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Millennium Trophy Final, Thurs. 8th May

(at Woodbridge Tn. FC)


Kevin Howes

Man of the Match Kevin Howes scored twice as Yarmouth finally got their hands on a trophy. It was at times a tempestuous match with both teams having their own reasons for wanting it - while Harwich have suffered the indignity of relegation, Yarmouth were looking for their first win in their fifth final in the last three years.

Yarmouth took an early lead through George, but the match was soured by an accidental injury in the 35th minute to Harwich keeper Munson who was first stretchered off then transferred to hospital where an x-ray revealed a broken shin. The incident caused a ten minute hold-up then replacement keeper Jackson was beaten twice in five minutes by close-range efforts from Adcock and Howes as Yarmouth took a 3-0 lead before Brown headed a Harwich free kick into his own net.

Howes restored Yarmouth's three-goal lead in the 63rd minute with a shot from 30 yards and two minutes later Harwich scored a second through Farthing after Banham's only mistake of the night when he came out to kick clear a through ball and missed it.

Harwich had not played badly and created several openings but for once Yarmouth showed they did know the way to goal and their ambition was rewarded. Jimmy Jones, the donor of the trophy, presented the cup to Yarmouth captain Humphreys.

"It's been a long time coming," said a relieved manager Paul Tong after seeing Yarmouth win a trophy for the first time in his period of office! More reaction

Yarmouth - Banham, Harrison, Brown, Drake, Shade, Pierpoint, Tierney, R George, Adcock, Howes, Humphreys. Subs: Darby (n/u), Jackson, M George, L Goreham.

Attendance: 110


Jewson Premier Division, Mon. 5th May

The 100th Eastern Counties League match between these old rivals took Gorleston to 40 wins against Yarmouth's 36. The result was probably deserved for the Greens passing play stretched the home defence while the Bloaters tactic of hitting long, high balls forward foundered on the twin heads of ex-Bloater Jon White and centre-half Darren Cockrill.

Yarmouth went behind in the 70th minute from a penalty and Gorleston added to their score in injury time. This was Gorleston's fifth successive League win at the Wellesley and you have to go back to Easter Monday 1998 for Yarmouth's last win over the Greens.

The game got off to a slow start with the first corner arriving after six minutes: Danny Self's kick was collected by Naili at the second attempt. Gorleston responded with a corner of their own after 11 minutes but Nick Banham made the catch. The clearance was not good and Banham was forced to block Chad Pillar's follow-up effort. Another Yarmouth corner from Self in the 14th minute, after a deflected Kevin Howes shot, was safely headed away by White.

A great interception by Jodie Harrison robbed the advancing Gary Ingram and Cockerill fouled Howes to prevent the breakaway, but Self's free kick drifted harmlessly in the stiff south-easterly breeze. Richard Fruin took a couple of free kicks for Gorleston midway in the Yarmouth half but Banham was equal to them.

The exchanges began to get some heat in them and referee M George had words with Cockerill after a rash challenge. The kick led to a scramble in the Greens' box but Naili finally managed to collect the ball. Neither keeper had had a direct shot to save at this stage and the crowd (all 166 of them) were getting restless.

A nicely flighted cross from Pierpoint was plucked out of the air by Naili before an Ingram shot was blocked at the other end. Steve Bishop was then the first to go in the referee's book for dissent as Gorleston began to take their frustrations out on the match official. Gorleston came close in the 40th minute when Fruin found Phil Wooldridge for the diminutive striker's first involvement; he shrugged off several challenges and got the ball to Aron Hogg on the right but he blasted the shot wide. Aaron Huggins then looked for a foul in the Yarmouth box but only a corner was given; Cockerill received the game's second booking for dissent over the incident and Michael Shade headed the kick clear. Right on the interval, George evaded the offside but Howes headed his cross straight at Naili.


The second half started in lively fashion with some good passing moves by Gorleston before Neil Adcock demanded the game's first real save with Naili catching his 12 yard shot; Adcock then won a corner off Ingram. White's whingeing finally earned him a talking to by the referee, then Lee Brown was not too far away after Mike Tierney charged down a Naili clearance. Bishop then sailed close to the wind with a foul on Grant Pierpoint that saw him have words from referee George. Tierney had a glorious opening after 56 minutes but shot wide with Howes waiting for the pass. Harrison nearly put his team in trouble but massed defence sorted out the danger with Nathan Drake completing the clearance.

Lee Humphreys replaced Tierney after 65 minutes before Adcock picked up a clearance and passed to Howes who fired over from close in. Then came the incident that turned the match. Banham made a hash of a clearance and with Ingram bearing down on goal Harrison did a fine goalkeeping job on his shot but quite rightly had to go. Ingram stepped up to despatch the spot kick in the 70th minute. [The Golden Goal time was won by Sandra George.]

Yarmouth made a double substitution, Kevin Winkworth and Luke Goreham replacing Howes and Adcock, and the game continued to be lively in midfield Yarmouth, however, were guilty of over hitting the ball with the wind behind them and, more significantly, had no-one on the day capable of holding the ball up. Gorleston delivered the coup-de-gras in the final minute. Self needlessly conceded a free kick when he should have completed a simple clearance and Ingram sent the kick to the far post where Cockerill headed the ball back for Huggins to nod in.

Yarmouth - Banham, Self, Brown, Harrisaon, Shade, Pierpoint, Drake, George, Adcock, Howes, Tierney. Subs: Humphreys, Winkworth, Jackson (n/u), L Goreham, Thornton (n/u). Gorleston - Naili, Plaskett, Fruin, White, Cockerill, Bishop, Pillar, Huggins, Wooldridge, Ingram, Hogg. Subs: Sinclair (n/u), Butler, Harvey, Fox.

Attendance: 166


Jewson Premier Division, Sat. 3rd May

Yarmouth completed an easy double over Ely with a repeat of the December Wellesley scoreline. Michael Tierney scored a second half brace to go with first half goals from Neil Adcock and Rob George. The Bloaters, with Michael Shade again captaining the side in place of Lee Humphreys (work), were never extended by the relegated Cambridgeshire outfit and hardly broke sweat.

Despite building several promising attacks in the opening minutes Yarmouth had to wait until the 13th minute before opening the scoring, unlucky for Ely, but there was nothing fotunate about the goal. Rob George found Howes to the left of goal and his cross into the box was met by Adcock with a glancing header across Baker. Adcock and Howes then both missec chances before Ely won the game's first corner in the 17th minute.

A shot on the turn from Pierpoint was not too far away after 22 minutes as Yarmouth resumed the attack. Ely made an early substitution with Lancaster replacing the injured Walsh. Danny Self then misdirected his back header and gave Ely a second corner which Munns wasted by shooting wildly towards the opposite corner flag.

Two more corners followed for Ely who were not giving up without a fight but neither troubled the Yarmouth defence.

Then a George ball through the middle found Howes but Baker came out to reach the pass first, then the busy George found Pierpoint on the left but his ball into the centre was headed into the arms of Baker by Adcock.

More Ely corners followed then Yarmouth moved the ball from one wing to the other and back again with a fine move that brought the corner from which they increased the lead. From the kick, the ball was played around the Ely box and leading scorer George got the final decisive touch with his head in added time.

Strong words from the Ely manager at half time brought some life into his side and they started the half with yet another corner and shots from Lippiatt and Cornwall that both however went wide. Pierpoint was then found offside as he took a return ball from Tierney and George appeared to be felled in the box but only a goal kick was awarded.

After an hour's play Ely substituted Emms with Cameron who went in goal with Baker moving into the outfield; however, the new keeper was soon picking the ball out of the net. Great work by Brown brought the ball out of defence and he slipped the ball to Tierney on the left; when the youngster shot from the edge of the area, Cameron looked to have the ball covered but it slipped through his hands for a deserved, if fortunate, goal for Tierney, only his second for the senior team.

Brown, having been carrying an injury, was immediately replaced by Mark George whose brother Rob then tried a shot from all of 40 yards. Jackson then came on for Howes with Pierpoint moving into the front line. A missed tackle gave Ely an opening but Munns hit a shot wide from ten yards. After 70 minutes Tierney scored his second of the match with a well-placed header from a free kick, then Luke Goreham came on for his second appearance, replacing Adcock.

Three minutes later, Ely came closest to scoring themselves when Nick Banham finger-tipped away a shot from Baker to concede another corner before Tierney twice missed chances for his hat-trick. In the closing minutes, Banham did well to deflect a shot with his knee as bodies crowded into his area, then a good run down the Ely left nearly brought some consolation to the home side but Banham saved again to preserve his clean sheet.

One strange statistic from the game is that Yarmouth, for all their dominance, did not win a single corner kick in contrast to Ely who gained at least half a dozen. Assistant manager Derek Bevan said it was the most relaxed the bench has been all season. Boss Paul Tong commented that it has taken 43 games to get to a position where Yarmouth were in control of a game and didnt look like losing!

Yarmouth - Banham, Self, Brown, Harrison, Shade, Pierpoint, Drake, R George, Adcock, Howes, Tierney. Subs: Jackson, M George, L Goreham, Thornton (n/u). Attendance: 97


Jewson Premier Division, Tues. 29th April

Norwich United were looking for the double and started off as if they meant to get it. Neil Bugdale broke through in the first minute but his shot went wide. United won the first corner of the game but ex-Bloater Kristian Jones headed over.

Woodcock cut out a lovely flighted through ball by Rob George before Jones went down in the Yarmouth area under challenge from Jodie Harrison but referee Tyne was having nothing to do with penalty appeals. Jamie Hunton showed his skills with a wonderful turn that gave him a clear run on the left but his cross found no-one waiting.

Yarmouth then finally got near the visitors goal after 23 minutes when a long throw from Danny Self found Kevin Howes who backheaded towards goal but Robert Woodcock saved. Yarmouth went through again when Bugdale lost out to Howes and George took the ball into the area but it ran just too far ahead.

Grant Pierpoint for Yarmouth and Hunton both had shots go wide before Yarmouth took the lead against the run of play in the 33rd minute. Pierpoint chased a loose ball to the corner flag and won a corner. From the kick, Michael Shade headed towards goal where Woodcock half-blocked the chance but when it came back to Shade he made no mistake this time with his close-range shot.

Neil Adcock replaced Neil Bilham at half time, much to the latter's disgust. The game became physical in the second half and when Jones and Lee Brown squared up to each other, both found themselves in the referee's book; the original foul had been Jones' but Brown retaliated. Mark George then came on for Yarmouth, as did Paul Hartle for United, the youngest and oldest players on the pitch!

United found an equaliser after 56 minutes when Jones got on the end of a free kick to stab the ball low past Robert Thornton in goal. Pierpoint became the third player to be booked before Jones incurred the wrath of Mr Tyne, receiving his second yellow card and thus his marching orders!

Mark George was getting some good touches and important tackles in but it was the next substitute who instigated Yarmouth's winning goal in the 79th minute. Michael Tierney took one of his specialist long throws and Shade appeared in the box as if from nowhere to poke the ball home past the despairing Woodcock.

Yarmouth should have had a third minutes later when Mark George delivered the perfect ball for Adcock to run on to but the substitute's angled shot, though it looked a goal all the way, passed the far post.

Yarmouth - Thornton, Self, Brown, Shade, Harrison, Pierpoint, Drake, R George, Howes, Bilham, Winkworth. Subs: Adcock, Tierney, L Goreham (n/u), M George, Banham (n/u). Attendance: 53


Jewson Premier Division, Sat. 26th April

Yarmouth defeated a very young Histon Reserves side in their last home Saturday fixture but made heavy weather of it in glorious spring sunshine.

Kevin Howes scored a first half brace and Robert George notched his 17th goal of the season after half time but the youthful opposition were never overawed and twice pegged Yarmouth back.

After an even first twenty minutes, Howes headed home a Humphrey's free kick and as Yarmouth began to get on top he headed number two this time from a Pierpoint cross in the 36th minute. Bilham's pace up front caused all sorts of problems for Histon and he was unlucky with several efforts on goal.

After the interval, Yarmouth seemed slow to get going again and the visitors pulled one back on the hour when a White free kick took a deflection and found its way, almost apologetically, past Banham.

However, leading scorer George made it 3-1 ten minutes later, getting his head on the end of a fine move featuring Brown's throw, Howes' knock down and substitute Tierney's centre.

Back came Histon as Crow headed a second from a corner and another tense finish ensued for Bloaters supporters.

Youth/Reserve player Luke Goreham could have scored within moments of coming on for his first senior appearance but his close-range shot on the turn was blocked on the goal-line. Both sides showed a willingness to shoot from distance and the game overall had been very entertaining with chances and corners aplenty.

Yarmouth - Banham, Self, Brown, Drake, Harrison, Pierpoint, Winkworth, George, Howes, Bilham, Humphreys. Subs: Adcock, Tierney, L Goreham, Thornton (n/u). Attendance: 67.



Tuesday 22nd April, Carrow Road

"Going down for the third time" could well have been Yarmouth's theme for the night as they suffered the indignity of their third successive final defeat in the county's premier competition.

Although the Bloaters drew first blood, Diss replied in devastating fashion with two bursts of two goals in quick time in each half. The pace and variety of the Diss attacks caught Yarmouth out though all their goals were short-range efforts and low crosses proved Yarmouth's undoing.

The ground was in fine shape and Norwich City's presentation of the match was first class. Yarmouth kicked off but the first danger came from Diss who won a second minute corner which Dale Vince put wide. Direct shots on goal were few but Lee Brown came close for Yarmouth with a shot after his throw-in came back to him off a Diss defender.

Danny Self started well in a right back position with some telling interceptions and neat footwork. His 12th minute free kick found the head of Mark Vincent in the Diss area but referee Russell Bird mysteriously halted the move with a Diss free kick.

The 40-year old Vincent then had a shot which just cleared the bar before Diss won a couple more corners, the second of which saw Nick Banham push the ball away.

