Great Yarmouth Town Reserves v Happisburgh FC.
Norfolk Junior Cup Round 2.  24/11/21. Report by Martin Baxter.

On a very damp Wednesday evening a healthy crowd were at the Wellesley for this anticipated cup tie under the floodlights against North East Norfolk League side Happisburgh. 

Happisburgh have had a tough start to the season with only 3 wins from their opening 11 matches and Yarmouth were confident of getting the right result on the night.

There was a minutes applause before kick off to celebrate the life of Bloaters man Keith Saunders who very sadly passed away this week.

The game started with Yarmouth very much on the front foot and taking the game to their opponents and their first opportunity fell to Crickmore in the 7th minute, however his effort was parried by the visitors keeper and the ball then fell directly to Thornton, who then failed to hit the target from 10 yards out.  

Yarmouth continued to dominate the game until the 20 minute mark when Happisburgh finally start pushing forward and they created a decent chance which was fired just wide of the left hand post and it seemed like they had been playing the classic “keep the home side quiet for the first 20 minutes” tactic. 

In the 22 minute the Bloaters took the lead with a superb counter attacking move and a perfectly weighted pass from Crickmore out on the right flank found Thornton who converted with a well taken sweeping effort from 15 yards out.

This goal gave the home side much needed confidence and they now started to push forward in numbers and skipper on the night Melo should have made it 2-0 in the 35th minute, however with the mercy of the whole goal in front of him, he shot straight at the keeper.  

In the 40th minute goal scorer Thornton went on a mazy run right through the heart of the Happisburgh defence and with only the keeper to beat he put his effort just wide of the left hand post.   

Half time:  Great Yarmouth Town Reserves 1.  Happisburgh  0.

The 2nd half started and although Yarmouth were 1-0 up there was always a chance that Happisburgh could get a free kick in a dangerous area or even a penalty and be right back in this tie and therefore a 2nd goal for the home side seemed crucial and after a quiet first 10 minutes of the 2nd period the visitors did indeed almost draw level, however their shot on target was well saved by bloaters keeper Williams. 

This effort seemed to inspire Happisburgh and they started pushing forward in numbers which left space at the back for Yarmouth to counter attack into and although they were actively looking to do this, the final through balls from midfield were not accurate enough and were frustratingly going astray.

In the 65th minute Yarmouth substitute Faichen almost made it 2-0 when just failing to convert from a right wing cross that sailed right across the visitors goal mouth.   

In the 80th minute man of the match Thornton missed a golden opportunity from close range to seal the tie, however he somehow put his effort wide when it looked easier to score and in the 85th minute another substitute Scott shot at goal from only 5 yards out, however the keeper stood tall and parried the effort over the bar for a corner. 

The breakthrough finally came in the 87th minute when Melo was tripped in the box and got up to to take the resulting penalty himself, and he made no mistake with his strike to beat the keeper and send his side into the third round of the Norfolk Junior Cup.
Full time:  Great Yarmouth Reserves 2.  Happisburgh FC 0.

After the game Yarmouth joint reserves manager Paul Blisset had these words to say  ” Tonight was all about getting through into the next round of the Junior cup and so I was happy in that respect. However performance wise this was probably our worst performance of the season so far and we have played better and actually lost games, however overall it was still a good learning curve and it was also great to see 4 new players make their débuts on the night. 

Playing under the floodlights at the Wellie is always special and once again a big thank you to all the match day volunteers who make all these games possible. Now we move on to our next match against top of the table Beccles Reserves”

Great Yarmouth Town Reserves:  Williams, Haworth, Mawby, Melo, Moyse, McNab, Hogde, Vander Eke, Crickmore, Thornton, Lopes.  Subs: Orme, Faichen, Perry, Scott.

Man of the match: Thomas Thornton.