Saturday 10th April 2021. Report by Martin Baxter.
On a cold Saturday afternoon and with a strong northerly wind blowing in to the Wellesley, we finally get to play our Norfolk Junior Cup tie against Hempnall. This game has been delayed since the 30th January, which tells you all you need to know about how football has been so badly affected this season by the pandemic, however it is great that it is now actually going ahead.
After seeing club legend Ady Ager get a run out last week for the ressies, it is really good to see another fantastic loyal servant to the club Chaz McAra’s name in the starting line up. The game starts lively with both sides looking to be positive and the first real opportunity falls to the home side in the 12th minute when Striker Meakins is clean through on goal, but his effort lacks real power and is turned around the post by the visitors keeper for a corner.
It is clear that the Yarmouth coaches have spotted a weakness in the opposition’s defence and are looking to play a very high line with the front 3 of Meakins, McAra and Hodge all at various times playing on the shoulder of the last defender and then making bursting runs beyond them through on goal, and with these 3 strikers switching it makes it even more difficult for Hempnall to deal with.
This tactic works to perfection in the 22 minute when Liam Cork plays a great ball over the Hempnall defence to McAra who then races clear through on goal to finish well and put the Bloaters 1-0 up.
The passing and movement of the home side is much improved from last week and they are really playing some good football and looking dangerous every time they attack.
The only problem with playing this high line system is that you can often get caught offside as the margins are so tight and this does happen to the Yarmouth strikers a few times, however when it does work it can be very successful as McAra proved with his goal.
In the 40th minute Hempnall have their first attempt at goal, however the effort is easily dealt with by keeper Nicholls in the Yarmouth goal and then right on half-time the visitors have a great chance to go level however the effort in the box falls to a visitors defender and he shoots well wide, when he should have hit the target.
Half time: Yarmouth Reserves 1 Hempnall 0.
Within 3 minutes for the re-start following a deep cross on the right, Hempnall put the ball in the net, however the linesman puts his flag up for off-side and the goal does not stand. This seems to lift the visitors and they have a dominant spell where they are on top and on 50 minutes Nicholls makes a fine save from a long range free kick from the very competitive visitors central midfielder. Yarmouth then make a couple of changes and this seems to work as in the 60th minute substitute Johnson is clean through on goal after beating the off-side trap, but puts his effort wide of the right hand post. However 5 minutes later he makes up for his miss with a well taken effort 10 yards out to put Yarmouth 2-0 up.
In the 63rd minute McAra gets himself in a great position but fails to make the most of it and shortly afterwards is taken off with a leg injury, which hopefully will not keep him out of the 1st team squad for the Sheringham game.
Hempnall push forward as the game nears its completion, however the Bloaters defence holds firm and reduce them to a couple of half chances.
In the last minute Johnson has a chance to get his 2nd goal with a deflected effort that just goes past the post and the final whistle is then blown and we all now look forward to the draw for the next round of the Norfolk Junior Cup.
Full Time: Great Yarmouth Town Reserves 2 Hempnall FC 0.
Team: Nicholls, Halliday, Jacobs, Sayer, Moyes, Melo, McAra, Harrison, Meakins, Cork, Hodge. Subs: Jackson, Johnson, Dalton.
Man of the match: Charlie McAra
The Draw for the next round took place on Sunday 11th April – and we have an Away tie at North Walsham scheduled for the 24th April.