

However, Downham did not present a formidable obstacle to Yarmouth's progress with barely a shot on target being noted, unless you count the “goal” that was disallowed from a free-kick awarded after a back pass was picked up by Lambert - the Downham player evidently did not realise that the free-kick was indirect.

Team - C Lambert, J King, O Savage, C Roberts, A Darby, M Goulder, L Bartley (J Bell 68), D Smith, S Roach (J Reed 60), G Norman, S Woodcock (M Thompson 80). Unused subs: F Vide, B Junior. Att: 42

Yarmouth have made available half-price half-season tickets which permit the holder admission to all the remaining nine first team league games, plus all reserve and youth league games as from December 26th.

At just �40 for adults and �20 concessions these are a real bargain buy and worth considering as the Bloaters' promotion push gains momentum in the second half of the season.

They can be obtained at any home game or by telephoning the secretary Colin Jones on 07872 121942.

Great Yarmouth Town Reserves 1, Dereham Town Reserves 3

Up against unbeaten table-toppers Dereham, whose side was packed with returning first-teamers including the redoubtable Robbie Harris, Yarmouth's young side produced a commendable display but fell to their more experienced mid-Norfolk opposition by the same score as in the recent match at Dereham.

Unlike Yarmouth, Dereham were unable to use their youth players as that team had a league game at

the same time, whereas eight of the Bloaters' squad were regular U18 players.

But assistant manager Andy Deeley was making no excuses: “Their effort was fantastic, and it was a good experience for the youngsters, they will learn from that.

“I could not fault our lads, six of the Dereham side could walk straight into their first team. Johnny Watt was a brilliant leader for us”.

Yarmouth showed up better in the early stages. Jake Sharpe in goal made a superb save after only 10 minutes, denying a Dereham player who had broken through and seemed to have the whole goal to aim at.

Watt had a clever header picked up at the foot of the far post and Martin Goulder saw a tremendous shot rebound from the bar before Yarmouth took a 17th minute lead.

Fernando Vide, who had threatened to terrorise the Dereham defence on his own, showed immaculate ball control to steer a low shot to the far post.

Dereham equalised in the 33rd minute. After Sharpe had advanced to the edge of his area he lost out to Scott Roberts, who scored. And three minutes later, Harris used all his skill to keep possession in the Yarmouth area and beat Sharpe on the turn.

The second half was even and Joe Bell was in top form for Yarmouth, but Dereham went further ahead after 75 minutes as the home defence got in a tangle and Harris was able to walk the ball into the net.

Vide produced more magic for the Bloaters but all in vain as Yarmouth went down to their fourth 3-1 defeat in the last six games.

Team - J Sharpe, B Junior, E Short, J Watt, D Barnes, J Maitland, L Greening, M Goulder, F Vide, J Deeley, J Bell. Subs (all used): C McAra, R Catchpole, D Harvey.