The Bloaters travelled to Mulberry Park after securing their first points of the season against Sudbury Reserves. Not surprisingly the visitors were unchanged, but Forbes returned to the squad and there was a call up for to the first team for another youngster, Kieran McCombe on the bench.
Last season’s champions-elect, Mulbarton, boosted by the inclusions of Fancett and Bemrose would have a point to prove after tasting defeat, home and away to the Bloaters last term. Under the lights on a pristine pitch the game was set to be an intriguing encounter.
The visitors started well as Urry surged forwards, earning his side a freekick deep in the Mulbarton half. Fancett then received a perfect pass and fired over, before Jamie Smith cut inside and shot goalwards and Will George’s follow up was blocked. The Bloaters looked dangerous and could have gone in front in the twelfth minute, Urry’s sliderule pass found Smith in behind the home defence and his goalbound effort was thwarted by the outstretched leg of Wandereer’s ’keeper, Wright. The home side then gained a foothold in the game as a series of swift attacks ended with efforts close to the target. Doggett tried his luck from distance and McAvoy tried the same at the other end. Ex-Bloater Cain Eagleton fired in against his old club and then Atkins got forwards to shoot as the game became an exciting end-to-end encounter. The home side won a series of corners that were repelled by the visitors as Wanderers enjoyed their best spell of the game. Another ex-Bloater Sam Whiting took a tumble on the edge of the box and Putnins made a terrific save to deny Beaumonts’ excellent freekick. Just before the break Urry found McAvoy who swivelled his hips and crossed in for Attree whose header was blocked as the visitors responded with a swift counter-attack. An entertaining and competitive half was brought to a close by young referee Matt Friend with neither side able to break the deadlock.
HT Mulbarton Wanderers 0 Great Yarmouth Town 0
The bloaters were forced into a half-time change as warrior defender Howell was forced off with a thigh injury to be replaced by Jordi Forbes. The Bloaters were on the front foot at the beginning of the second half as the lively Attree won the ball and found Urry in behind the home defence, and his excellent low cross was narrowly missed by Smith as the striker slid in. With the half only three minutes old a good move by the home side ended when Danny Beaumont fired in a low shot that deflected past Putnins to give the hosts the lead. From this moment onwards the atmosphere in the game changed, and took on a feisty edge as George and Putnins were booked for the Bloaters and Whiting for the home side. Like any good side Wanderers were managing the game and taking every opportunity to run down the clock and the visitors were becoming more and more frustrated as the one and only match ball left, was taking ages to be returned to the playing arena. The well-organised home side were soaking up what the Bloaters could muster and clear cut chances were now few and far between. Whiting fired over when through on goal before Smith was on the end of another good move by Atkins and Urry, but the cross was just too high for the big striker. With fifteen minutes left on the clock McAvoy thought he had equalised when he fizzed in a thirty yard shot that flashed agonisingly past Wright’s upright. Both sides then made changes as the game looked to be drawing to its conclusion. Fionn Goodwin-Wright replaced Attree and Belsten replaced Atkins as the Bloaters went looking for something to open up the stubborn home defence. James Bemrose had an opportunity to make the game safe for the home side as a good move saw the striker in space but he dragged his effort narrowly wide. Goodwin-Wright then saw a goalbound shot blocked as the Bloaters became more desperate. Right on the ninety minute mark McAvoy was given a free-kick opportunity thirty yards out, but unusually for the big Scot his effort missed the target. Referee Friend quite rightly was adding time on due to the multiple second half stoppages, but the home sides’ defence were able to repel anything the visitors could throw at them. With the clock now showing ninety eight minutes, a cross from centre-back Wenn was scrambled away to the edge of the area and Will George picked up the ball and made space to fire in a shot through a crowd of players, that found the bottom corner of the net, to give the Bloaters a late, late equaliser. The home side just about had time to take the restart when referee Friend blew the final whistle to end a dramatic night at Mulberry Park, much to the delight of the travelling faithful.
Bloaters’ manager Rob McCombe was delighted with his young teams’ resolve and added “What an end to what was a great game. We come away feeling it’s two points dropped rather than one saved though. We let them off the hook by not following the game plan. That shows the deeper resilience and belief within this group compared to last season – we’ve got a great changing room as the boys pull closer together.”
FT Mulbarton Wanderers 1 Great Yarmouth Town 1
Bloaters Putnins Atkins Philpott Howell Wenn Barnes Urry George Attree McAvoy Smith Subs Forbes Belsten Goodwin-Wright McCombe Adams