Yarmouth hit back in second half to draw

Histon Reserves 2, Great Yarmouth Town 2

With availability problems, Paul Tong called up Bernardo Junior for his first senior appearance of the season, writes Gerry Brown.

Glen Spooner replaced Oliver McCarthy at centre-back alongside Chris Duffy. Gavin Norman returned after missing out on Tuesday against Kirkley, and Johnny Miller, though still with his ankle not quite right, nevertheless took a place on the bench alongside youngsters Eddie Short and Jake Jessup.

The second-from-bottom home side started with only two players over 20, both of whom were first-team squad members.

On a lovely surface, the game started with a flurry of Histon attacks, and from their second corner in the seventh minute they took the lead. Carlow Lawrence, who had just rejoined the club, pushed the ball home through a crowd of players.

Histon, despite their dominance, created few real chances until 22 minutes when they won a corner, but when the ball came in from the flag-kick Oliver Verrall headed over.

However, Histon went further in front after 32 minutes when Michael Hilton came for a long ball but missed it in a gust of wind, and from the half-clearance Kenny Smith lobbed the ball over the defence for 2-0.

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A minute later Yarmouth won their first corner, but after 35 minutes came their one real chance of the half when Olly Savage took a free-kick and rattled thebar with a great dipping effort.

Histon finished the half as they started, on the attack. Jay Dowie put a kneeling header wide at the far post and Hilton produced a great save at the expense of a corner off the same player, whose long shot had just hit a post. The Yarmouth stopper stretched to push the ball round the same post with his fingertips.

The second half start was delayed by a change of referee due to the original official feeling unwell.

Yarmouth came out of the starting blocks the quickest when the half did get under way 10 minutes late. A foul on Jake Reed saw Scott Woodcock’s free-kick hit the Histon bar after 48 minutes, then Dominic Smith had a shot charged down and cleared.

Yarmouth’s new-found confidence led to the recovery of one goal when, in the 50th minute, Reed looked up from fully 30 yards, took aim and arrowed a perfect screamer of a shot into the top corner.

In the 55th minute Reed and Woodcock again combined with a passing move which only won a throw-in. But a minute later there was a much greater reward when Reed was pushed over in the box and Woodcock stepped up to the spot to equalise with a thundering penalty.

Two minutes later the Bloaters were unlucky not to have the lead when Gavin Norman sent a pass into the path of Woodcock, who let fly with a tremendous drive that was only just too high.

Yarmouth kept up the pressure on the home defence while the Bloaters back four looked increasingly secure and the midfield of Ross Catchpole and Smith worked tigerishly to retain possession in the middle of the park.

A magnificent crossfield pass by Bernardo Junior won a Yarmouth corner, and when that was cleared Fernando Vide gained yet another. But in conceding it the Histon keeper sustained an injury which led to him being replaced by centre-forward Kenny Smith with all Histon’s three permitted subs having been used.

In the 83rd minute, Woodcock was again the provider to Reed who slid his clear chance wide of the back post.

Johnny Miller, on for Vide, provided a pass intended for Reed, and when this was poorly cleared Reed still looked in a good position to collect the loose ball but it proved just too fast for him.

Some great defending by Junior and Spooner saved the day in separate incidents in the closing minutes, but Yarmouth could then have won the game in added time.

A Woodcock shot was diverted by the keeper’s foot for a corner and in the dying seconds a Savage cross to the back post saw Woodcock stab wide.

Yarmouth: M Hilton, B Junior, O Savage, G Spooner, C Duffy, R Catchpole, F Vide, D Smith, G Norman, J Reed, S Woodcock. Subs: J Miller (Vide, 80), E Short, J Jessup.

Attendance: 51.