Kirkley & Pakefield 1 Great Yarmouth 2
Barnes Denies Royals Top Spot
The Bloaters travelled to Kirkley buoyed by a good win in the Vase against Thetford and were looking to put an end to their recent run of poor League form. In contrast the Royals were hoping to add three points to climb to the top of the ECL table. With skipper Ager suspended and defender Kierron Rose transferring to Norwich CBS the defence was re-shuffled .Ray Urry
retained his pace at right back after a good performance against Thetford and JOSH FORD
returned to left back to give the defence a youthful look. Ben Lewis
partnered Jordan Forbes in the centre with the latter playing his 200th game for the Bloaters. Charlie Bartram
returned to the midfield in place of the unavailable Haydn Davis. He was joined by Eagleton and Sanders with Roots and Hagan occupying the wide areas and Perfect down the middle. There was a welcome return to the bench for Ross Catchpole
who is recovering from a long-term injury alongside Ward, Holmes , Palmer and McAra.
After a deluge of rain just before kickoff the Friday night fixture kicked off with the Bloaters on the front foot. Eagleton floated in a dangerous cross that was easily gathered by Rix and Lee Roots
showed a good turn of speed before crossing dangerously as the visitors showed some early promise. Barnes had to be alert to deny a home attack as the home side looked to play to the slippery conditions with a series of swift attacks. Goldspink and Harvey-Cooper tried their luck from distance but were both wide of the mark. The home side had a clear height advantage which they looked to exploit at every opportunity and Barnes did well to save a Jack Herbert header from a corner. The visitors were holding their own against the high-flying home side with Perfect, Roots and Hagan showing up well without troubling Rix in the home goal. A good run by Haylock found Harvey-Cooper in space but his shot went wide. Ben Lewis
won an important header from a corner as the aerial bombardment continued. Just after the half-hour mark fullback Ray Urry
went surging into the Kirkley half and played the ball wide to Hagan, the young winger returned the favour and Urry hit a perfectly placed shot into the corner of the net to give the visitors the lead with a well-taken goal. The rest of the half saw the home side, stung by the goal, looking to get back on level terms. Injuries to both centre-backs Forbes and Lewis did not help the cause, as they both hobbled back into action. A free-kick was awarded to the home side on the stroke of half-time and Lopez’ shot cannoned off the bar to preserve the Bloaters’ lead.
HT Kirkley & Pakefield 0 Great Yarmouth 1
As expected from a side sitting second in the table, the home side came out pressing for an equaliser and Barnes did well to save from Haylock and Will should have done better from the rebound. Another blow for the Bloaters saw the influential Ben Lewis
hobble off to be replaced by Miles Palmer
. Urry reverted to centre-back and Roots dropped to right back as the Bloaters looked to defend their lead, given the personnel available to them, with only attacking players on the bench. There was almost a chance for the visitors to extend their lead as Flower slipped and Perfect was able to shoot but his effort cleared the bar. The home side to continued to press but the determined Bloaters were defending well with Urry and Forbes sticking manfully to their task against a barrage of attacks.The home side were looking particularly dangerous at set pieces utilising their clear height advantage. Sanders then fired in a free-kick from the left hat had Rix scrambling across his goal to push over the bar. Minutes later, and now midway through the second half, the Bloaters were awarded another free-kick, this time Sanders overhit his shot and as Rix came to claim he fumbled the ball into his own net to extend the visitor’s lead. Ross Catchpole
came on to replace Sanders and was welcomed back after a long layoff by Lewis Hammond who fouled the ex-Kirkley man and received a yellow card for his efforts. The hard-working SEAN PERFECT
was then replaced by Holmes after putting in another decent shift for his side.
The last fifteen minutes belonged to Bloater’s ‘keeper KINGSLEY BARNES
as he saved from Will and then denied the home side with a brilliant save from a twenty yard freekick. With ten minutes left Roots made contact with Haylock in the penalty area and referee Chalkley had no hesitation in awarding a penalty to the home side. Miguel Lopez stepped up and duly fired in the spot-kick to give the Kirkley revival more purpose. Barnes rushed out to deny Harvey-Cooper and then saved well from Flower’s header as the home side’s assault continued. With four minutes of normal time left a tackle by Forbes on Harvey-Cooper was deemed illegal by referee Mark Chalkley and another spot-kick was awarded to the home side, despite the bloater’s angry protests. Lopez stepped up again , but this time Barnes flung himself to right and parried the ball out and the rebound was fired wide. The Royals continued to press for an equaliser but it wasn’t to be for the home side and Barnes and his defence remained defiant to claim a first victory in some time over their Sufflok rivals.
A delighted Martin Sinclair added “ To go to high-flying Kirkley was always going to be a tough task especially with Davis,Ager.Rose and Oliver all missing from our squad. But our lads dug in and rode their luck to secure a very hard-earned thre points. A few decisions went against us but we battled like warriors and KINGSLEY BARNES
must be singled out for his heroic display.”
Bloaters : Barnes Urry Ford Bartram Forbes Lewis Roots Eagleton Perfect Sanders Hagan Subs : Holmes Catchpole Palmer Ward McAra
FT Kirkley & Pakefield 1 Great Yarmouth Town 2