Norwich United 1 Great Yarmouth 2
Roots’ Strike Denies Planters
The Bloaters still looking for their first points of the season, made four changes for the short trip up the A47 to play Norwich United. Holmes, Urry ,Forbes and Rose were replaced by Ager, Oliver, Ward and Ford. The visitors were looking for a solution to their defensive problems, which had seen them leak twelve goals in their first three league matches. Sean Perfect failed a late fitness test , still struggling with a groin injury and Cullumbine was still out with a hamstring injury. Sanders was away on holiday.
The much improved Plantation Park pitch had survived the ravages of the heatwave and looked in good condition for this midweek fixture. The Bloaters started the game well as a good move started by Davis breaking out of midfield ,found Hagan who in turn slipped the ball to Roots whose fierce drive narrowly missed the far post. Goalkeeper Barnes then had to be alert to save a Danny Crowe header across the box as the Planters responded. The home side were having the better of a scrappy first half, with Barnes the busier of the two ‘keepers. Jackson hit the bar from a header from a cross by Hitch but neither side were producing enough quality to dent either defence, but it was the home side who looked more likely. The first goal game in the thirty seventh minute, a quickly-taken free-kick found Hagan in space in the penalty area and he jinked inside and fired in a shot past Pearson to give the Bloaters the lead, for the first time this season. Hagan was now enjoying himself until he was unceremoniously dumped to the ground by Jackson, who received a yellow card for his efforts. The Bloaters looked to extend their lead when a good free-kick by Ford found the head of former Planter ,Ben Lewis
,but Pearson was well-positioned to make a good save. As a poor first half was about to be concluded, an innocuous cross into the visitor’s penalty area was not effectively cleared and the ball was bundled home, to gift the home side an equaliser on the stroke of half time. It was no more than the Planters deserved as they had been the better of the two sides in the first period.
HT : Norwich United 1 Great Yarmouth 1
The Bloaters came out for the second half in a different formation and immediately Lee Roots
burst through the home defence and crossed to Eagleton whose goalbound shot was deflected out for a corner. The game returned to scrappy style of the first half, with neither side keeping the ball well enough to make a serious attack on goal. United made their substitutions and Holmes came on for Oliver for the Bloaters. Whilst not enjoying great periods of possession the Bloaters were having the edge in terms of territory with most of the play in the Planter’s half, as the visitors looked for their first points of the season. The experienced centre-back pairings of Watts and Eastaugh for the Planters and Lewis and Ager for the Bloaters were in command for most of the exchanges. The Bloaters continued to press forwards but a quick break by the home side saw substitute Watts-Sturrock blast over with a dipping shot from twenty yards. With five minutes left Holmes wrestled the ball away, and found Roots who showed a good turn of pace as he powered into the box and held off two defenders before firing in a left foot shot into the corner of the net to give the Bloaters the lead. The celebrations clearly demonstrated the relief for the visitors. The home side threw caution to the wind as they went in search of an equaliser, and Barnes punched clear as a dangerous cross came in from Mackie. Eastaugh saw his header glance wide of the upright and then Jones saw a good strike narrowly clear the bar, as the hosts searched for an equaliser . The Bloaters hung on and survived an anxious final five minutes and finally took their first points of the season.
A clearly relieved Adam Mason commented “We’ve got to be pleased to get off the mark tonight, it was never going to be easy but we just asked the lads to compete in all areas of the park, which they did. They showed great character to grind out a win .We have had to play all of our first five fixtures away from home, and in truth have played better than we did tonight, but still lost. Away points are precious in this league and we are just relieved to get our first win.”
FT: Norwich United 1 Great Yarmouth Town 2 (Hagan , Roots)
Great Yarmouth : Barnes ,Eagleton, Ford, Bartram, Ager© , Lewis, Roots, Davis, Oliver, Hagan, Ward Subs : Forbes, Holmes, Rose, Urry, Perfect