Report By Martin Baxter
On a lovely early spring sunny evening our reserves have their 2nd match in the group stages of the Norfolk Premier Cup against Norton Athletic in what should be a stern test for the young Bloaters side under the lights at the Wellesley.
A strong looking home side includes first team regulars Chas McAra, Declan McAvoy and Kieran McCombe and with the in form Harvey Johnson also starting Yarmouth look to have a very powerful forward line for this game.
Before kick off I have a chat with Yarmouth club president Arthur Fisk who asks me to mention in my report the excellent recent performances by our young keeper Fenn Nicholls.
The game starts with both sides sounding each other out and Yarmouth get a couple of early free kicks which McAvoy takes, but fails to find the target.
After this Norton also have a couple of long range efforts which go well wide and then on 20 minutes keeper Nicholls fails to clear a regulation back pass and the ball deflects off of an oncoming Norton striker and goes just wide.
As the game settles down it is Norton who have the greater physical presence in midfield and Yarmouth are finding it a struggle to get a foothold in this area of the pitch and it is difficult to see anything other than a tough night for the rest of the evening for our youngsters.
In the 40th minute the very powerful Norton number 9 Rory Bertram has a header from a cross go just pass the left hand post and 2 minutes later has another good effort also go just wide and it looks only a matter of time before the visitors take the lead and Yarmouth are at this point just grabbing at the odd half chance but with no real threat at goal.
Right on half time the unfortunate Nicholls once again makes a mistake with a back pass and it goes straight to the Norton number 11, who slots home to give his side a deserved half-time lead.
Half time Great Yarmouth 0 Norton Athletic 1.
The 2nd half starts in now foggy conditions and it is again Norton asking all the questions and on 47 minutes Nicholls makes a fine save from a close range effort from Bertram and again foils the visitors with another great stop on 57 minutes following a corner and full credit to the young keeper after his first half costly mistake he is really playing well and does not seem in anyway affected by it, which is the sign of a strong character.
On the hour mark Harvey Johnson has a great bursting run through at goal and unleashes an unstoppable screamer from 20 yards out which sails into the top of the net and puts the match all level at 1-1.
This equaliser gives Yarmouth a lift and on 70 minutes Meakins has a header from a right wing cross well stopped by the visitors keeper and Yarmouth are now finally matching their opponents and looking a lot more positive in all areas of the pitch.
However on 80 minutes a Norton defender goes down with a serious looking knee injury and the game is held up for around 10 minutes whilst he is taken off the pitch and then driven to James Paget Hospital and hopefully he will be fine.
The long delay seems to suit the away side better as they take the lead from a corner after the re-start and 2 minutes later seal their win with a superb strike from 30 yards out which gives Nicholls no chance of stopping.
Yarmouth get a goal back with the last kick of the game following a corner and a tap in from substitute Louise Moyes, but it is only a consolation on the night.
Full time: Great Yarmouth Town Reserves. 2 Norton Athletic 3.
After the game Yarmouth joint manager Paul Blissett said” This was a great learning experience for our young reserve side and playing teams like Norton will only help these young Bloaters down the line for the future, and good luck to Norton for the rest of the competition”
Great Yarmouth line up: Nicholls, Halliday, Jacobs, Sayer, Skoyles, Pinherio, Meakins, McCombe, Johnson, McAvoy, Mc Ara. Subs: Moyes, Lopes, McNab.
Man of the match: Harvey Johnson.