Thanks to a grant from Norfolk County FA and the sterling efforts of Great Yarmouth Borough Services the Wellesley pitch was looking the best it has for many a year, providing a lush green surface to play football on, a far cry from the hard and uneven surface the home team had become used to . The addition of the fine sunshine and a decent attendance only added to the spectacle.

After last weeks’ narrow defeat at March, the Bloaters were forced into a couple of changes with Forbes unavailable and Pinheiro injured there were welcome returns to the starting lineup for Billy Wenn and Ray Urry.

Referee Ben Green got the match started with the visitors kicking off towards the Tennis Court End. The home side started well as McAvoy, back on his old stomping ground, fired in a rasping drive narrowly over the bar. Will George then found Smith who in turn passed to Attree whose shot was parried by the ‘keeper only for the ball to bounce back off the big striker and agonisingly wide of the post. Urry was   enjoying his return to the side with a couple of penetrating runs into the visitors defence but it was not all one-way traffic and the home side were grateful to defender Howell, who came across quickly to clear a dangerous move into the home side’s penalty area. Putnins also had to be alert as the visitors threatened a couple of minutes later. The game was swinging from end to end as both sides looked to get an early grip on the game, but it was the home side that carried more threat on goal. Barnes was proving his worth in midfield with a couple of timely challenges to protect his back four. Billy Wenn playing out from the defence, found Jamie Smith in behind the visitors back line and the big striker composed himself to finish well and give the Bloaters an early lead in the eleventh minute.

The  visitors mounted a couple of responses but the home defence remained defiant. Urry then found some space in midfield and played a fine ball into Smith who raced past his defender and fired in his second goal of the game with a good finish. Both sides were trying to get the ball down and play but the home side looked the more dangerous with Attree, Smith, McAvoy  and Urry proving a handful for the young visitors’ defence, with all four going close with attempts on goal before the half time break. The young visitors were neat and tidy in possession and contributed to a decent and fairly evenly-contested, first half.

HT Great Yarmouth Town 2 Sudbury Reserves 0

The home side seemed a little less expansive in the second half and a series of half-hearted attempts went begging. From a Howell throw-in, Attree’s header almost found the net but the Sudbury ‘keeper did well to fingertip the ball over the bar. Urry again was the focus of many of the home attacks with some powerful runs and dangerous crosses into the visitors’ penalty area as the Bloaters looked to add to their tally. Having given his all and carrying a knock, after a long lay off  Urry was then replaced by youngster Wes Belsten with twenty minutes left. Immediately the youngster showed his quality with a penetrating run and shot on goal for the home side. To their credit the visitors continued to probe and centre forward Joe Morris was a threat all afternoon as he won a corner for his side after breaching the home defence. Goodwin -Wright then replaced Jamie Smith as the home side coasted towards the final whistle. Putnins was called into action to make a double save from Morris as the home switched off momentarily, and the visitors piled men forwards looking for something from the game. George and Philpott then exchanged passes and Philpott’s telling cross was almost turned into his own net by a Sudbury defender. On the other side of the pitch Harry Atkins fired in a good ball to Attree and his powerful shot on the turn was well saved by ‘keeper Askew. The visitors did have the ball in the net, but the celebrations were muted for an offside flag during the build up. Youngster Belsten showed that he was not daunted by his first home appearance for the first team with another couple of attempts on goal as the home side played the game out to a conclusion and the first points on the board were secured for the Bloaters.

Not a classic game by any means but it felt like the home side always had the measure of a talented young visiting side who played their part in a well-contested game. Referee Ben Green ably assisted by Lorraine Catchpole and Harry Amey managed the game well without any fuss or controversy, and contributed to an enjoyable afternoon at the Wellesley.

Bloaters’ Manager Rob McCombe commented “ There was a lot of positives today, with players returning and new lads bedding in well. We were not really out of second gear but looked comfortable, especially in the first half.   We dropped off in the second half though and Last season I think we draw that game , but the lads resilience, togetherness and belief is much stronger this year.”

Bloaters : Putnins Atkins Philpott Howell Wenn Barnes Urry George Attree McAvoy Smith Subs : Goodwin-Wright Belsten Wing McAra Adams 

FT Great Yarmouth Town 2 AFC Sudbury Reserves 0

Att. 145