In the 18th minute, Self produced a good crossfield ball for Kevin Howes but the striker was a bit too slow to reach it by the far post, then Neil Bilham won Yarmouth's first corner.

Midway through the half Diss exerted some ferocious pressure on the Yarmouth goal and Banham did well in diving amongst the flying boots but a goalkick ended the move.

Rob George had not yet been able to make a telling contribution to the game despite a couple of his familiar runs and now he stumbled and lost the ball in midfield when an opening looked on. Diss won a free kick just outside the Yarmouth box when Lee Gilman was foiled by Jodie Harrison: Matty Wright's kick curled two inches over the bar.

The Diss supporters were in fine voice and nearly had something definite to shout about but Danny White's three yard poke went wide before Yarmouth took the lead in the 32nd minute: George sent a cross in deep to the far post where Howes rose unchallenged to beat Nathan Pauling with a well-placed header.

The reverse stung Diss into life and Andy Key and Matthew Joynson figured in the next moves. Joynson was having good time on the Diss right against Lee Brown and his crosses were a major danger to Yarmouth. It was frtom one such that Diss equalised: Brown was beaten for pace by Joynson whose cross was turned in by Gilman. George fouled Ricky Cornish and the Diss defender needed treatment; this brought manager Robert Fleck, back on familiar ground, into action with some vigorous complaints to the Yarmouth player and the referee.

A few minutes later he was even more animated as Diss took the lead: Banham lost the ball as Coren Hardy and Joynson worked another cross and Gilman scored his second of the game to give Diss the interval lead.

HALFTIME: Diss 2-1 Yarmouth

Yarmouth made strenuous efforts to pull back the deficit with Self, Brown and captain Lee Humphreys all having efforts early in the half, though none of them really troubled Pauling. Hardy had Diss' first shot of the half but was well over from a neat build-up, then Gilman headed wide from a fee kick.

Yarmouth won a rare corner but Self's kick was headed onto the roof of the net by Howes. George then had a shot on the run after a return pass from Howes.

Two goals in a minute around the hour mark put an end to the Bloaters hopes of reversing the results of their past two finals. Both were scored by Hardy, the first looked like a cross which somehow went in the net via Banham's body, the second a minute later a header from the diminutive striker that had Banham tumbling into the back of the goal and then needing the attentions of physios Terry and Elaine before play could resume.

Diss were now well on top and Yarmouth's weak efforts caused no concern to Pauling who caught everything they threw at him.

Bilham was clattered into the advertising hoardings by Leighton Miller, giving more work for the physios before manager Paul Tong brought on all three substitutes in an effort to pep his side. However, it was Diss should have added to their score but Gilman took a fraction too long in shooting then the same player fired over from 20 yards before he was substituted by ex-Bloater Josh Barzey. Barzey's first touch was not a good one and Yarmouth raced away to win a corner through Neil Adcock. Michael Tierney won a couple of good tackles but then proceeded to lose the ball. Diss then won two late corners but there were no further goals and Diss captain Wright stepped up to receive the trophy with Yarmouth taking runners-up place once again.

Yarmouth - Banham, Self, Brown, Harrison, Vincent, Pierpoint, Drake, George, Howes, Bilham, Humphreys. Subs: Adcock, Tierney, Darby.

Diss - Pauling, Miller, Cornish, Joynson, Richards, Wright, Vince, White, Key, Hardy, Gilman. Subs: Taylor, Simpson, Barzey.

Attendance: 1537

Man of the Match: Coren Hardy


Jewson Premier Division, Sat. 19th April

This victory was the footballing equivalent of winning the lottery! The strong blustery wind and a rock-hard pitch levelled out the match between a team that has spent most of the season fighting a relegation battle and Yarmouth who have been mostly in the top ten and it was really a matter of chance who would come out on top.

As it was, the Bloaters got the break, and captain Lee Humphreys notched the all-important only score with a superb effort just before half time. With the ball at his feet in front of the Newmarket box, it looked for all the world as if Humphreys would pass across to Kevin Winkworth but he elected to shoot and the ball sailed past the Jockeys keeper Nightingale and into the net.

Winkworth got his chance later but his 52nd minute angled shot hit the base of the far post and was bundled away.

Newmarket caused few problems for Nick Banham in the home goal; indeed, the conditions created more danger than the visiting forwards despite the high number of corners conceded by Yarmouth.

The result gave Yarmouth a double over the Jockeys, the away fixture in November also being a 1-0 success. It was just the boost Yarmouth needed after six games without a win and coming only three days before their biggest match of the season at Carrow Road on Tuesday night when they face Diss Town in the final of the Norfolk Senior Cup.

Yarmouth - Banham, Self, Brown, Harrison, Vincent, Pierpoint, Drake, Winkworth, Howes, Bilham, Humphreys. Subs: R George, Darby (n/u), Adcock, Tierney, Thornton (n/u). Attendance: 61


Jewson Premier Division, Tues. 15th April

Diss take the psychological advantage into next weeks Senior Cup Final after they overturned Yarmouth's interval lead.

Neil Bilham scored after 25 minutes with a speculative shot from some 40 yards that Nathan Pauling appeared to think was going wide but instead sped past him and inside his right-hand post. It was just reward for Yarmouth's enterprising first half play as Diss were uncertain and the Bloaters looked keen to extend their good record at the Wellesley against Diss. Howes in only the second minute tried a lob from outside the box that Pauling was grateful to tip over for a corner, then a good early ball from Bilham in the 7th minute found Danny Self in space but his shot went straight to the Diss keeper.

Diss then had a couple of chances: Robert Thornton, in his third outing, dropped the ball but Lee Brown tidied up, then ex-Bloater Josh Barzey shot over on the turn from six yards after a corner was not fully cleared.

Pauling made a smart catch from a Lee Humphreys free kick, then came Bilham's opener, a real 'goal out of nothing'. Diss came more into it as half time approached: Simpson tried a 25 yarder, then Coren Hardy was fouled on the edge of the Yarmouth box and the Andy Key free kick was blocked with Thornton diving on the follow-up attempt.

The second half opened with Diss pressing forward and taking a winning 3-1 lead within 15 minutes. Two minutes after the restart, Daniel White equalised after the Yarmouth defence got into a terrible mess, and four minutes later Barzey made it 2-1 with a close-range shot from Key's cross. Barzey grabbed his second on the hour when he stabbed home an easy chance after a cross from the right. The Yarmouth defence was found wanting on all three occasions.

Yarmouth responded by making a triple substitution, Neil Adcock, Michael Tierney and Kevin Winkworth replacing Michael Shade, Neil Bilham and Lee Brown. But Diss continued to dominate though Adcock had a near miss soon after coming on, then the same player sent in a good cross that was wasted.

Yarmouth had few other chances: Howes shot straight at Pauling after 83 minutes; Tierney seemed to be through but the ball bobbled at his feet and was cleared; Howes beat the offside trap but Pauling was alert to the danger. Diss had a last chance but Thornton brought off a leaping save at the expense of a corner. So it is first blood to the Tangerines as both side prepare for Carrow Road next Tuesday.

Yarmouth - Thornton, Harrison, Drake, Shade, Vincent, Pierpoint, Brown, Self, Howes, Bilham, Humphreys. Subs: Darby (n/u), Adcock, Tierney, Winkworth, Banham (n/u). Attendance: 65


Jewson Premier Division, Sat. 12th April

Lowestoft kicked off into the bright spring sunshine but Yarmouth were the first to attack, Michael Tierney passing into the path of the oncoming Lee Brown but the Lowestoft defence shepherded the ball out for a goal kick.

The opening minutes were tentative as both teams sized each other up, not wanting to concede any early advantage, though Grant Pierpoint played a good ball over the top to Neil Bilham but his attempted centre went over the bar from a tight angle.

The first free kick of the afternoon fell to Lowestoft but the ball was headed clear at the far post. Nick Banham saw his first action after ten minutes, first kicking clear then catching a ball from Lee Godbold. Danny Self at this stage was having a fine game in an unusual full-back role with some confident work on the ball.

The teams started to get to grips with the game and the action speeded up as Ross King got a lucky rebound off Self but his cross was put wide by Jamie Stokeld. Then a Lowestoft corner to the near post was blocked out.

Lee Durrant went through for the Blues and his low, strong shot was first of all parried by Banham who than pounced on the loose ball.

Ex-Blue Micky Shade was looking strong in the home defence as Lowestoft exerted a bit of pressure and his excellent clearance found Mark Vincent who passed the ball on to Bilham whose kick was just too far ahead of himself. Self then saw his 35 yard free kick pass over the Lowestoft goal, still rising as it did so!

Lowestoft won the game's first corner after 21 minutes but Nathan Drake completed a cool clearance under pressure. The nearest thing so far to a goal then came soon after when Lee Humphreys' free kick demanded a good catch from Jimmy Bligh right under the bar. Michael Tierney was playing a full part for Yarmouth with some good tackling and wide left play. Rob George and Humphreys worked an opening for Tierney but his header did not pose too many problems for Bligh.

Nick Banham produced a carbon-copy of Bligh's save under the bar after 35 minutes, then Brown set off on a run but instead of shooting when he looked well-placed he elected to pass to Bilham whose shot hit the back of the net but the player had been caught offside. Lowestoft's Gary McGee had had a quiet first half and did not produce a shot of note until injury time when his effort skidded across the face of goal without any other player near enough to convert.

Yarmouth sensationally went ahead three minutes after the break. Bilham and Bligh tussled for a through-ball which fell loose for Bilham to go on and pop into the net. Three minutes Later, Humphreys had the ball in the Lowestoft net again but his header was ruled out by another offside decision. The goal had fired up Yarmouth who saw Tierney tackled on the edge as he was about to shoot, then the same player was just unable to reach a high George centre.

However, Lowestoft equalised in the 57th minute. A Godbold free kick near the corner flag found the head of McGee from where it flew past Banham for 1-1. Substitutions followed and one of them, Yarmouth's Kevin Howes - one of four ex-Blues - saw a shot shave the post. Tierney had a close-range effort cruelly deflected for a corner before he was subbed by Neil Adcock. Adcock soon took a surprise angled shot that nearly caught Bligh out, just bouncing off the top of the bar.

Lee Durrant had a late effort well-taken by Banham before Howes had the last attempt of the afternoon with a 20 yard effort that, however, went well wide.

Manager Paul Tong though it was a fair result overall. "Lowestoft may have had the better possession but I felt we created the more chances," he said. "With some important games coming up I tried a few new things and the boys responded well against one of the League's leading teams - I couldn't fault them. We went one up and had the chance to kill it but McGee's excellent header made it all-square. The Rock put his hand up for the goal, it was his man that got to the ball first from the free kick. We've come a long way since last season when Lowestoft put four past us in each game!"

Yarmouth - Banham, Self, Brown, Shade, Vincent, Pierpoint, Drake, R George, Tierney, Bilham, Humphreys. Subs: Howes, Harrison (n/u), Adcock, Darby (n/u), Thornton (n/u).

Lowestoft - Bligh, Cambridge, Norman, Pike, Smith, Tacon, Godbold, Durrant, McGee, King, Stokeld. Subs: Poppy, Payne (n/u), Blowers (n/u), Sivell, Hough (n/u).

Attendance: 126.


Jewson Premier Division, Tues. 8th April

Yarmouth's hopes of a top six finish are rapidly fading after consecutive defeats in four days.

Missing four regulars, the Bloaters did well to hold a young and talented Soham side to 1-1 at half time, a 40th minute Mark Vincent trademark header from a corner equalising Aaron Rutter's good finish six minutes earlier.

Yarmouth improved for half an hour after the interval and took a 2-1 lead in the 49th minute when Neil Bilham, after an indifferent first half, produced an excellent finish to lob home keeper Ben Webster with the outside of his left foot.

Yarmouth missed the chance to extend their lead when Neil Adcock's diving header came back off a post with Webster beaten and the Bloaters went on to rue this miss as Soham hit back with two goals in the last ten minutes, first an own goal by Nathan Drake then a header from leading scorer Steven Bugg, his 29th goal of the season.

"I felt we played some excellent football against a quality side," said manager Paul Tong; "They are best side we've played this season in the Jewson League, home and away. We'll play a lot worse and win. For us, I felt Grant Pierpoint played his best game to date with some exquisite passing and hard tackling."

Yarmouth - Banham, Harrison, Darby, Drake, Vincent, Pierpoint, Brown, Tierney, Adcock, Bilham, Humphreys. Subs: Howes, M George, Thornton (n/u). Attendance: 68

Robert Thornton made his home debut


Jewson Premier Division, Sat. 5th April

Having won at Maldon last month, Yarmouth were looking to complete the double but their wretched home form continued as the Bloaters lost their sixth Jewson League game at the Wellesley.

After a slow start, the first chance fell to Maldon's captain Judd Coe after seven minutes but his shot was too high. Yarmouth's first attempts came from Danny Self and Kevin Howes but were too weak to trouble Robert Large in the visitors' goal.

On 20 minutes, a well-placed Yarmouth free kick excited the small crowd but was hustled away by the Maldon defence. Neil Adcock then ran out of space on the byline and his cross went behind for a goal kick before Robert Thornton, making his home debut as Nick Banham was rested, made his first save of the day from Neil Docking in the 23rd minute. Thornton was in action again a minute later but unfortunately for Yarmouth it was to pick the ball out of the back of the net as Ronnie Gould had just scored with a well-placed lob, his first goal for Maldon.

However, five minutes later, the Bloaters were level when, after a Howes shot had been parried by Large, Rob George volleyed home in fine style from the edge of the area.

After that neither team mounted a serious threat to score for some time, though Lee Brown had a crack and Maldon's first corner was headed harmlessly over. However, from their second corner, Maldon took the lead once more: Ian Thompson took it from their right and Docking rose at the far post to nod past Thornton just two minutes from the interval.

