An injury hit Bloaters squad were dumped out of the FA Vase by a very strong Mulbarton side on the Wellesley. Will George and Cam Barnes have now been added to the longer term injury list of experienced players, Ager, Howell and McAra. Atrree’s three game suspension has also added to Manager Rob McCombe’s selection woes. However this is a squad game and opportunities present themselves for some of the younger members of the Bloaters squad. Dan Pinheiro came into midfield to join Wes Belsten ,Ray Urry and Dec McAvoy and Fionn Goodwin-Wright joined Jamie Smith up front. A bench of Wing, Ford, Adams , McCombe gave the Bloaters a very youthful-looking squad.
The visitors signalled their intent from the onset when Fancett got through the home defence and shot narrowly wide and then the same striker brought out a fine save from Putnins as the Bloaters failed to clear their lines. After early domination from the visitors the home side were fortunate when a Danny Beaumont corner was headed against the bar and then Putnins made a point blank save before the ball was headed over the bar for another let off for the home side. A minute later a great reverse pass from McAvoy put Goodwin-Wright through on goal and as the striker was about to shoot he was felled to the ground for what appeared to be an obvious penalty from those of us sat in the stand, but referee Ed Frazer deemed Goodwin-Wright to have dived and booked the striker for simulation . Five minutes later another yellow card for the home side as Putnins rushed out to cover his defence and his foul was deemed harsh enough to earn a yellow card. Urry still troubled by a niggling hamstring injury then powered forwards and fed the ball in to Smith whose shot was deflected out for a corner. From a trademark delivery from McAvoy, Smith headed goalwards straight into the arms of ‘keeper Wright, to give the home side some respite. The Bloaters who had been on the back foot then found some success out on the flanks as both fullbacks Philpott and Atkins managed to get forwards and send in crosses but the experienced Wanderers defence remained solid.
The inevitable opening goal came in the twenty fourth minute as an uncontested cross from the right saw Ben Thompson ghost in between defenders to score from close range to give Wanderers the lead. The first half continued in much the same pattern with Mulbarton showing their experience and strength as they overpowered a young home side who were guilty of some poor decision making and wasteful with the ball. Several half chances were then created by the visitors but not much to trouble Putnins in the home goal.
The home side were thrown a lifeline when McAvoy found Goodwin -Wright and he held the ball up for the advancing Smith who fired a shot across goal and into the net for a timely equaliser just before half-time. However the big striker took a hefty challenge whilst scoring and would need extensive treatment from the physio. The home side would consider themselves fortunate to go in at half-time on level terms but with something to build on for the second half, after a strong first half performance from the visitors.
HT Bloaters 1 Mulbarton Wanderers 1
The home side were forced into a half-time substitution as Smith failed to re-appear after the break and was replaced by Cameron Wing, which forced the home side to rearrange their formation. The home side had a decent spell of play early in the half but more poor passing led to the ball finding its way to Whiting who blasted a shot across Putnins to put the visitors in front, after seventeen minutes of the second half .The visitors now with the lead were content to soak any pressure the home side could muster but always looked too strong the young Bloaters. Fancett tried an audacious shot that cannoned off the bar with Putnins off his line.
Another youngster Kieran McCombe was then introduced for his first action for the first team as he replaced Urry. A great cross by Philpott was headed over his own bar by Plumstead and then some excellent play involving McCombe and Wing saw the outstretched Belsten almost connect with a volley as the home side went looking for a way back into the match. This was short-lived period of play as the visitors then went on to control the final stages of the game. The victory was confirmed when the lively sub Calum Olpin found the top corner with an excellent finish to make it 3- 1. A comfortable victory and strong performance by Mulbarton, sees them progress through to the next round of the FA Vase, and on this form they should have a decent run. For the Bloaters they can only hope that their unfortunate run of injuries and suspensions doesn’t hamper them too much as a busy autumn period approaches.
FT Great Yarmouth Town 1 Mulbarton Wanderers 3
Bloaters : Putnins Atkins Philpott Pinheiro Wenn Forbes Urry Belsten Goodwin-Wright McAvoy Smith Subs: Wing McCombe, Ford, Adams,