The new look 2021-22 Bloaters got off to a poor start in the new Thurlow Nunn season, with defeat at Feldale to new boys Whittlesey Athletic FC.

McCombe featured 4 new signings with Seumas Bobby and Charlie Blake returning to the club after a year away, plus ex Bloater Kieran Hagan also featuring alongside Charlies brother John. There was a Step 6 league debut for Tyler Halliday who broke through at the end of the 2021 season.

It was Whittlesey though who looked the brighter in the early exchanges with Whittington gifted an early chance after just 3 minutes, but he dragged his shot wide of the post. The Bloaters had a mini-rally shortly after with an excellent run and cross by Mccara across the 6 yard box to which nobody was able to connect. The lively Mccara had a glorious chance to put the Bloaters in the lead on 13 minutes following a good cross by Hagan, but headed over. Neither side were settling or taking a stronghold in the game, with Yarmouth guilty of too many losses of possession as they uncharacteristically looked to go long on Whittlesey’s large pitch.

In the 34th minute, following what looked to be a foul on Mccara, the ball popped clear and led to the games first Yellow card as Bobby, although making strong contact with the ball also went through the Whittlesey player. The home bench, calling for a straight Red were to be disappointed as quite clearly the referee saw Bobby play the ball. It was a very poor first half by the Bloaters’ but they really should have taken the lead before the break, with Hagan capitalising on a defensive error and rattled the foot of the post in a 1v1, and couldn’t find baker with the rebound.

HALF TIME – Whittlesey 0-0 Great Yarmouth

The Bloaters fresh from a Half time volley from the management team took to the second half with much greater purpose and started to play the football they have delivered in pre-season, but again neither side were taking hold of the game, until the 59th minute when Yarmouth switched off from a free kick following their corner, and Whittlesey countered to the other end, and although Putnins parried the shot, following a bit of pinball in the box, the ball fell to the Whittlesey striker who smashed it home.

The goal appeared to wake up The Bloaters and they were unlucky not to equalise within 2 minutes when Howell played in Mccara who put another great ball in the box but Hagan was unable to finish. There was a flurry of Bloaters’ attacks which the home defense had to defend, and once again Hagan was at the heart of the danger, and on 65minutes looked to equalise, but following a mazy run into the box his shot drifted just wide of the upright.

Cam Barnes delivered a fantastic ball into birthday boy Baker – who met the ball in the air and looked certain to equalise, but again was unable to test the keeper as the ball went just wide. One of the best chances to equalise came from league debutant Halliday who found himself on the edge of the box with the keeper to beat, but put his effort just over the bar.

The Bloaters just couldn’t find the goal to get them back into the game though, despite a much better second half and Whittlesey held on for the 3 points.

The Bloaters Manager had this to say; “At half time I was fuming. The lads let themselves down, playing more direct than in all our games during preseason put together and we were awful in that half. I asked for a response and to be fair the improvement in the second half was positive, but our failure to capitalise on the pressure we created was frustrating”.

Bloaters: Putnins, Halliday, Philpott, Howell, Blake J, Barnes , Blake C, Bobby, Baker, Hagan, Mccara

Subs: Belsten, Edwards, Pinheiro, Jacobs

The Bloaters are next in action on Saturday 14/8 Away to Debenham LC

CREDIT: Thanks to Dan Mason (@DanMasonSport) for his excellent Twitter coverage of the game – helped us put together this match report! Check out his content – excellent reporter.