Maldon pressed from very start of the second half and Yarmouth experienced difficulty in clearing their lines as rebounds and 50-50 balls all seemed to go the way of the Essex visitors. Yarmouth eventually won a corner in the 55th minute as Thompson headed Self's free kick behind but when Brown's corner kick came over it was just too high for Michael Shade at the far post.

Yarmouth won another corner five minutes later, again off Self, but again Brown's kick was too long. Yarmouth's old failing of giving throws-in straight to the opposition reared itself again, except when substitute Michael Tierney made himself available.

Howes had Yarmouth's best chance when from a Self cross he attempted to back-heel the ball over the line but he missed any sort of contact whatsoever.

Play became at times niggly as Yarmouth's frustrations grew and Howes was lucky to escape a booking, the referee merely giving him a lecture. The absence of Lee Humphreys through work was certainly making a difference to the Yarmouth midfield where they struggled to get hold of the ball, let alone keep it.

Gould had a couple more attempts for Maldon with Thornton diving on the first and the second mishit across the face of goal. Neil Adcock was out of luck but Large did well to get hold of a wickedly bouncing ball with the striker in attendance. Thornton, in the 80th minute, produced the save of the afternoon, pouncing on a fierce Craig Huttley shot, then Huttley attacked again down the left but his shot went over.

With time running out, substitute Neil Bilham looked to have made good progress to the left corner flag but in attempting to cross he lost the ball, then Tierney played Shade in but Large came out to collect. The last shot fell to Maldon's Robbie Reinalt but that too went well wide.

Yarmouth - Thornton, Darby, Drake, Shade, Vincent, Pierpoint, Self, R George, Adcock, Howes, Brown. Subs: Harrison (n/u), Tierney, Bilham, Winkworth (n/u), Banham (n/u). Attendance: 63


Jewson Premier Division, Tuesday 1st April

A Rob George shot across goal gave Bury early warning of Yarmouth's intentions before the Bloaters took a third minute lead: Kevin Howes netted from a Grant Pierpoint through ball, finishing with aplomb from 12yards. Ian Stringfellow was unlucky not to equalise when a cross by Tatham landed at his feet but Nick Banham saved with his legs and the rebound fell fortunately to Alan Darby who cleared.

Lee Humphreys went close for the Bloaters before Bury won a free kick on the edge of the Yarmouth area and only an Alan Darby header prevented Steve McGavin equalising. McGavin was making his debut for the Suffolk outfit and showed all the skills perfected while he was with Sudbury, Colchester and Wycombe.

Then some brilliant attacking from Yarmouth won a penalty as Humphreys was fouled in the box. The Yarmouth captain stepped up to take the kick but amazingly shot straight at keeper Francis who held the shot; it was Humphreys' first-ever penalty miss for Yarmouth. Both teams then had chances before the interval but good keeping and last-ditch defending prevented any further scores.

Bury really bossed the second half and Yarmouth attacks were few. The home team equalised after 55 minutes when McGavin created havoc on the left hand side and his cross found Stringfellow who smashed the ball past Banham.

George went close with a shot that went just past a post after a typical run at the defence. Bury looked dangerous on the break but Yarmouth defended well in numbers. Howes and Adcock had Yarmouth's only other worthwhile attempts of the half. Bury had a last chance to steal all the points when Andy Ince ran through the centre but he blasted the ball wide, to the relief of the Bloaters.

Yarmouth - Banham, Harrison, Darby, Shade, Vincent, Pierpoint, Self. R George, Tierney, Howes, Humphreys. Subs: L Brown, Drake (n/u), Adcock, Winkworth (n/u), Thornton (n/u). Attendance: 51.


Jewson Premier Division, Sat. 29th March

Despite dominating for most of the game, Yarmouth had to be content with one point from their visit to Greens Meadow. Yarmouth did get the ball in the Stowmarket net twice in the second half but each time were frustrated by referee Bird who instead awarded free kicks for fouls on home keeper Nunn.

Yarmouth won twelve corners in the match but dogged defence and some fine keeping by Nunn enabled Stowmarket to record their 13th clean sheet at home this season, a record for the Greens Meadow ground.

Stowmarket's best chance saw Banham tip over a goalbound freekick from King in the 35th minute.

Mark Vincent, following his injury, was recalled with Michael Shade unavailable, and saw a shot go narrowly wide after 30 minutes, and right on the interval Howes' header from a corner hit the side-netting.

Mike Tierney's long throws were a source of concern to the Stowmarket defence; however, Yarmouth could not take advantage of their second half superiority and were thankful to substitute Harrison for a goal-line clearance just after an hour's play.

The disallowed goals came in the 55th and 87th minutes, first from a Lee Humphreys corner then from a cross by the Yarmouth captain.

This was Stowmarket's third home 0-0 draw, the others being against Clacton and Newmarket, while the only other score blank they have recorded was against Sudbury, also at home when they lost 1-0, so this result was no mean achievement by Yarmouth whose third goal-less game saw them remain in ninth position with 52 points.

Yarmouth - Banham, Drake, Darby, Brown, Vincent, Pierpoint, Self, Tierney, Adcock, Howes, Humphreys. Subs: Harrison, Winkworth, Childs, Thornton (n/u). Attendance: 56


Jewson Premier Division, Tuesday 25th March

Yarmouth unexpectedly won this local derby with a goal from ex-Blue Michael Shade.

Yarmouth were without both Bilham and Winkworth, both injured on Saturday at Mildenhall. Alan Darby was recalled in the defence with Lee Brown playing, unusually, in the number 8 shirt of the suspended Robert George. Reserve Marc Childs was on the bench alongside youth players Mark George and Will Lewis with Robert Thornton as goalkeeping cover for the returning Nick Banham.

Yarmouth set off at a cracking pace with Neil Adcock taking a first minute shot then, seconds later, winning a corner. Adcock was lively at this stage and was denied by the offside flag in the 6th minute then by a Saunders interception. Nathan Drake shot wide as Lowestoft struggled to get out of their own half.

The first of many misses by Michael Tierney came in the 9th minute after Grant Pierpoint had set him up. Banham's first taste of action did not come until the 11th minute when he cut out a dangerous cross from Norman.

Tierney's next chance came in the 12th minute as Howes laid the ball off to him: Jimmy Bligh in the home goal fumbled the shot but the ball rolled away out of the reach of any Yarmouth player. Ross King did manage to get in a shot for Lowestoft but it was wide, then Jodie Harrison headed away at the near post as the Blues threatened, not for the first time, down their left where Norman was very active.

Shade made a couple of alert interceptions before Howes had Bligh scrambling again after 20 minutes. As on Saturday, Shade was a rock in the heart of the defence while Lee Humphreys was battling superbly in midfield.

In the 27th minute, Tierney had the miss of the match so far when his long-range shot came back off the post with Bligh beaten. Five minutes later Tierney took a more circuitous route around several defenders, his final effort winning a corner, which was quickly followed by two more as Lowestoft had trouble clearing their lines.

After 38 minutes a Howes shot came back to Tierney but the ball ran off his legs for a goal kick.

Then came the goal Yarmouth deserved. Tierney was fouled near the right-hand forward corner of the Lowestoft area and when Humphreys sent in a deep free kick, there was ex-Lowestoft player Shade to nod the ball back past Bligh for a goal scored in identical fashion to that of Saturday. This came after 42 minutes and there was still time for Howes to be fouled in a similar position though the kick this time went out at the far post without anyone getting a touch.

Lowestoft started the second half in determined mood and pinned Yarmouth back for some time. Darby came to the rescue five minutes into the half with a goal-line clearance as the ball pinged around the area, then a King header was caught by Banham, who was then also required to save with his feet and then his finger-tips.

Yarmouth relieved the pressure with a shot from Lee Brown but it was too weak to bother Bligh, then the Bloaters won a series of three successive corners. After 65 minutes Shade was in the Lowestoft six-yard box but the ball ran unkindly for him as he looked for his second goal. Marc Childs then came on for his senior debut, replacing the unlucky Kevin Howes.

Lowestoft substitute Bradley Hough turned and twisted in the Yarmouth area but Shade headed away his final ball

After a period of somewhat flat play, Tierney again livened up the game; he chased an apparently lost cause during which he took the ball away from Bligh who had come out of goal, but indecision allowed Bligh to recover his position. Blues leading scorer Gary McGee, who had had a quiet night, then hit one over the bar.

The Yarmouth goal came under some fierce pressure in the final moments of the game but Banham was not called upon to make a significant save. Pierpoint went off and Mark George came on after 87 minutes and Yarmouth's final substitution saw Adcock replaced by Will Lewis in time added on as the Bloaters sought to hold on to the lead for the remaining few seconds, which they did to record a famous victory considering the Blues record this season.

Yarmouth Banham, Harrison, Darby, Drake, Shade, Pierpoint, Tierney, Brown, Adcock, Howes, Humphreys. Subs: Childs, Lewis, M George, Thornton (n/u). Lowestoft Bligh, Cambridge, Norman, Payne, Saunders, Smith, Godbold, Pike, McGee, King, Stokeld. Subs: Durrant, Sivell (n/u), Blowers (n/u), Poppy, Hough.

Referee Darren Cann. Attendance: 218


Jewson Premier Division, Sat. 22nd March

On their second visit to Mildenhall in five days, Yarmouth suffered a reverse of the scoreline from the midweek Millennium Trophy semi-final going down 2-1.

Both teams had much changed line-ups with Yarmouth missing hero 'keeper Nick Banham, Robert George and Michael Tierney, but captain Lee Humphreys, Michael Shade and Grant Pierpoint all returned.

It was an eventful return for Shade who scored the goal that gave the Bloaters a first half lead but then conceded a second half penalty from which Mildenhall notched the winning goal.

Replacing Banham was midweek signing Robert Thornton who, despite conceding two goals, had an excellent debut and, like his senior colleague, won the Yarmouth MOM award.

Also making his first team debut was youth player Mori Etchells who came on in the second half as did reserves captain Adam Mason for his first senior appearance of the season. Both substitutions were as a result of injuries, first to Neil Bilham who limped off with a bad ankle knock after a tackle, and then to Kevin Winkworth who retired with a hamstring problem.

Yarmouth took the lead in the 14th minute: Humphreys sent a free kick deep to the far post and Shade rose above everybody to nod the ball back across goal and into the net. Before and after this, Neil Adcock and Winkworth both missed relatively easy chances and Yarmouth could have gone into the break 3-0 to the good: Shade proved a rock in the defence and Thornton played with great assurance and confidence.

However, seconds before the interval the Yarmouth defence were guilty of first of all not closing down a Mildenhall attack and then allowing the resulting speculative effort from Hobbs from wide on the right to creep into the far corner of the net for the equaliser, with no-one attempting to clear.

Things went from bad to worse minutes after the restart with Bilham's injury, and as Mildenhall began to put the pressure on, the Yarmouth defence cracked once more as Shade brought down an attacker in the area in the 75th minute. Taylor, as on Tuesday, stepped up to smash home the penalty giving Thornton no chance. Yarmouth really created very little in the second half and Mildenhall had further chances to score again.

"A very disappointing result," declared manager Paul Tong; "I thought we could have come away with a draw. You don't mind losing if you're well beaten, but we should have gone 3-0 up in the first half. With the exception of Shade, I thought we lacked passion and commitment today. I was, though, very pleased with Robert Thornton on his debut: he had secure hands, he talked well and has a good kick; he gave the defence confidence."

Line-up: Thornton, Harrison, Brown, Drake, Shade, Pierpoint, Winkworth, Bilham, Adcock, Howes, Humphreys. Subs: Mason, Etchells. Attendance: 75

Man-of-the-Match Nick Banham attributed his perfomance to his new gloves!


Millennium Trophy semi-final, Tuesday 18th March

Goalkeeper Nick Banham was the Yarmouth hero as the Bloaters reached their second cup final of the season. Stand-in captain in the absence of Lee Humphreys, Banham made save after save, particularly in the first half, to deny the eager Mildenhall side and deservedly won the RenaultMaster Man of the Match award.

A timetable of Banham's principal first-half saves: 6 mins. turned aside for a corner a shot by Mitchell-King after a free kick; 10 held a dipping cross from Reeder; 13 touched over an Alliss header for a corner; 18 save from Alliss' low shot (corner); 19 shot from Mitchell-King turned round a post (corner); 28 Saved curling shot from Walker; 35 picked up strong low shot from Bennett;

Totally against the run of play Yarmouth took a 2-0 lead in at half time, thanks to Banham's heroics and goals from Danny Self and Kevin Howes; Self's strike was a carbon-copy of his goal against Swaffham in the previous round, a free kick from just outside the penalty area. This came in the 36th minute and amazingly Yarmouth scored again on the stroke of half-time when Howes lashed home a well-worked goal after he had sent the ball out to Neil Bilham on the right and got on the end of the return ball into the box.

As well as Humphreys, Shade, Pierpoint and Vincent were all missing for one reason or another, but youngster Will Lewis from the Youth team performed superbly in the heart of the defence on his first senior start.

Nathan Drake conceded a penalty for a foul on Rob Alliss just after half time, the spot kick being converted by Warren Taylor, but Yarmouth had more possession in the second period and Banham had only one direct shot to deal with as the Bloaters comfortably held out to meet Harwich, 8-2 winners over Haverhill in the other semi-final, in the May 10th final.

"Considering the side we put out," commented manager Paul Tong, "it just showed how eleven players can work for each other. We saw some quality keeping and finishing tonight plus plenty of commitment and passion. Credit also to Will Lewis who came in for his first start and gave a very competent display."

Yarmouth - Banham, Harrison, Drake, Brown, Lewis, Self, Bilham, R George, Adcock, Howes, Winkworth. Subs: Tierney, M George (n/u), Etchells (n/u). Attendance: 68.


Jewson Premier Division, Sat. 15th March

Two identical headers from Mark Jimson condemned the Bloaters to their first defeat in six games but maintained the Fenmen's fine run of form. Yarmouth dropped two places to tenth.

