Youth policy works for Bloaters
Great Yarmouth Town FC by Gerry Brown
FIELDING one of their youngest-ever squads last Saturday — average age 21 with only two players over 24 — Yarmouth took on and matched an experienced Haverhill Rovers side that has risen to third in the table and includes former professional Stuart Wardley. He, at the height of his career, played 95 games for QPR.
The most exciting thing about the squad was that nine of the Bloaters’ players were either current or recent past members of the Under-18s. This may have been forced on the club by the current situation including injuries and unavailability but shows that the club’s youth development system is working, and this can only be augur well for the future.
Manager Paul Tong was exceedingly pleased with his young squad: “It was a magnificent team performance and it felt actually like a victory. The lads battled out an excellent game with both sides creating chances.
“There was some good keeping once again from Archie (Jake Jessup) who belied his years with an outstanding performance and there was some great defending from both sides.
“It was good to see our re-formed defence getting a good understanding together, and hopefully we can take this forward into our remaining games to achieve our safety target to retain our Premier status, which I am sure we will.
“How good it was to have Gareth Palmer available and playing well — he has been a
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major influence on the last two games. I must also emphasise the commitment shown by Gavin Norman and Luke Fell who travel from Watton and near Dereham to play for the club; I commend their dedication. It was also a useful outing for youngsters Charlie McAra and Jak Hume to experience the first team though they didn’t get on in the end; it was just too close to change anything.”
Yarmouth have had some tough away games recently at Wisbech, Norwich United and Haverhill and although they only gained a single point from these three performances the Bloaters deserved more, and both Norwich United and Wisbech only won two goal-packed matches with very late strikes.
With Wisbech visiting the Wellesley tomorrow for a quick return match (3pm), Tong reflected on an excellent welcome at the Fenmen’s new ground but added, “The only thing they didn’t give us was the three points! I thought we deserved something from the game but they are a quality side and our lack of experience obviously told at the end of the day.” Yarmouth, after taking the lead when Jake Reed capitalised on a goalkeeping error, went behind before half-time, equalised straight after the break through new captain Gavin Norman and then had the better of the game only for Wisbech to find a late winner.
The Reserves home game last week was postponed through a waterlogged pitch. Tomorrow they take on Debenham LC Reserves at Maitlands (3pm). The Under 18s have just three games, all away, to conclude their season, and next week visit Dereham Town Youth on Tuesday (7.45pm).
Sunday teams: the Men lost 2-6 at Camden Tavern, the Ladies beat Acle 3-0, the U11 drew 1-1 with Waveney U11 A and the U14 lost 0-5 to Waveney U14 A; the U16 match v Shrublands was abandoned after 15 minutes due to a serious injury to a Shrublands player which necessitated an ambulance being called. Fixtures: Men v El Sol (Beaco, 10.30am), Ladies v Swanton Ladies (Wellesley, 12.30pm), Youth U11 v Ransomes (Ipswich & Suffolk U11 Open Cup a), Youth U14 v Ransomes (Ipswich & Suffolk U14 Open Cup, a), Youth U16 v Kirkley & Pakefield A (NSYL U16 Cup, Mag. 2pm).