Yarmouth Town increase lead at top of division
Great Yarmouth Town 2, March Town United 1SATURDAY'S win at a wet and windy Wellesley stretched the Bloaters' lead at the top of Ridgeons Division One to eight points, but the victory came at a price, writes Gerry Brown.
Great Yarmouth Town 2, March Town United 1
SATURDAY'S win at a wet and windy Wellesley stretched the Bloaters' lead at the top of Ridgeons Division One to eight points, but the victory came at a price, writes Gerry Brown.
Ace striker and influential senior player Stewart Roach suffered concussion and damage to his face in an accidental clash with a March boot and was taken to hospital for an overnight stay.
Happily, after a “comfortable” night in the JPH, Roach was out next day and looking forward to returning to action.
Yarmouth lined up with new signing Steve Best alongside Craig Roberts in the centre of the defence and ex-Linnet Luke Fell on the left wing making his home debut, but March began the match - like the weather - full of bluster.
The visitors ruled the early stages with Michael Hilton needing to make a smart save after 18 minutes, pushing a low shot round a post.
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Yarmouth had only just made their first real attack, with a Martyn Magee free-kick curling just wide, but as they got into their stride, March keeper Daniel Heath came out to clear from a rampant Roach.
A great break and cross by Fell only found Liam Bartley straying offside.
Then came the opening goal after 25 minutes: Bartley received the ball on the right wing and delivered a low cross into the box where Reed sent an angled first-timer past Heath to make it 1-0.
Moments later came the incident which gave the medics a busy afternoon.
Roach slid into the box to get on the end of a through ball but unfortunately collided with the March keeper and after several minutes of attention from both the Yarmouth and March attendants a stretcher was called for. Paramedics were also summoned and soon after an ambulance arrived at the ground.
Back with the game, Gavin Norman went on and the rest of the half passed uneventfully, though Hilton was called on to make another last-ditch save before the interval.
March began the second half as they did the first and Best needed to make a couple of smart interceptions.
But the Hares soon equalised when the diminutive and lively Ashley Brand, so often a scorer against the Bloaters, escaped his marker to slot home a cross to the far post after 52 minutes.
Fell, probably a little short of match practice because of the hiatus at King's Lynn, was replaced by Chris Owen, back for a second spell at the Wellesley. Roach's transport left, and his replacement Norman hit a March post with Heath stranded.
Yarmouth were awarded a penalty in the 77th minute for a hand-ball offence spotted by an eagle-eyed assistant. The referee had a lengthy consultation with his assistant before pointing to the spot but several March players thought they knew better and two argued their way into the referee's black book.
In the event, it was all needless as Reed placed his kick just wide of Heath's right-hand post.
Undaunted, Reed then came up with a header, though it was straight at Heath, but in the third minute of added time the youngster poked
home the winner after latching onto a through ball and beating the offside trap.
The relief amongst the home players, who formed a mini man-mountain on top of Reed, was in contrast to the despair of the visitors who had worked so hard but returned to Cambridgeshire point-less.
Yarmouth: M Hilton, J King, O Savage, C Roberts, S Best, M Magee, L Bartley (F Vide 76), D Smith, S Roach (G Norman 38), J Reed, L Fell (C Owen 67). Unused subs: M Saunders, J Bell. Attendance: 36.