Both teams were at near full strength, Wisbech being without Paul Hill (suspended) and Yarmouth still missing Mark Vincent with the knee injury he sustained in the Senior Cup semi-final, though he was at the match assisting Paul Tong.

Wisbech kicked off into bright sunshine and with both teams enjoying good runs a keenly contested game was anticipated. This looked to be the case as both teams won a couple of corners in the first five minutes.

Jan Pledger made the first of many fine stops when he just beat Rob George to a Neil Adcock cross before Wisbech took a 15th minute lead. A free kick in front of the Yarmouth goal was taken by Mark Jimson but was deflected for a corner. Simon Flanz took the kick and Jimson at the far post rose above everybody to direct his header just inside the post.

Yarmouth won their first corner after 21 minutes, taken by George; his kick was punched away by Pledger and when George returned the loose ball high into the box the Wisbech keeper made a good catch. Grant Pierpoint was booked in the 26th minute for a foul on Scott Johnson near the centre circle and Yarmouth came close to an equaliser a minute later but Howes header from an Adcock cross was taken by Pledger.

At the other end, Lee Brown did well to head away a Jason Sedlan centre after a fine run down the left, but Pledger was soon in action again, denying George another shooting chance, this time from Lee Humphreys pass across the area.

After 34 minutes, George saw another shot saved by a diving Pledger, then Wisbech had their best chance to increase the lead but Nick Banham parried a close-range shot from Tom Chilton whose follow-up effort went over the bar from six yards out. The crowd behind the goal yelled for a penalty just before half time but referee Symonds was having none of it.

The second half opened relatively quietly, but sprung into life in the 57th minute when Michael Shade was booked for a foul and from the free kick Wisbech went 2-0 up as Jimson produced an almost identical header at the far post for his and Wisbech's second goal of the game.

Wisbech now looked comfortably in control of the midfield yet Yarmouth made Pledger the busier of the two keepers from breakaway attacks. Apart from the two goals, vital as they were, the Yarmouth defence had missed nothing and Banham was not unduly troubled otherwise.

Brown and Danny Self were replaced by Kevin Winkworth and Neil Bilham after an hours play and it was Howes and Adcock who immediately worked a chance for Winkworth but he scuffed his shot. Pledger then made a good save from a Humphreys shot.

The Wisbech keeper continued to deny Yarmouth with Howes missing two good chances, one of which saw Pledger push a shot onto the inside of a post. Seekling a change of fortune in front of goal, manager Tong brought on Michael Tierney for Pierpoint as a slightly more attacking option, but the youngster fared no better than the rest of his colleagues.

Banham saw some action when he plucked a corner out of the air but Pledger again saved Wisbech when he finger-tipped an angled Adcock shot away for a corner in the 86th minute. Wisbech then missed their best chance of a third goal when Chilton completely failed to make contact with a low cross to the far post after 88 minutes.

"We wouldn't have scored if we'd played all night," lamented Tong: "we had six good chances and I didn't think we deserved to lose. Their keeper made several good saves. I was hoping we'd get away with a draw but we gave them too much respect in the first twenty minutes when they scored the vital early goal. I was disappointed for the players - they'll play a lot worse and win!"

Yarmouth - Banham, Harrison, Drake, Brown, Shade, Pierpoint, Self, George, Adcock, Howes, Humphreys. Subs: Bilham, Winkworth, Tierney. Attendance 238


Millennium Trophy 2nd Round, Tuesday 11th March

Yarmouth won through to their second semi-final of the season, but made hard work of the game against First Division Swaffham. They came from behind in the first half and it was not until extra time that the Bloaters finally went ahead.

Without either Michael Shade and Grant Pierpoint, absent through work commitments, manager Paul Tong included Michael Tierney in defence while Neil Adcock returned to the bench where he was accompanied by youth players Mark George and Will Lewis.

Swaffham took a 15th minute lead through Andrew Ashby and might have gone two-up if Kevin Winkworth had not been well-placed to kick off the line as the defence was breached once again.

But Yarmouth drew level after 31 minutes when Danny Self placed a superb 20 yard free kick beyond the reach of John Higgs in the Swaffham goal.

The game was then short of much goalmouth excitement until the 54th minute when Rob George let fly with a 30 yard effort that flew just past a post. Substitute Adcock then came on and pepped the play. He was well-positioned to take a good through ball from George but Higgs just beat the substitute to it. Howes then set Adcock off on a chase to the byline but the ball won that one.

A fierce shot from Adam Seal then went wide in a rare Swaffham attack.

Nick Banham launched a huge clearance to Adcock who raced to the Swaffham byline again and this time got in a good cross but two Yarmouth players hampered each other at the far post. This was in the 77th minute and a few minutes later Adcock was again causing the visiting defence problems but Higgs just managed to smother the ball at his feet.

Swaffham's Tom Rainford then did well to rob Self but his centre was too long for his colleagues, and when a Swaffham corner was headed out by George, Stuart Scales' dipping return just cleared the bar.

With time running out, Howes launched a good pass to Neil Bilham, who was having a lively game, but he lost the ball under challenge from a defender. Mark George then came on for his third appearance of the season as Winkworth went off with an ankle knock.

Two extra time goals put Yarmouth in the semi-finals next week against Mildenhall. After seven of the extra thirty, Rob George lobbed a high ball into the goalmouth where Higgs made a mess of it and could only help the ball into his own net. After 25 minutes a cracking drive from Bilham was parried by Higgs and at the other end Jamie Miller hit the base of a post with Banham beaten. However in the next minute Yarmouth made the game safe with a third goal from Adcock and Yarmouth played out time with confidence. Will Lewis played the whole of the second period of extra time.

Yarmouth - Banham, Drake, L Brown, Tierney, Harrison, Winkworth, Self. R George, Bilham, Howes, Humphreys. Subs: Adcock, Lewis, M George. Attendance: 33


Jewson Premier Division, Sat. 8th March

Yarmouth moved up to fifth in the Jewson Premier Division after their third consecutive league win. The Bloaters scored after only six minutes but had to face a strong Bury fightback to overcome the side that were fifth before play commenced.

Yarmouth kicked off into a stiff breeze and were quickly onto the attack with Rob George and Neil Adcock both going close. But Yarmouth were not to be denied and in the sixth minute Grant Pierpoint centred from the right and there was leading scorer George to volley a superb goal past Francis, his 15th of the season.

Danny Self, making his home debut, was providing plenty of ammunition from the right; after eleven minutes, George passed out wide to Self but when the return came in George knocked his shot over the top. A minute later, Kevin Howes rode a tackle by Eady and when his cross was partially cleared Lee Brown's follow-up shot cleared the bar.

Burys first threatening attack after fifteen minutes came from a free kick taken by Harrison which Brown headed behind for a corner. A second corner was won from the kick and play stayed around the Yarmouth left corner flag for some minutes.

Yarmouth's next attack saw Adcock head over a Self centre at the far post. Adcock, super-sub in the last two games, next set Howes free and his cross was met by George who fired wide. Stringfellow then had a chance for Bury but his attempted lob went just over the bar.

After 36 minutes, George hit a strong shot straight at Francis from whom the ball rebounded to Howes; his shot was blocked but rebounded to Self who was then fouled. Yarmouth's forwards were falling too often offside, while Bury overhit their passes in the wind. Tatham saw a good effort for Bury go wide in the dying seconds of the half.

Injuries to George and Nick Banham slowed the start to the second half but when it got going Pierpoint launched one in the wind and won a corner. George appeared to have dropped back from his initial starting position of striker and was next in action heading off his own line. Sim than headed over a cross from Bury substitute Evans.

Bury were certainly making strenuous efforts to get back in the game: Yarmouth were pinned back for periods and Brown had to boot clear from the foot of a post to preserve the lead.

On 63 minutes, Adcock saw his cross dropped by Francis with George, now popping up anywhere, just unable to get to the loose ball first. Bilham immediately replaced Adcock and straightaway put in a nice long ball to Howes who was tackled out of it.

Bury seemed to be getting stronger the longer the game went on, but Yarmouth are learning to defend a slender lead and Jody Harrison and Nathan Drake did not put a foot wrong in defence. Banham could not hold on to a fierce 70th minute drive from Tatham but blocked the follow-up of Stringfellow.

A tiring Howes was replaced by Kevin Winkworth after 76 minutes, then Bilham conceded a free kick and was lucky not to nave been booked. However, Self was cautioned after 84 minutes for a two-footed tackle. Stringfellow had Bury's last chance, but completely missed his kick from two yards out, then George had Yarmouth's last effort, a long-range attempt form near the halfway line which went wide.

After six and a half minutes of time mysteriously added on by referee Artis, the final whistle came as a relief to home supporters

Line-up: Banham, Harrison, Drake, Brown, Shade, Pierpoint, Self, R George, Adcock, Howes, Humphreys. Subs: Bilham, Winkworth. Attendance 86


Jewson Premier Division, Tuesday 4th March

The Bloaters won their third away game in a row to take all the points off FA Vase semi-finalists Maldon on Tuesday. The game was decided by a late strike from substitute Neil Adcock who once again came off the bench to hit the winner. New signing Danny Self was unavailable due to having a trial with Grimsby Town; young defender Will Lewis was included in the squad for the first time. Maldon made changes from the side that won in the Vase on Saturday, leaving out leading scorer Terry Warwick and the experienced Ronnie Reinhalt, and re-instating Scott Witney and Neil Docking.

On a cold night, the game got off to a lively start with both teams going close: Michael Shade produced a good clearing header in the first minute, followed by Nick Banham denying the dangerous Neil Docking; then Neil Bilham went close at the other end. Maldon won the game's first corner after ten minutes.

In the 16th minute, Rob George went on the first of his runs but an awkward bounce took the ball away from him as he went into the area.

Banham made another good save in the 20th minute at the expense of a corner but Maldon were not making the best of their chances in a spell of pressure. Kevin Howes and Lee Humphreys together failed to take advantage of possession in the Maldon box, then Scott Witney hit wide from a good position.

Rob George hooked over from near the penalty spot and at the other end Neil Docking flashed a header over Banham's bar to leave the game goal-less at half time.

Neil Adcock replaced Kevin Winkworth shortly after the break and immediately made a great run down the right wing but was unfortunate not to win a corner when from behind the goal his centre seemed to take a deflection over the goal-line. George blocked a Maldon piledriver and needed brief attention before resuming.

Grant Pierpoint showed he was willing to join the attack as Yarmouth began to get on top and was just wide with several shots and free kicks.

Maldon substitute Dave Streetly shot wide in a rare home attack, then Witney won a corner. But Yarmouth were soon back on the attack though Kevin Howes missed glaringly from 18 yards when George delivered the ball after another run.

Mike Tierney came on for Bilham but it was Adcock who went closest so far, hitting a post after Tierney had glanced down a free kick to him. Banham produced his save of the half when he took a strong shot under the bar before Yarmouth scored the winner after 84 minutes. Adcock went one on one with a defender and beat him and then keeper John Reeve with a low shot to the far corner.

Howes saw a header from a Tierney long throw go narrowly wide and there was just time for Lewis to come on for a brief debut before referee Pryme signalled the end of the contest.

"An excellent performance," puffed manager Paul Tong in the bar afterwards. "I wonder if Taffy [Adcock] is trying to tell me something!" Tong was unwilling to nominate a man-of-the-match: "It was very difficult to single out anyone from a good all-round team performance."

Line-up: Banham, Harrison, Drake, Brown, Shade, Pierpoint, Winkworth, R George, Bilham, Howes, Humphreys. Subs: Adcock, Tierney, Lewis. Attendance 36.

Michael Tierney


Jewson Premier Division, Sat. 1st March

For the second time in five days, Yarmouth overcame a half-time deficit to win. Tuesday's two-goal hero Kevin Howes failed a late fitness test with a sore Achilles and he was replaced by new signing from Norwich City Academy, Danny Self who won the Man of the Match award on his debut. Rob George played throughout in Howes' striker's role and notched another goal to take him to 14 for the season.

Michael Tierney opened the scoring - and his Yarmouth account - in only the sixth minute, touching home a right wing cross from Neil Bilham. Rob George and Bilham both went close in the next few minutes and Lee Humphreys had a header saved on the line by home keeper Jamie Stannard. Wanderers equalised when a rare mistake by Jody Harrison let in Danny Smy who struck with a left footed shot past Nick Banham.

Wanderers then had their best period in the game, and slack marking at a corner allowed Keith Hetherington a free header from which he gave them the lead before the break.

The half time team talk was more gentle than Tuesday's but the effect was the same as Yarmouth dominated the second half. In a tactical switch, Kevin Winkworth came on for Tierney and had an impressive half despite an unfortunate missed chance which earned him the manager's Miss of the Season award. However by then Yarmouth had restored their lead.

George and Bilham had further half chances and Grant Pierpoint and Humphreys also went close before the Bloaters equalised: Goldfinch headed off the Wanderers line from a blocked Self effort before Rob George made it two-all as he calmly slotted home from another Bilham pass.

Neil Adcock came on for the tiring Bilham and after good work by Winkworth and Humphreys, the substitute held off a defender and rifled home a shot from the edge of the area to give Yarmouth the lead once more. Further chances went begging including Winkworth's miss (a header against the bar which fell into the keepers arms) and a header from Adcock from a yard out that went over. Wanderers strove for an equaliser but Self and Michael Shade were resolute in defence and Yarmouth held out for three points.

Manager Paul Tong thought the team showed great spirit and attitude throughout. "I didn't really need to have a go at them at half time, unlike on Tuesday at Kings Lynn, as I always thought there were more goals in the game. Lee Brown continued in midfield where he and Pierpoint are building an understanding. Self had an impressive debut and I must thank Norwich for expediting the signing."

