Bloaters 1 Stanway Rovers 0
Ugly Win !
With both sides fielding weakened sides for various reasons the Bloaters welcomed back Adie Ager and Mitch Forbes to the squad. Ager assumed the skippers role with Andersen on holiday. Alex Armes returned at fullback to join Ager , Howell and Savage. Managers Sinclair and Mason opted to play Hunter and Swatman in the wide areas with Bartram and Doddington patrolling the middle ,with Davis and Perfect playing in advanced roles. On the bench were Forbes, Catchpole , Holmes and young JOSH FORD
who had impressed in the defeat at Ely City on his debut . The visitors who have seen some inconsistent form of late were in 6th position with the Bloaters three points behind in 7th.
Before the game Kyle Howell
was presented with the Player of the Month award for March with a string of consistent performances since returning from injury.
Despite the overnight rain the Wellesley surface was in a poor state with bare and bobbly grass patches, and the stiff breeze that blew across the pitch would not be conducive to free-flowing football. In the early exchanges both sides struggled to keep the ball in the playing area with the wind playing havoc. Sean Perfect was the first to show any intent as he did well to win the ball from a defender and fired in a cross that managed to evade everyone. The mercurial striker then wriggled past two defenders and fired in a shot that was gathered by Punter in the visitors’ goal. Despite this Stanway had settled better and a good move between on –loan winger Blackwell and Blyth carved open a chance for the impressive Pedula, which flashed wide of Putnins post. Chances were a rarity on the day but Perfect almost caught out Punter and Ager won a header from a corner that the keeper saved well. For the visitors, a shot by Fox which was blasted over and Pedula latched onto some careless play by the bloaters but Putnins saved well. Davis was showing some glimpses of his abilities as he tricked his way past defenders but the final ball was missing as the bloaters were playing catch up for most of the first half, against a hard-working, well-organised visiting side, managed by ex- Colchester Utd Karl Duguid. The first half sprang to life when the powerful Pedula was sent crashing to the ground by Savage which resulted in a penalty award, despite Savage’s assertion that he had won the ball. Sudbury’s on-loan winger Jordan Blackwell stepped up and planted his firm shot towards the bottom left corner only for Putnins to spring across his goal to turn the ball around the post for a brilliant save. Davis then found himself some room and fired in a powerful shot that narrowly missed the upright to bring an end to a poor first half that belonged to the visitors.
HT Bloaters 0 Stanway Rovers 0
The bloaters made a substitution at half time as Mitch Forbes returned to action after injury to replace Hunter. Again the visitors were on the front foot as they won a series of corners that were all dealt with comfortably by Putnins, who was becoming a commanding presence in goal for the hosts. There was a scare when Perfect went down injured but with physio Mazze in attendance he was soon on his feet and returned to the action. The physio’s services were called upon a few minutes later as Armes made a brilliant saving tackle as Blackwell and Fosker carved their way through the home defence, resulting in a twisted ankle for the impressive fullback. Holmes was then called off the bench to replaced Doddington as the home side looked to become more offensive. Putnins was again called into action to make a save from Pedula as the visitors again showed their quality. JOSH FORD
came onto replace Armes who was still struggling from the knock received earlier .With seventeen minutes left on the clock Savage cleverly intercepted a long pass to the wing and quickly played the ball to Perfect who sprinted to the byline and pulled the ball back to the inrushing Chris Holmes
who fired the ball into the back of the net to give the Bloaters the lead. A couple of long range efforts for the visitors flew wide of the target, before Holmes released Forbes with an excellent pass and as he outran the defence and fired in a shot destined for the top corner but Punter produced an excellent save to turn the ball away for a corner. Ager’s header from the resultant corner was also well saved by the visitor’s ‘keeper. For the first time in the match the home side were exerting some pressure on the Rovers defence with a more attacking formation as Holmes ‘ introduction was having a clear impact, the veteran striker had a clear appeal for a penalty as he was unceremoniously bundled to the ground ,which was ignored by the referee. With five minutes left the desperate visitors threw all caution to the wind as they went looking for a deserved equaliser, but found the home rearguard of Armes,Savage,Ager,Howell and Ford in resolute form . With Putnins also in impressive form they formed a formidable defence which the visitors could not breach despite their good approach play. There was one last chance as Pedula broke free and fired a shot into the safe arms of the formidable Putnins, which was a fitting way to end the match. The visitors had impressed but drew blanks as Putnins claimed the Man of the Match award from match sponsors Alan and Pat Smith.
With three games left, against Gorleston away on Easter Monday , Saffron Walden at home and Hadleigh away there is an opportunity for the Bloaters to finish in the highest league position for some years,having already secured seventh place.
Joint manager Martin Sinclair added “ We have nicked the points today against a very good side, but this now cements our place in seventh and gives us an opportunity to finish even higher . Our pre-season predictions didn’t really have too much ambition other than staying in the division, so to finish in the top seven is great for everyone at the club. Elvi (Putnins) has kept us in it today, but we have come away with nothing from several games this season after playing well and that’s the way it is sometimes, winning ugly is also important. We still have several players missing which makes this win even more pleasing. “
Final Score : Great Yarmouth Town 1 (Holmes) Stanway Rovers 0
MOM : Elvijs Putnins
Bloaters : Elvijs Putnins, Alex Armes, Olly Savage, Charlie Bartram
, Adie Ager©, Kyle Howell
,Payton Swatman, Connor Doddington
,Sean Perfect, Haydn Davis
, Tom Hunter Subs : JOSH FORD
, Chris Holmes
, Mitch Forbes, Ross Catchpole
Attendance : 112
Travis Mannings’ Reserves produced a lacklustre display at Poringland Reserves drawing 1-1 , and their celebrations will be put on hold until they can gain the three more points required to win the league.