(By Special Correspondent)
Great Yarmouth Town won their 4th consecutive league match in a row with a last gasp winner at Halstead Town, the first time the team have managed such a run since their promotion winning campaign of 2009/10.
Rob Hepburn, deputising for manager Mike Derbyshire
, was forced into a number of changes with Neil McMorran
, Danny Scriven and Josh Thomas
all unavailable, allowing space in the team for Charlie McAra
and Jordan Forbes
and for Damon Wise
, making only his second appearance in the league this season. There was also a changed bench with Jason Hall
finding himself in the first team squad for the first time this season, and 16 year old Connor Deeks
in line to make his senior debut.
The match couldn’t have started worse for the Norfolk side as Halstead’s Lee Hurkett converted a penalty after just two minutes after a soft penalty in Halstead’s first attack of the match. Despite that setback, the visitors started well, with both skipper Callum Jones
and McAra having efforts before 17 year old Rorie Burnett
finished well after in-form Joel Watts
showed excellent control and acceleration along with the composure to pick out his young team mate.
Yarmouth continued to threaten, Leighton Crux
fired over after a determined run and cross from striker Mitch Forbes, and Burnett again went close with a first time effort which was sailed slightly high. Patient play by the Bloaters was almost rewarded with George Barnden
’s through ball from the back being gathered by McAra who released Forbes for his powerful but inaccurate effort.
Despite Yarmouth’s chances, it was Halstead who once more regained the lead. A counter attack led by Cameron Storie resulted in the Halstead number 10 crossing the ball into the Yarmouth box, where the unfortunate Jordan Forbes
deflected the ball past ‘keeper Johnny Jarvis
Five minutes before halftime the scoreline was level once more, great flicks by Watts and McAra resulted in Forbes directing the ball into the net to make the score 2-2 at halftime.
The second half started brightly, with both teams putting in a good shift and with moments of quality. Jones had a shot which almost crept in as Halstead’s goalkeeper Jack Cherry smothered on the line after letting the ball squirm from his grip, the Yarmouth players claimed a goal but Cherry picked the ball from the right side of the line.
The deadly duo of Forbes and Watts linked up well after that, the former feeding the ball to Watts, but the striker, one-on-one, uncharacteristically tamely scuffed his chance. It was far from one way traffic and Halstead grew into the half, carving out some guilt edged chances and also having a goal chalked off for an offside. Jarvis was beaten at one point but somehow the ball was cleared when Halstead looked certain to score, but Jarvis made amends later on, rushing our well to clear when a Halstead forward looked to be through on goal. Halstead again should have scored but somehow missed a header from 6 yards out.
Hepburn made changes, bringing on Jobbagy for Crux and two under 18 players replaced each other with Burnett making way for Deeks and the changes seemed to pay dividends with Yarmouth beginning to settle the storm and again make attacks of their own.
Forbes, Watts and McAra all had efforts, but just as the game looked to be heading for a draw, in the 93rd minute Jones connected to a corner and ended up in the net through a crowd of players to give the Bloaters their fifth successive win in all competitions.
J Jarvis, D Wise, R Andersen, J Forbes, G Barnden, C Jones, C McAra, R Burnett (C Deeks 72), M Forbes, J Watts, L Crux (M Jobaggy 66).
Sub not used:
Barnden, Jarvis, Andersen
Burnett, Forbes, Jones.