Line-up: Banham, Harrison, L Brown, Shade, Pierpoint, Drake, Self, R George, Tierney, Bilham, Humphreys. Subs: Adcock, Winkworth, Howes (n/u).


Norfolk Senior Cup Semi-Final, Tuesday 25th February

A dismal first half showing from Yarmouth was followed by a second half of such contrast that it looked like a different team. The young Linnets took a 20th minute lead through Paul Watts and were in control for all the half. Yarmouth stood off and allowed them to play, though in truth Nick Banham was rarely seriously troubled.

He had one difficult shot to deal with after nine minutes when a diving save led to a Lynn corner.

Former Yarmouth favourite Mario Davids played well on the Lynn left and had a great chance of a second Lynn goal just before the interval but put his free header from ten yards over the bar. Yarmouth's attacking play was very wayward and their only real sniff of a goal came after 18 minutes when Neil Adcock's shot was cleared off the line by Lewis Blois. Mark Vincent had to be taken off after 24 minutes with a knee injury after a fall, Lee Brown substituting and going into midfield where he did a fine job.

After a bit of a talking to from manager Paul Tong at half time, Yarmouth came out for the second half all fired up and ran the rest of the game. Kevin Howes had come in for some special criticism from Tong but immediately rammed the manager's words back down his throat with two goals in as many minutes around the 52 minute mark. Both were close-range headers, the first from Rob George's corner, the second from another of Michael Tierney's long throws which proved a constant menace to the home side.

The Linnets had lost their way and Yarmouth did not give them any more chances to play their own game. After an hour's play George completely missed a great opportunity for a third Yarmouth goal when from only two yards out he completely failed to connect with another of Tierney's throws.

Lynn did force a couple of attacks after 63 minutes, the first of which saw Watts shoot over from 25 yards with Banham punching away from the second, a cross from Tom Doughty. Davids was then substituted, as was the ineffective Adcock in favour of Neil Bilham. Lynn continued to create some danger and Banham came well out of his goal on a couple of occasions to clear threatened chances.

Persistence from Howes presented Bilham with an opportunity which he volleyed over from the edge of the box. A horrendous mix-up in the Bloaters defence nearly gave the Linnets a chance but Banham once again advanced to the edge of his area to kick clear.

After 79 minutes a George free kick was well-placed but Nobes saved. Pierpoint shot over, then Howes had a shooting chance for his hat-trick which went narrowly wide. Then in the 84th minute came the goal of the game. George picked up the ball in his own half and went on one of his runs. He moved smoothly past several defenders into the Lynn area and shot firmly all on the ground past Nobes for 3-1. Winkworth came on for Howes for the last six minutes and Lynn sought a consolation second goal which however wouldn't come, and Yarmouth were in the final for the third consecutive year!

Yarmouth - Banham, Harrison, Drake, Shade, Vincent, Pierpoint, Adcock, R George, Tierney, Howes, Humphreys. Subs: L Brown, Winkworth, Bilham. Attendance: 325.



Jewson Premier Division, Sat. 22nd February

Yarmouth kicked off into the bright springlike sunshine and were the first to threaten in the fifth minute when Neil Bilham was forced wide but nevertheless got in his cross which was however headed wide by Kevin Howes. Bilham was making a bright start, as he did last week, but when he beat Cattermole to a high ball his header was straight at Gould in the visitors' goal.

Clacton won a couple of corners after ten minutes, then Nick Banham held on well to a firmly struck effort from all of 35 yards from the Clacton right. After 15 minutes Bilham was again forced wide by Gould but this time his cross did not find a home player.

From Clacton's third corner, the clearance found Rob George who ran the length of the pitch to cross to the unmarked Bilham at the far post but instead of bursting the net he knocked the ball tamely wide.

Against the run of play, Clacton took a 24th minute lead; a cross-shot from Lenny Pack smacked off the crossbar and the unmarked Sean Hillier poked the ball home as a startled Banham tried to kick clear. Four minutes later, Grant Pierpoint, in an unfamiliar number nine shirt, made a shooting chance for himself in the Clacton area, but his attempted lob fell just over the bar.

A period of dull play followed, punctuated by free kicks and long balls forward; there was little excitement until Bilham took an elbow in the face but the referee saw nothing wrong and Bilham continued without treatment. Just before half time, a long ball in the inside left channel caught Banham in two minds but Lee Brown saved the day with a timely interception.

Michael Tierney replaced Kevin Winkworth at half time with George moving to the front line but it was again Bilham who threatened when he burst through the middle but saw his shot pass agonisingly wide of the keeper's right hand post. Immediately at the other end, Steve Williams also put a shot wide with the goal seemingly at his mercy.

In the 56th minute, Neil Adcock was sent on for Bilham with George moving back into midfield, but Yarmouth still lacked in the final ball and it was Clacton who scored again. In the 63rd minute Sean Hillier, who was proving quite a handful, shot across the Yarmouth goal and in attempting to clear Nathan Drake could only help the ball into the net.

A minute later, Humphreys looked to have created a chance when he chased a ball out to the corner flag pursued by the Clacton keeper. The Yarmouth skipper's ball to Tierney was wasted when the substitute's miscued shot went out by the far corner flag! Then two minutes further on, Howes' shot bounced off the underside of the bar and over the line but referee Tyne had already blown for offside.

Humphreys was working hard to get the side going but despite the introduction of the fresh young legs of Robert Southern (for Pierpoint), Yarmouth's efforts of the last twenty minutes were for nought as a stubborn Clacton held on for three invaluable points, though they still remained third from bottom of the Premier Division table. This was only Clacton's third game in the last 12 weeks because of problems with their pitch but you wouldn't have known it from their performance today.

Line-up: Banham, Harrison, L Brown, Drake, Vincent, Winkworth, Bilham, R George, Pierpoint, Howes, Humphreys. Subs: Adcock, Tierney, Southern. Attendance: 81.


Jewson Premier Division, Saturday 15th February

In their first game for three weeks, Yarmouth set of like a train and scored within three minutes of the start. Neil Bilham was set free down the left by Lee Humphreys and his cross was met with perfection by leading scorer Robert George who fired an unstoppable shot past home 'keeper Nathan Munson from 20 yards.

For twenty minutes Yarmouth looked a team inspired to make up for lost time led by a lively Bilham, but then somehow lost their way and Harwich started to claw their way back into the game.

Even so, Yarmouth had two clear cut chances to increase the lead, with first Humphreys having his goal-bound shot acrobatically tipped over by Munson, and then Michael Shade seeing his close-range piledriver stopped by the ever-alert keeper.

After the break, Harwich piled forward and really controlled the game from midfield where Mitchell Springett was in fine form for the Shrimpers. They deservedly equalised after 67 minutes when from a long throw the ball was played to the Harwich leading scorer Gareth Heath who directed a firm shot under a diving Nick Banham from just three yards wide of the post.

Harwich at times encamped in the Yarmouth half but their finishing was too wayward to bother Banham unduly. Yarmouth were restricted to breakaways but had the best chance for all the points but substitute Neil Adcock under challenge from the advancing Munson sent his shot the wrong side of the far post with just two minutes remaining on the clock.

Yarmouth boss Paul Tong said, "At second from bottom Harwich look to be in a false position on this showing and deserved more from the game. Their keeper pulled off some brilliant saves that really inspired his team. After our good start we began to look a bit rusty and I was thankful for the point in the end. My lads have set me one or two posers ahead of Tuesday's Senior Cup semi-final at Lynn!"

Yarmouth - Banham, Harrison, L Brown, Shade, Vincent, Drake, Bilham, R George, Tierney, Howes, Humphreys. Subs: Adcock, Winkworth, Darby (all used). Attendance: 96.

Kevin Howes


Jewson League Premier, Sat. 25th Jan.

Kevin Howes first goal since October 8th, and since he returned from injury, gained Yarmouth a hard-earned point against fifth placed Soham. It equalised a header from Soham's Stephen Bugg in the 12th minute.

With midfielders Lee Humphreys and Grant Pierpoint missing through suspensions, Robert George dropped back into midfield where he was joined by Mike Tierney while Kevin Howes was restored to the front line to partner Neil Bilham.

Yarmouth threatened first through Howes who appeared to be brought down near the Soham goalline but a corner was given. Soham were next to win a corner when a Hinde shot was deflected. A great ball from Bilham found Kevin Winkworth but he was tackled out of a shooting chance.

Soham moved ahead on 12 minutes. With Yarmouth committed to attack the dangerous Ozzie Foster crossed from the right and Stephen Bugg had all the time in the world to direct a firm header past Nick Banham in goal. Michael Shade had a great chance for an equaliser two minutes later but he scuffed his shot wide from two yards out after a corner found him at the back post. Winkworth was not having the best of games and wasted some good work by Bilham before seeing a low shot go straight to Ben Webster in the Soham goal.

Yarmouth survived appeals for a penalty as Bugg went over in the area then, in an end-to-end game, Howes won a free kick on the edge of the Soham box but Winkworth's shot went well over. Michael Simpson produced some fancy footwork in the 26th minute but Mark Vincent headed away the final header from the cross.

A fine spell of Yarmouth pressure finally produced an equaliser in the 31st minute: Tierney threaded his way through and when his ball out to Winkworth was returned to the penalty area there was Howes perfectly placed in the centre of goal for his 7th of the season.

After the goals it was a cut-and-thrust affair, with Banham the busier of the two keepers as Soham seemed to adapt to the heavy conditions better than the Bloaters. However, real goal chances were few though George did a real defender's job in clearing off the goal line with Banham beaten for once in the 36th minute, the last significant action of the half.

After the interval Bugg was again on target with a strong shot but Banham saved well before Tommy Crawford went on a mazy run that eventually produced a corner. Neil Adcock replaced the disappointing Winkworth but Banham was the next keeper called into action, touching over a corner then pushing away the kick when it came over.

Soham were beginning to get on top and little was seen of the Bloaters as an attacking force with Andrew Chatters, Peter Hinde and substitute Mark Kingston all having chances, the latter hitting the side netting from just five yards out immediately after coming on in the 75th minute.

The game was then held up for several minutes after Lee Brown and Hinde clashed heads on the edge of the Soham box. Bilham was proving tenacious with some skilled work which however went to waste but he was the next Yarmouth player to be subbed having sustained a groin injury: Simon Jackson came on for his first appearance since December 7th.

Yarmouth's best attempt at goal in the second half was again from Howes, but his 18 yard low shot six minutes from the end was well taken by the diving Ben Webster. Howes was then booked for the second consecutive match for a pointless foul. In time added on, Mark Vincent cleared a close-range shot off the Yarmouth line.

Yarmouth were the happier side at taking a point from the game: "They were a tough side to beat and I think it was a point gained rather than two lost," said manager Paul Tong. Soham's manager Kevin Pritchard was of the opposite opinion, but at least he was consoled by the fact that teams above them dropped points too though nobody outside the top three of Sudbury, Wroxham and Lowestoft have any chance of challenging for the title.

Yarmouth: Banham, Harrison, L Brown, Shade, Vincent, Drake, Bilham, R George, Tierney, Howes, Winkworth. Subs: Adcock, Jackson. Attendance: 69

Lee Brown watches a Blofield player carefully as manager Paul Tong (far right) looks on


Norfolk Senior Cup 4th Round Replay, Sat. 18th Jan.

Yarmouth smashed their way past Blofield in their Senior Cup replay and now meet Kings Lynn Reserves in the semi-finals on February 1st at The Walks.

Two-goal Robert George was the Bloaters' hero and man-of-the-match with a performance of skill and bravado. His second goal was sensational - a 35 yard lob that beat Shaun Bunn all ends up; his delight was evident as he raced over to receive the congratulations of manager Paul Tong.

This goal put Yarmouth three-up soon after the interval and there was to be no way back for a disappointing Blofield outfit who only once tested Yarmouth keeper Nick Banham with a shot he finger-tipped over the bar. Gone was the fight and teamwork of last week as the Anglian Combination side were completely dominated from the start by a rampant Yarmouth team.

Neither keeper was tested in the first quarter of an hour but then Yarmouth made the breakthrough after 126 minutes of the tie. Michael Tierney linked up well down the left and that man George nipped in at the near post just ahead of Bunn to give Yarmouth the lead they deserved.

Bunn produced a number of significant saves to deny George, in particular, though Yarmouth did play into his hands by overhitting the ball at times. Tierney's long throws gave the home defence some problems and it was to be a great performance by the youngster still searching for his first goal.

The second goal of the tie came via the penalty spot right on half-time. Yarmouth were awarded a corner but before it could be taken Blofield were reduced to ten men once again as former Norwich City star Greg Downs was double yellow-carded and thus sent off after persistent arguing with referee Clitheroe. When the corner came over Grant Pierpoint was fouled by Davidson and Lee Humphreys stepped up to dispatch the spot-kick.

George's second goal took away whatever fight there was left in Blofield. Immediately Mark Vincent was replaced by Kevin Howes with Michael Shade dropping back into the defence. The Blofield goal survived a barrage before the homesters won a rare corner which was headed clear by Howes. Howes was then bizarrely booked for putting the ball into the Blofield net after having been adjudged offside.

The Bloaters were now constantly on the attack as the village side tired and they went four up through a 66th minute own goal. Pierpoint found himself free on the right and, beating the offside trap, centred to the near post where Howes, Bunn and Davidson all scrapped for the ball, the latter getting the final touch, unfortunately for him. 

Kevin Winkworth then replaced Neil Bilham and George tried another audacious lob from distance but was out of luck this time. Neil Adcock came on for Tierney but there was to be no relief for a hard-pressed Blofield. Yarmouth added a fifth goal five minutes from time through substitute Winkworth who found himself with time and space in the centre to advance and beat Bunn with cool aplomb. As in the first match, Banham was almost completely unemployed and in the second half had only one save to make, an easy pick-up from a Stuart Parsons shot.

Yarmouth - Banham, Harrison, L Brown, Shade, Vincent, Pierpoint, Drake, R George, Tierney, Bilham, Humphreys. Subs: Howes, Adcock, Winkworth. Attendance: 200 (estimated).

