Point Gained Rather Then Two Points Lost
Haverhill Rovers 0 Great Yarmouth Town 0
The Bloaters travelled to deepest Suffolk with a depleted squad , without Taylor, Crux, Holmes, Perfect, Bailey , Swatman, and long-term absentees Hall ,Rose and Jordan Forbes. Their plight was dealt a further blow when influential centre-back Ager was unable to participate in the warm up and Charlie Bartram
pulled up injured before the start. This meant a re-shuffle with the versatile Connor Deeks taking up the right back position and Ollie Savage coming in at left back for his first start back with the club, although he admitted to not playing a ninety minute match for over four years. Captain Andersen and Kyle Howell
took up the central defensive roles with Haydn Davis reverting to centre midfield alongside Applegate,who himself was carrying a bug , and there were rare starts for Chaz McAra and under 18s captain Thomas Hunter on the wings. Jamie George returned to the team alongside the premature return of Mitch Forbes
, who was also recovering from recent injury . With the injury crisis set in, coach Ross Catchpole became the only fit substitute, and he himself will admit to not being fully match fit. Jack Whatmough retained his place in goal after a couple of good displays between the sticks.
The home side were not without their own problems with Weaver missing and apart from a couple of good scalps in the league and Cup were in a poor run of form with only one victory in the new year, however they were bolstered by new signing Adam Sartini and a loan extension for Will Gardiner. With the remnants of storm Doris refusing to depart this was never going to be a game for the purists with the strong wind and difficult surface.
The hosts kicked off with the benefit of the wind and Andersen had to be alert to head clear from a goalbound header by Jon Milne .The Bloaters first chance fell to Davis in the twelfth minute after some good work by McAra, but his 20 yard shot missed the target. The home side were then awarded a hotly contested free-kick that was expertly delivered and as Whatmough came to smother under a challenge the ball spilled out to Milne who managed to miss the target from close range. Worse was to come as Whatmough didn’t get up immediately and was clearly suffering an injured hand. With no substitute goalkeeper he was forced to continued but clearly troubled by the injury. The Bloaters were mostly content to invite the home side onto them but had their best chance of the half as Deeks fed Forbes who turned his marker and crossed for George and his ball into McAra was slightly too long and the winger could only blast his shot across the goal from an acute angle with nobody on hand to turn the ball into the net. Another hotly-disputed free kick was awarded to the home side by referee Cutmore. Again the home side fired in a dangerous free kick and with Whatmough clearly struggling to hold onto the ball, the home side anticipated another spillage, this time resulting in a poor challenge that left the beleaguered ‘keeper with studmarks down his shins, that required lengthy treatment . With the half-time break looming Sam Applegate hit a volley wide and Deeks was unfortunate after Andersen’s freekick found the defender in space. The home side probably shaded the first half but managers Sinclair and Mason would have been delighted to get all eleven players back in the dressing room in one piece.
HT Haverhill Rovers 0 Bloaters 0
After the break the Bloaters now enjoyed the benefits of the wind and immediately Applegate tested Turner with a cheeky lofted shot that narrowly cleared the bar. Applegate turned provider next as he floated in a dangerous corner and Deeks’ goalbound header was cleared away after a goalmouth scramble. The breeze was clearly to the visitors liking as they dominated most of the possession after the break forcing several corners. For the hosts Milne was unfortunate to see his header drift wide after good work by the industrious Bradley and Forbes almost put the Bloaters ahead after a fine ball from Hunter, but keeper Turner rescued the ball for his side. The Bloaters continued to dominate with Davis and Applegate prominent but the home defence worked hard to keep the visitors at bay and whilst enjoying lots of possession the Bloaters did not create too many clear cut chances. Another goalmouth scramble from a dangerous freekick by Andersen was smuggled away and Hunter’s powerful drive was deflected away for another corner as the visitors asserted their authority. The home side created a couple of late chances but fortunately for the Bloaters their attempts were off target. The backfour of Deeks, Andersen, Howell, and Savage performed well to protect the injured Whatmough, who had much less to do in the second half. Applegate and Davis were causing problems with their numerous inswinging corners but home ‘keeper Turner and his defence were up to the task and managed to clear most of the danger. The visitors pressed for a winner but it was not be, and the home side claimed a valuable point for themselves.
After an awful start to the day this turned out to be a decent away trip for the Bloaters, as the fine people of Haverhill were generous and gracious hosts with their excellent facilities. On the face of it this might have looked like two points dropped , but given the difficult circumstances prior to the game this was most definitely a point gained and joint-mangers Sinclair and Mason were philosophical after the game,
Adam Mason added “We had enough players unavailable to make up a whole side and a sub! That included two of last weeks’ back four that beat Brantham , so to get a point, and more pleasing a clean sheet, we have to be pleased. Although we would have taken a point before the game we actually dominated the second half and did enough to win all three. We are now unbeaten in four matches and that is a very decent February behind us. ”
Alan “The General” Smith would like to publicly apologise to everyone at the Club for his actions yesterday. He was seen eating a sandwich midway through the second half, in the away dugout . He claims that his action was definitely not associated with any newspaper betting scandal and that he was merely “Hank Marvin”. The club will investigate his actions during the week.
Next match for the Bloaters is an attractive looking home fixture against second-placed and one of the in-form teams in the Premier Division Felixstowe, at the Wellesely. Hopefully with players returning from injury the Bloaters will be able to provide a stern test for the high-flying visitors in what promises to be an entertaining encounter.
Final Score : Haverhill Rovers 0 Great Yarmouth Town 0
Haverhill Rovers : Turner , Halls, Geoghan, Abbott, Holmes ©, Boddey, Newman, Milne, Palmer, Haines, Bradley Subs : Gardner, Leavers, Longley, Sartini.
Great Yarmouth : Whatmough , Deeks, Applegate, Savage, Howell, Andersen © McAra, Davis, Forbes,George ,Hunter. Subs Catchpole, injured Ager, Bartram
The Reserves bolstered their position in the league with a fine 3-1 victory over promotion rivals Harleston Reserves at the Wellesley. Goals from former youth players Toby Gorbould and Regan Harman plus one from Matty Wallis secured a valuable three points for Travis Manning’s team .The reserves produced one of their best performances of the season and currently sit second in the table with three games in hand over their main rivals, before Tuesdays fixture with Beccles Town Reserves.