Kevin Howes shields the ball from Blofield number 5, Stuart Nee


Norfolk Senior Cup Quarter-Final, Sat. 11th January

Yarmouth and Blofield will have to try all over again next Saturday at Blofield (KO 1.15pm) for the right to entertain either Kings Lynn Reserves or Norwich United in the Senior Cup Semi-Final on February 1st.

Even the sensational sending off of Blofield's Fraser Williams, for kicking the ball at the referee in the interim between the end of normal time and the start of extra time, could not inspire Yarmouth to find a winner.

There was a healthy buzz of anticipation amongst the 138 spectators, the gate swollen by football fans looking for a game when most other local fixtures had been frozen out.

Yarmouth had the first chance of note when a Howes effort was scrambled off the line after five minutes, then Blofield's Williams was booked for kicking the ball away after a free kick was awarded against him. Lee Humphreys soon followed Williams into referee Clitheroe's book for a foul. Rob George had a run but when he was blocked Michael Shade, following up, saw his weak shot cleared by Bunn in the visitors goal. Generally though there were few chances to excite the cold crowd.

Rob George again forced an attack and demanded a double save from Bunn as Yarmouth dominated the exchanges without really threatening to score. An unfortunate incident in the 24th minute saw another Blofield player booked. Howes took a swing at the ball and completely missed but caught Blofield's Parsons who retaliated and suffered the consequences.

Neil Adcock headed wide from five yards but Yarmouth's strikers had done little to earn that name while keeper Nick Banham might have stayed at home for all the work he was called upon to do. George, having got free of the Blofield defence, might have had better luck after 33 minutes had he took the ball on instead of electing to shoot from 30 yards. Bunn was having difficulty in catching the ball from the many George corners but got away with it. Parsons then created a few moments of havoc but eventually shot well wide after a second Blofield corner. Lee Brown then replaced Grant Pierpoint who had sustained a slight knock.

Adcock shot through a ruck of players after 39 minutes but Bunn got down easily to save. Shade then evened up the bookings to 2-2 after a foul. Kevin Winkworth at last got the ball free on the left but Howes was felled as he went for the cross and a less than entertaining first half drew to a close.

Play continued scrappily in the second half though Bunn caused a scare when he raced 30 yards from his goal to clear a throughball; then former Yarmouth favourite Greg Downs cleared from in front of a post. However, the brilliant sunset outshone the players on the pitch, while another diversion from the dire match was spotting the ex-Yarmouth players amongst the crowd, Ratty Armes, Scott McIntosh and Neil Prior being noticed by this reporter.

Neil Bilham and Michael Tierney replaced Winkworth and Adcock and play livened up a bit for Yarmouth. After 63 minutes Bunn needed two attempts to keep out another George corner. Blofield always looked dangerous when on the break but Wright might have done better than repeat George's first half error of shooting from distance.

On 77 minutes George was again in the action as he zipped past Downs only for his cross to be out of reach of the strikers who had been slow to keep up. Blofield substitute Barker headed over at the far post as the visitors broke once more, aided by an unintended intervention by the referee who had taken a tumble to ironic cheers from the crowd!

Banham was then called upon to make his only save of note when he turned aside an 82nd minute close-range effort from Marshall. Four minutes from the end Lee Humphreys produced a great cross from a throw-in but Howes' reaction shot on the turn was just over.

Blofield played the whole of the extra period with ten men following Williams dismissal but you wouldn't have known it such was their determination and teamwork. Yarmouth dominated these late proceedings but had only two real chances, one being cleared off the line after 98 minutes, and Howes missing at the far post three minutes into the second part of extra time.

Bunn - a former Yarmouth player - had an inspired game as he kept the Bloaters at bay while former Yarmouth favourite - and ex-Norwich City star - Greg Downs although beaten for pace on occasions did a fine defensive job for the visitors who now fancy their chances next Saturday: "If Yarmouth think they're coming to Blofield and have an easy ride, I can assure them that they won't because our boys are on a high. As ever, I'm confident we can win," said Blofield manager Paddy Murphy.

Yarmouth boss Paul Tong commented: "I'm just pleased we live to fight another day. I was impressed with Blofield's workrate, and all credit to them, they were hard to break down and Bunn did well to dominate his area. We didn't create many opportunities and they had the best chance late on."

Yarmouth - Banham, Harrison, Drake, Shade, Vincent, Pierpoint, Winkworth, R George, Adcock, Howes, Humphreys. Subs: L Brown, Tierney, Bilham.

Neil Adcock controls the ball despite the attentions of former Bloater Jon White


Jewson Premier Division, Thurs. 26th December

On a very wet pitch which needed a morning inspection and work on it before play could begin both sets of players did well despite a number of bookings. "I felt the referee did not allow for the conditions as well as he might," commented Bloaters boss Paul Tong; "I felt he could have used a bit more common sense."

A goal apiece within six minutes of each other ensured yet another derby draw. Lee Humphreys put Yarmouth ahead in the 68th minute while Gary Ingram equalised shortly after when a needless free kick was conceded.

"There was a lot of passion, but not a lot of football," said Tong after seeing his side bested by Gorleston in the first half. Neil Adcock had Yarmouth's best chance of the half but with the goal in his sights panicked and shot too early from distance. Nick Banham made some outstanding blocks and the defence did very well all told. Unfortunately the strikers were not at their best.

Neil Bilham and Michael Tierney replaced Kristian Jones and Adcock at half time and the Bloaters began to get into the game more in the second half: they took the lead when Lee Humphreys free kick was misjudged by Sean Cooper in the Gorleston goal and the ball ended up in the back of the net.

Six minutes later from a scrum on the edge of the Yarmouth box Ingram got a final touch for the equaliser.

"It was disappointing of course," said Paul Tong, "but I didn't think we deserved to hold on to the lead and it would have been an injustice to Gorleston if they hadn't got something from the game. For us I thought Nick Banham and Nathan Drake were outstanding, but Michael Shade and Grant Pierpoint also did well in midfield."

The match preamble had an interesting moment when Father Christmas led the teams out (for further information refer to chairman Arthur Fisk)!

Yarmouth - Banham, Harrison, Drake, Shade, Vincent, Pierpoint, Winkworth, R George, Jones, Adcock, Humphreys. Subs: Howes, Bilham, Tierney. Attendance: 548.

Hat-trick hero Mark Vincent


Jewson Premier Division, Sat. 21st December

Yarmouth appearances record-holder Mark Vincent must have thought he'd seen and done most things in his long career but Saturday's match saw a first for him when he scored a hat-trick of goals; the veteran defender struck with identical headers from Rob George corners in the 23rd and 40th minutes, then added a 90th minute penalty.

"Its nice just to get one, never mind three," said Vincent in his usual modest way: all his previous 64 goals had been notched in singles.

Recent signing Kevin Winkworth scored his first for the club to make the score 3-0 after 63 minutes when he nodded over the Ely keeper Catley as he came well out of his goal, but this was Vincent's match from first to last - he had set the scene with a first minute header from a corner, just as a kind of rehearsal!

Ely never really troubled a compact Yarmouth defence in which Harrison and Drake were outstanding. Michael Shade returned from his injury lay-off to replace Grant Pierpoint at half time and had a good second half, while Kristian Jones and Neil Adcock were always threatening up front. Kevin Howes replaced Neil Bilham, also at half time, and put in some strong runs.

Apart from his goal, Winkworth when pushed forward in the later stages of the game looked useful and brought a couple of smart saves out of Catley.

Yarmouth, now eighth in the Jewson Premier table, seem to have put their scoring problems behind them with three threes and a four in their last four games, and will go into Boxing Day's derby with Gorleston in good heart.

Yarmouth - Banham, Harrison, Drake, Winkworth, Vincent, Pierpoint, Bilham, R George, Adcock, Jones, Humphreys. Subs: Shade, L Brown, Howes. Attendance: 60

Man of the match Nathan Drake


Millennium Trophy 1st Round, Tuesday 17th December

For the third consecutive game, and the fourth time in the last six games, Yarmouth scored three times as manager Paul Tong seems to have found some answers to their previous scoring problems.

Kristian Jones was back after a suspension for his second appearance for the Bloaters and again was a revelation with his strong, pacey running up front, and even with Mark Vincent, Grant Pierpoint and Lee Humphreys all missing Yarmouth were too strong for an inconsistent Wisbech side and reversed the score of the previous meeting a month ago.

Simon Jackson made only his second start since joining the club and Kevin Winkworth, the new signing from Cambridge United, continued on the left wing. Jody Harrison deputised for Vincent and Nathan Drake took Pierpoint's place in midfield.

Wisbech's Phil Mace produced the game's first attempt of note but his well-struck low effort went past the post in the 4th minute. Then Jones had two shots at goal in a minute, the first demanded a save from keeper Darren Hyde and the second flew into the top of the side netting. After ten minutes another Jones hot-shot was spilled by Hyde but the Wisbech keeper grabbed it at the second attempt.

The home attack was well led by Jones who was just beaten to a Drake through-ball after 16 minutes. Wisbech won several corners but the Yarmouth defence was in good heading form. Jones shot weakly, then made a great pass to Adcock but the chance slipped away. A Winkworth free kick needed a good save from Hyde before Yarmouth scored twice in four minutes.

Rob George was brought down in the Wisbech area and Referee Cann awarded the penalty in the 38th minute. Neil Bilham gave Yarmouth the lead from the spot, and four minutes later it was 2-0 as Neil Adcock ran onto a Jones cross and beat keeper Hyde with ease.

Kevin Howes and Dean Parfitt replaced Adcock and Jackson at half time and six minutes after the interval it was 3-0: Rob George went on one of his typical runs from one area to the other and finished with an unstoppable shot from just inside the Wisbech box.

The game entered a quiet phase with it all but won, then Winkworth again demanded the best out of Hyde before Jason Sedlan had Wisbech's first attempt for some time, a weak shot that went wide. Jones continued to impress though he should have scored in the 66th minute but elected to pass to a colleague instead of taking a shot himself; then Bilham set him up with a glorious through-ball but Jones kicked too far ahead of himself and the ball ran out for a goalkick.

Nick Banham, captain for the night, still needed to be alert and made a couple of good interceptions before Jones brought Hyde to his knees with a strong effort in the 79th minute. In the same minute, a Winkworth free kick was deflected up and onto the Wisbech bar.

Wisbech scored a consolation goal after 83 minutes through Andy Furnell but really had created very little all game and it was Yarmouth who deservedly progressed to the next round of this plate competition for League Cup first round losers.

Yarmouth - Banham, Darby, L Brown, Drake, Harrison, Jackson, Bilham, R George, Jones, Adcock, Winkworth. Subs: Howes, Parfitt, Dixon (n/u). Attendance: 54.


Jewson Premier Division, Sat. 14th Dec.

Goals from Rob George, Grant Pierpoint and an opponent ended Yarmouth's mini-slump of four games without a win on Saturday.

On a glue pot of a pitch, that needed a morning inspection, the Bloaters used the conditions better to record their fifth away Jewson win.

With Pierpoint playing particularly well - he was involved in all three goals - Yarmouth took a 25th minute lead: Pierpoint put George through and the ex-Norwich City Reserve player went down the line, beat a defender and cut inside to hit his shot over the keeper and into the net.

Nick Banham produced a good save from a free header, then ten minutes later a four-man move involving Michael Tierney, Pierpoint, Neil Bilham and Neil Adcock ended with Pierpoint doubling the lead when he got on the end of the cross from Adcock and scored from just inside the Histon box.

Histon attacked strongly from the restart and pulled one back six minutes into the second half when Sean Audley headed in a free kick at the far post but Yarmouth weathered the storm and an own goal by a home defender harrassed by Bilham after a Pierpoint through-ball put Yarmouth 3-1 ahead.

A Dave Toombs penalty ten minutes from time, awarded for a foul by Jody Harrison, gave Yarmouth boss Paul Tong an anxious last few minutes but despite some concerted Histon pressure Yarmouth held out, thanks in part to a tremendous Nick Banham save, and to some strout defending by Lee Brown, on as substitute for Nathan Drake.

"Histon were a good, young side and gave us a tough game," commented Tong; "really, the game could have gone either way and we were perhaps a bit fortunate to win, but you take your chances and this time we were just good enough.

"We had lost Howes with flu, and Thompson was unavailable, but Bilham and Adcock did very well up front for us, and Drake was a tower of strength at the back."

Yarmouth - Banham, Harrison, Drake, Tierney, Vincent, Pierpoint, Winkworth, R George, Adcock, Bilham, Humphreys. Subs: L Brown, Parfitt. Attendance: 75.


Jewson Premier Division, Tuesday 10th December

Three-nil down after only 18 minutes, the Bloaters looked to be in for a heavy defeat, but two goals either side of half time from Nathan Thompson on his return to the club gave the scoreline respectability for the visitors. A penalty each (both for handball) enhanced the scores late in the game.

Wroxham scored twice in a minute through Stock and Johnson (also a returning player) after ten minutes, and Fox added a third eight minutes later as the usually reliable Yarmouth defence was found wanting.

Yarmouth gave a debut to new signing Kevin Wirkworth (recently released by Cambridge United) but it was Thompson who sparked the revival, netting with a typical free kick in first half injury time.

Six minutes after the break Thompson broke through a static Wroxham defence to slot past Parsons with ease, and Yarmouth began to make life difficult for the Yachtsmen. However, a 71st minute penalty for handball against Dean Parfitt saw Wroxham take the score to 4-2 before Fox obliged with a similar offence at the other end, Lee Humphreys scoring from the spot for Yarmouth.

The Bloaters had a late chance of an equaliser but substitute Neil Bilham saw his angled shot hit the crossbar with Parsons beaten.

Yarmouth - Banham, Drake, L Brown, Harrison, Vincent, Pierpoint, Wirkworth, R George, Thompson, Howes, Humphreys. Subs: Parfitt, Adcock (n/u), Tierney, Bilham. Attendance: 68


Jewson Premier Division, Saturday 7th December

Yarmouth were held to their second successive home draw by Jam-makers Tiptree United on Saturday.

"We played some of our best football this season but our finishing let us down again," lamented manager Paul Tong. "But at least we played football where its meant to be played - on the floor!"

Grant Pierpoint returned to the team after missing Tuesday's encounter through injury, but Michael Shade was still sidelined and Lee Brown was absent on family business. Kevin Howes returned to the attack in place on Neil Bilham who was one of the three substitutes.

The lights were on from the start on a very dull, and cold afternoon. A Howes long shot in the second minute won a corner which led to another that Michael Tierney failed to direct at goal. Paul Davis had Tiptree's first shot at goal but his 20 yard effort was too high to worry Nick Banham.

Yarmouth were too quick into the tackle to allow the visitors much room and when they did break they usually fell into a well-sprung offside trap. Neil Adcock was a lively handful, quick in the tackle and sharp in the running, but the visitors experienced line-up (they were FA Vase finalists last season) kept a firm grip on Yarmouth's strikers. However, twice in the first half Yarmouth had the ball in the Tiptree net but in 18 minutes Rob George bundled the keeper in too to concede a free kick, then two minutes later Dean Parfitt was offside as Kevin Howes netted.

A Pierpoint 25 yard free kick after 27 minutes deflected off the defensive wall but keeper Michael Bavester dived to save. Howes and Pierpoint were then booked in the space of two minutes for pointless dissent - it was Pierpoint's fifth this season so he will have to serve a suspension soon. A Tierney long throw caused consternation in the Tiptree box but when Howes played the ball across to Adcock at the far post Adcock completely missed his kick. A third caution for dissent saw Tiptree's captain Wayne Houghton in referee Bird's book.

David Barefield at last appeared to have beaten the offside trap and Banham but, no, the flag was up once again! Phil Battell then saw a shot skim the bar. Just before the interval the score became 2-2 on bookings as Alex Snow was cautioned for a foul on Rob George that saw the midfielder helped off but he was able to resume after the interval.

Yarmouth's first chance of the second half resulted from a foul on George on the edge of the 'D' but Pierpoint's shot went just over the bar, and the pattern was set for the rest of the game. Adcock headed weakly at a Tierney cross then was unable to turn sufficiently for a decent attempt at a Parfitt pass in the box. The crowd were getting restless as the goal attempts and subsequent failures mounted.

Tiptree twice came very close to scoring, but Nick Banham produced an instinctive reflex save in the 65th minute having first parried a shot and then Mark Vincent came to the rescue with a 72nd minute goalline clearance. Bilham and Danny Brown replaced Howes and Adcock and livened the pace a bit but with no better luck. Probably Yarmouth's best chance came from young Michael Tierney when his 81st minute header came back off a post. George had a couple of half-hearted runs but ran into a solid Tiptree defence, Brown hit an angled shot past the far post and Bilham demanded a good save out of Bavester but ultimately the small, and very cold, crowd drifted away as did two more points.

Yarmouth - Banham, Harrison, Drake, Parfitt, Vincent, Pierpoint, Tierney, R George, Adcock, Howes, Humphreys. Subs: D Brown, Bilham, Jackson. Attendance: 64


Jewson Premier Division, Tuesday 3rd December

Without the injured Michael Shade and Grant Pierpoint, Yarmouth lost an at times ill-tempered affair at Plantation Park. They were further hampered by the loss of former United player Dean Parfitt with a broken nose only ten minutes into the game, the result of an elbow in the face that went unpunished.

United fielded a trio of ex-Yarmouth players in Cooper, Prior and McIntosh and it was the latter who scored the winning goal, a close range header after an hour's play.

Nick Banham made a point-blank save in the 16th minute before United took a first half lead with a Hunton penalty after Murphy had been fouled by Lee Brown in the 25th minute.

Yarmouth chances were few but Mike Tierney had one in the 28th minute, though from Neil Bilham's pass he shot wide. Ten minutes later the United keeper was forced to punch away a goalbound shot as the Bloaters had a spell of pressure.

Scott Mcintosh was given a lecture for a foul on Harrison, then Yarmouth equalised in curious circumstances in first half injury time. A corner was mysteriously awarded the Bloaters when a Rob George shot flashed across the goalmouth and a throw-in should have been awarded; Woodcock palmed it away for another corner which Neil Adcock headed in while almost in the goal himself!

The second half started brightly for Yarmouth and was only ten minutes old when Kevin Howes came off the bench for another 40 minutes on his way to full fitness; however he was well-marked by the United defence and never had a clear chance on goal.

Murphy and Hunton were a lively combination for United and George was booked for bringing down Hunton on the byeline.

Lee Humphreys had a shooting chance in time added on but fired just over the bar. All in all, it was a very disappointing defeat by a club that Paul Tong used to manage.

Line-up - Banham, Harrison, L Brown, Parfitt, Vincent, Drake, D Brown, R George, Tierney, Bilham, Humphreys. Subs: Howes, Adcock, Jackson. Attendance - 88

Mark Vincent, up with the attack, surrounded by Stow defenders


Jewson Premier Division, Saturday 30th November

Substitute Neil Bilham was the Yarmouth hero again as he rescued a point with a goal three minutes from time after the Bloaters had seen a 2-0 lead turned into a 3-2 deficit.

Yarmouth gave a debut to striker Kristian Jones, the former Ipswich Youth, Hayes and Kings Lynn player signed in midweek: he replaced last week's scorer Bilham as the only change from the side victorious at Wroxham. Jones failed to score but still had an exciting debut and was the goal maker as he was involved in the build-up to all three Bloaters goals.

Jones made Yarmouth's first chance with a superb cross from the left but no other home player was up for it. Jopling had the ball in the Yarmouth net after four minutes but an offside decision ruled out any goal. The action continued with a shot by Platt that was deflected for a corner.

Michael Tierney, again selected in the front line, won a free kick in the 7th minute taken by Rob George: Jones had the final shot which went just wide. Jones was a constant menace to the Stow defence and it took a timely tackle by Oman to deny him a shooting chance in the 12th minute. Moments later Nunn produced a good save from a 20 yard strike by the new man.

Then came Jones' first real moments of glory: in the 18th minute, he produced the perfect cross, after receiving a quick free kick from Lee Brown, for Rob George to run on to and hit an unstoppable shot past Nunn from the right hand corner of the Stow box. Four minutes later he fed the ball into the Stowmarket box, centre half Oman fatally hesitated and Pierpoint nipped in to rob him and steer a shot past Nunn.

At this stage Yarmouth looked as if they might overrun the visitors but Stowmarket are a tenacious side and Nick Banham had to make a one-handed save after 26 minutes to preserve the two goal cushion. But Jones was then involved again, latching onto a long Mark Vincent clearance and producing a shot of extraordinary quality that needed a leaping save from Nunn.

Stowmarket then enjoyed a spell of good football which needed another superb save from Banham before they did pull one back in the 37th minute when Platt rose in the box to plant a firm header into the Yarmouth net.

Three minutes after the break Stowmarket were level. Mayes found room for a cross from the right and Jopling slid in at the far post to score despite the attentions of a Yarmouth defender. Jopling was now a dangerous force and it needed a brave block by Banham to stop him in the 53rd minute. However, Nunn at the other end did a similar job on Grant Pierpoint. George went on one of his familiar mazy runs but was halted on the edge of the box before Bilham replaced Pierpoint in the 56th minute. Two minutes later Jones received a clever pass from George, skipped down the left wing and sent in a 25 yard screamer that from the stand looked a goal all the way but instead hit the side netting.

On the hour Jopling seized on a misplaced pass by Alan Darby but sent a tremendous shot way over the bar. A Jones volley two minutes later, after a Tierney challenge on Nunn, suffered the same fate. The Yarmouth defence then had a nervous period and Banham was forced into his third fingertip save of the afternoon at the expense of a corner. Danny Brown replaced Tierney but almost immediately Stow took the lead after 74 minutes. Michael Shade conceded a free kick on the same corner of the box from which George had scored earlier and Stow substitute Carl Ratcliffe planted a brilliant free kick directly into the far side of Banham's goal.

Dean Parfitt came on for Nathan Drake (77 minutes) but Yarmouth seemed to have lost their way and Jones lacked support despite Yarmouth now playing three men up. However, Substitute Bilham had the final word and found another great finish for the equaliser. Jones worked the ball down to the right corner flag and passed inside to Bilham who took a couple of strides into the Stowmarket box before unleashing a fine shot across Nunn and in to the far side of goal.

Manager Paul Tong thought it was in the end a fair result from a good open game but said there was some poor defending from both sides: "We created more chances than for some time, with Jones holding the ball up well, but defensively we just didn't track their runners. Rob George's finish was one of the best I've seen for a long time."

Line-up: Banham, Darby, L Brown, Shade, Vincent, Drake, Pierpoint, George, Tierney, Jones, Humphreys. Subs: Harrison (n/u), D Brown, Bilham, Adcock (n/u), Parfitt. Attendance: 73.

Goal hero Neil Bilham (left) being congratulted by Nathan Drake


Norfolk Senior Cup 3rd Round, Saturday 23rd November

Yarmouth's dream of a third successive Norfolk Senior Cup final lives on after they defeated the current holders. The fact that it was Wroxham who had beaten the Bloaters in last season's final made this victory all the sweeter.

The vital goal was scored after 18 minutes when a long ball out of defence found Neil Bilham who took advantage of a disastrous piece of defending by Damian Hilton to rifle home his shot from just inside the penalty area.

After the goal, Yarmouth's other hero, Nick Banham, took over as Wroxham rained shots in at his goal. Banham defied Wroxham's normally lethal forwards time and time again, and when he was beaten the goalposts came to Yarmouth's rescue.

Bilham had been included by Yarmouth manager Paul Tong to add pace up front as he considered Wroxham were a bit slow at the back. Also retaining his place was Michael Tierney and it was the young reserve striker who had the game's first chance after five minutes when Michael Shade's pass found him in the Wroxham penalty area but Parsons was able to deflect the shot up and the Wroxham keeper caught the ball as it fell.

Wroxham, however, went on to dominate the half with Shaun Howes and former Bloater Craig Lewis creating much down the left. The Yachtsmen really should have had the game sewn up by half time: Stock, Lemmon, Horton and Fox all saw good opportunities saved or miss the target and Banham produced the save of the match when he turned aside with his fingertips what looked a certain goal by Stock in the 35th minute. Banham was well-supported by Mark Vincent and Shade in the centre of the defence.

Yarmouth, forced back onto defence for most of the game, did however create a chance from a 26th minute free kick when a Tierney header tested Parsons but the keeper caught a lucky rebound; then after 40 minutes Parsons took a Rob George cross under pressure from Tierney.

The Wroxham miss parade continued after the interval and Yarmouth again had few chances but the best came again from Bilham who looked to have scored after 58 minutes but the ball ended up in the netting. Yarmouth substitutes Danny Brown and Neil Adcock came on around the hour mark, for Grant Pierpoint and Neil Bilham, and Adcock put in a strong run which was, however, halted on the edge of the Wroxham area.

Tierney, who had run himself into the ground, was then replaced by Jody Harrison with seventeen minutes to go. Wroxham's attempts grew more frantic as the game drew to a close and by the end the Yachtsmen were reduced to hopeful long shots as their best endeavours were denied by a close-marking Bloaters defence. In added time Nick Banham confirmed his man-of-the-match status with a brave dive at a forward's feet.

"We had a game plan and we stuck to it," said Tong: "it wasnt pretty but it was pretty effective. We worked hard and in the end frustrated them." [For more, see Newsfile]

Yarmouth, who have now beaten Wroxham twice this season, will meet Blofield United in the quarter-final at the Wellesley on January 4th.

Line-up: Yarmouth - Banham, Darby, L Brown, Shade, Vincent, Drake, Pierpoint, R George, Tierney, Bilham, Humphreys. Subs: D Brown, Harrison, Adcock. Attendance: 127


Jewson Premier Division, Tuesday 19th November

Yarmouth finally overcame stubborn resistance from Woodbridge to earn a deserved victory. Last week in their first meeting, a 0-0 draw was poor reward for the Bloaters domination. This time around, Yarmouth once again dominated play but also got the goals.

Neil Bilham and Danny Brown returned to the starting line-up, and there was also a starting place for the first time for young reserve striker Michael Tierney. Grant Pierpoint and Dean Parfitt both received knocks in the Wisbech game and were on the bench, while Alan Darby was preferred on this occasion to Jody Harrison at right back.

From the start, Yarmouth took the game to their Suffolk visitors, and Bilham and Tierney were always in the thick of the action around the Woodbridge goal. In the game's very first minute, Bilham got a searching cross in from the right but the opportunity went begging. Mark Vincent and Michael Shade joined the attack at corners and free kicks, and Vincent forced Glyn Dixon into a good save with a header after a long throw from Tierney. Another cross from Bilham was aimed at Tierney but a defender just got a boot in.

Both managers were in good voice, and it often seemed more a battle between them than a football match! Rob George, back in his usual midfield spot, found good space from a Danny Brown throw but only won a corner. However, the opening goal came from George in the 25th minute: he broke clear of the Woodbridge defence and slotted home past the advancing Dixon for his sixth of the season, making him joint top scorer with Neil Adcock and the now-departed Nathan Thompson.

Tierney was enjoying acres of space but in the 29th minute from a tight situation he turned and sent in a good cross which was however cleared. Then Brown beat Matthew Hunt but was too slow in making it count and the defender recovered to block the effort.

Yarmouth were denied a penalty appeal in the 35th minute when Nathan Drake went down but there was no let up in the Yarmouth attacking and Bilham and Tierney continued to look dangerous. Neil Calver nearly caused a problem for the defence but Robbie Smythe's long shot did not, and when Nick Banham held Ben Miller's hot-shot Woodbridge must have sensed it was not going to be their night.

Yarmouth's domination continued after the restart and from the kick-off a corner was won which Vincent got his head to but the ball went up and over. Dixon dropped a sharp effort but recovered as Brown closed in. For Woodbridge, Jamie Scales fired wide from a free shot as the Bloaters were caught upfield. On the hour, Tierney made the miss of the match with only the keeper to beat when he latched on to a backpass, then Brown failed from another great Tierney cross.

Neil Adcock and Grant Pierpoint came on and the latter scored after 71 minutes from his first touch with a great breakaway shot from 18 yards. On 75 minutes, the long-awaited return of Kevin Howes took place, the striker replacing Tierney who had given his all. Adcock glanced a header wide, then Woodbridge had their best period with a couple of long shots, a free kick which Banham finger-tipped over, and an effort which the Yarmouth keeper punched clear.

Yarmouth put the result beyond all doubt when Adcock was upended in the 85th minute, Lee Humphreys despatching the spot-kick to make the score a respectable 3-0. There was a late chance for Woodbridge when Banham saved with his knees, then in time added on Pierpoint should have done better than volley over the bar with only Dixon to beat, admittedly from an acute angle.

"After Saturday's debacle, we changed things round a bit," said manager Paul Tong. "I brought Neil Bilham and Michael Tierney in and they played well: Tierney's perseverance will be a big asset.

"The attitude of the players left out was excellent and when they came on they did not let us down. Kevin Howes also had an excellent twenty minutes on his comeback from injury."

Line-up: Banham, Darby, L Brown, Shade, Vincent, Drake, Bilham, R George, D Brown, Tierney, Humphreys. Subs: Pierpoint, Harrison (n/u), Parfitt (n/u), Adcock, Howes. Attendance: 61.


Jewson Premier Division, Sat. 16th November

This was another Wellesley Road horror show as the Bloaters suffered their third defeat in the last four home fixtures. Relegated Wisbech scored three times in the second half to overturn Yarmouth's first half lead given to them by Danny Brown who, preferred to Neil Adcock on this occasion, scored a wonderful goal five minutes before the break.

Wisbech kicked off in bright and dry overhead conditions, though the pitch was very wet. Nick Banham needed to be at his best to save fron Darren Jimson early on, and the Yarmouth 'keeper had a good first half. Rob George did well to beat Andy Coleman but shot over in the 12th minute. Dean Parfitt continues to show good form and had a header taken by Ian Pledger in the visitors' goal and from the clearance Jimson missed a sitter from three yards, hitting the post with virtually an open goal in front of him.

Yarmouth were continually frustrated by the Wisbech defence which had an easy time mopping up long high balls down the middle. Rob George got the ball in the net after 28 minutes but it did not count as the referee had spotted an infringement just before the shot. Grant Pierpoint then had to come off after 30 minutes with a knock, fit-again Neil Bilham taking his place.

Simon Flanz had a great effort well-taken by Banham in a 36th minute Wisbech breakaway, then just as the floodlights came on the goal that lit up the match finally arrived after 40 minutes: it was a superbly flighted lob from five yards inside the right hand touchline that beat the back-peddling Ian Pledger all ends up! It was a well-deserved goal for the striker who was sharper and more determined in his running and tackling than of late. Right on the half-time whistle, the alert George did well to get to a mishit back pass before Pledger but his first time effort flew inches wide.

However, Wisbech always looked capable of scoring, with their greater awareness and superior passing. The Fenmen duly equalised five minutes after the break with a low Scott Carter shot that deceived Nick Banham on the slippery surface. From then on, it looked ominous for the Bloaters as Wisbech dominated the possession. They took the lead on 61 minutes when Simon Flanz slotted home a ball from the right, and it was 3-1 after 84 minutes when, after parrying a shot, Banham was beaten to the rebound by former Peterborough United and England Youth striker Andy Furnell who netted unopposed.

Yarmouth had their chances, notably from Rob George (a free kick), Brown again (header, just over) and substitute Neil Bilham (from fellow substitute Michael Tierney's pass), but Wisbech were deserving winners in the end.

Line-up: Banham, Harrison, L Brown, Shade, Vincent, Pierpoint, Drake, R George, D Brown, Parfitt, Humphreys. Subs: Adcock, Bilham, Tierney. Attendance: 93


Jewson Premier Division, Tuesday 12th November

Yarmouth almost totally dominated this game but were unable to find a scoring touch that would have given them the three points they so richly deserved on their approach play and chances. Ten corners in the first half came and went as Yarmouth sought only their second ever win at the Woodbridge ground.

Glyn Dixon in the tenth minute set the tone for the evening by clawing away a goal-bound shot from Grant Pierpoint. Robert George again played a striker's role but was thwarted by a young though enthusiastic Woodpeckers side. The closest Yarmouth came to a goal was a Dean Parfitt header that hit the crossbar in the 34th minute. Neil Adcock and Pierpoint were both booked before half time by an over-fussy and inconsistent referee.

The second half continued in the same vein. George and Lee Humphreys were both guilty of bad misses in the first five minutes of the half, then Adcock also shot wide. Woodbridge came back into the game as an attacking force for a while but they were no more effective than the Bloaters.

Late in the game, Woodbridge striker Neil Calver turned Lee Brown, who otherwise had had another excellent game, but his shot was cleared, then in the last few minutes he had a great chance for a goal but he headed over from 5 yards out. Pierpoint's wild shot from George's pass in the last minute summed up the evening.

"If it had been a boxing match, the referee would have stopped it in the first half!" declared Bloaters boss Paul Tong; "our shooting was poor, but there was also some excellent goalkeeping from the Woodbridge keeper. It was disappointing for the players and supporters alike, however we must take some satisfaction from our third clean sheet in a row."

Team: Banham, Harrison, L Brown, Shade, Vincent, Pierpoint, Drake, R George, Adcock, Parfitt, Humphreys. Subs: D Brown, Jackson, Darby (n/u). Attendance: 85

Robert George


Jewson Premier Division, Sat. 9th November

A first-half goal from Robert George was just enough for the Bloaters to gain revenge for their League Cup defeat by Newmarket eleven days previously. But it was a close run thing, as the Jockeys fought back well in the second period.

The first fifteen minutes were even: then Mark Vincent had a chance from George's corner but his downwards header was hacked off the line before George, promoted to the front line to boost Yarmouth's firepower, took a fine shot across the goal and into the far corner, beating home keeper Oxborough all ends up after 19 minutes.

The Bloaters proceeded to dominate the half: Parfitt saw his 27th minute shot rebound off the foot of a post, then the same player had a shot touched over by Oxborough for a corner. Newmarket were mostly restricted to long shots which Banham dealt with comfortably; their best chance was an inswinging corner from Sobiechowski which Banham was forced into pushing round the post for a corner.

The second half was a different story as Newmarket had their turn to dominate, but they were unable to find a way through a resolute defence where Banham reigned supreme and earned Yarmouth man-of-the-match honours. Home substitute Mark Hatley created a lot of danger on the left, then on the right when he switched sides with Sobiechowski; Hatley had perhaps Newmarket's best chance when his close-range shot led to Banham's one spill of the afternoon but the keeper recovered to snatch the ball away from the onrushing Paul Stokes.

Yarmouth at times were slow to clear their lines but Newmarket were equally slow to take advantage. With the accent on defence, Yarmouth had few chances but George should have done better when put clean through the middle only for Oxborough to advance and save with his feet. Danny Brown came on for Neil Adcock who had toiled hard without reward, then Grant Pierpoint had a 79th minute cross headed away and Humphreys' follow-up went straight to the keeper.

Neil Bilham replaced George and was promptly booked for a foul. In a frantic last few minutes Stokes, Darren Coe and Hatley all had good chances but Newmarket were just unable to get the ball in the back of the net. So Yarmouth held on for all three points and three-place rise up the table to seventh.

Bloaters' manager Paul Tong said: "I thought Newmarket were unlucky not to get something from the game but I have to hand it to my players for their resilience, passion and commitment. Weve been struggling for goals lately so I pushed George forward as a makeshift striker and he did the business for us."

Team: Banham, Harrison, L Brown, Shade, Vincent, Pierpoint, Drake, George, Adcock, Parfitt, Humphreys. Subs: D Brown, Bilham, Jackson (n/u), Darby. Attendance: 77


Jewson Premier Division, Tuesday 5th November

Two goals early in the second half lit up this game on Bonfire Night as Yarmouth ended their mini-slump in form. With fireworks going off all round the ground, Yarmouth produced two of their own to gain three much-needed points.

The early stages looked ominous for Yarmouth as excellent ball skills and passing from Dereham threatened a goal. However, Yarmouth were first to test a keeper when Robert George's header from a Grant Pierpoint cross was saved by Stacey Lawrence, giving a passable impression of David Seaman. George then had a second attempt when after one of his runs he shot over from some twenty yards.

Yarmouth began to get on top and only Nathan Ferguson of the visiting forwards looked dangerous. Neil Adcock had the best chance of the half when his dipping first time shot just clipped the side-netting after twenty minutes. Nick Banham was in good form, being positive and catching cleanly.

Danny Brown was booked for a foul and was also spoken to by the referee on another occasion, so manager Paul Tong brought him of at half time before he could get himself sent off. George moved into a forward position with Nathan Drake dropping back. Then came the break-through.

600-game man Mark Vincent finished off a George corner in the 52nd minute with a free header almost on the goal line, then a minute later a spectacular own goal from Mark Adams, under challenge from Grant Pierpoint, effectively ended the contest. Dereham generally had played some good football but never really threatened in front of goal.

Pierpoint, who impressed with his nimbleness in escaping from tackles, tried his luck from near the touchline but the effort was taken by Lawrence right under the bar. This came on the hour, then a few minutes later Vincent set up Drake but he fired well wide. Dean Parfitt had a couple of grass cutter shots, one of which forced Lawrence into a desperate dive at the foot of a post, but there were really few goal attempts in the later stages, though Dereham substitute Neil Maguire did have a chance in the 86th minute.

"It was a great team performance," said Bloaters boss Paul Tong; "they worked hard as a unit and having weathered the first half storm dominated the second period. It was important for us to get something tonight and it keeps us in the pack." Yarmouth moved up one place to eleventh with games in hand.

Line-up: Banham, Harrison, L Brown, Shade, Vincent, Pierpoint, Drake, R George, D Brown, Adcock, Humphries. Subs: Bilham, Parfitt, Jackson, Pert (n/u). Attendance: 43



Jewson Premier Division, Sat. 2nd Nov.

The celebrations for Mark Vincent's 600th Yarmouth appearance soon took a backseat as a disastrous performance on the pitch condemned the Bloaters to their second defeat in five days to teams below them in the Jewson League table.

No sooner had former manager Bill Punton presented "Vinny" with a bottle of champagne than the Yarmouth defence presented an Ipswich Wanderers side that had conceded a bucketful of goals in its last few games with a goal after only two minutes. Jamie Baker took what looked no more than a hopeful long shot at goal but somehow Nick Banham was unsighted and the ball flew in at his left hand post.

Worse was to come as further goals before half time, a shot by Aaron Howell in the 36th minute and a Sean Bell header a minute later, left Yarmouth chasing in vain a game they were expected to win easily.

Yarmouth just could not get going in the first half as Wanderers continually found a way through. Dean Parfitt did at last get into the box but as Neil Bilhams centre came over he fouled the keeper in going for the ball. Yarmouth's best chance came in added time, when Grant Pierpoint skipped past four Ipswich defenders before being stopped illegally: Jamie Stannard in the visitors goal dropped the free kick but the ball ran away from any home players and was cleared.

Manager Paul Tong later blamed himself for imposing an unfamiliar 4-4-2 formation on the team, and as the lights came on for the first time on a Saturday this season things did indeed look brighter after the break when Yarmouth brought on substitutes Robert George and Danny Brown for Chris Pert and Jodie Harrison and reverted to the usual 3-5-2.

Brown played a nice ball into Bilham in the area but he missed his kick entirely, and Nathan Drake completely miscued and his intended shot went out on the far side for a throw! There was more urgency about Yarmouths play but shots were still rare. Neil Adcock replaced Bilham on the hour; six minutes later Dean Parfitt was booked and from the long free kick Sean Bell headed over. Danny Brown did well to win a corner off the keeper when all looked lost but Yarmouth could not profit from it.

Yarmouth nearly pulled one back in the 72nd minute: Bell was booked for a foul on Pierpoint and from the kick another was won on the edge of the box. Pierpoint's shot came back off the bar and George headed the rebound over.

However, Wanderers went further ahead when substitute Jonathan Bickers thumped home number four after a real mix-up in the Yarmouth penalty area in the 74th minute. Some arguments ensued between both sets of players but after words from the Referee the game restarted with Yarmouth 4-0 down.

Yarmouth substitute Neil Adcock had a free header from a corner but put it wide before redeeming himself after 83 minutes with a low six-yard shot inside Stannard's post but it was too little too late and left manager Tong with a major battle to rally his troops for Tuesdays home game with Dereham.

Line-up: Banham, Harrison, L Brown, Shade, Vincent, Pierpoint, Drake, Pert, Bilham, Parfitt, Humphries. Subs: R George, D Brown, Adcock. Attendance: 90


Jewson League Cup 1st Round, Tues. 29th Oct.

With barely a whimper, Yarmouth went out of the League Cup at the first attempt on a dismal evening in Suffolk.The only goal of the game was scored by the Jockeys' centre-forward Paul Stokes minutes from the interval.

After their win at Clacton on Saturday, Yarmouth with the self-same line-up played as badly as at any time in manager Paul Tong's time at the club. There was none of the confidence and little of the self-belief that was evident in Essex.

With the manager himself absent through work demands, coach Derek Bevan was in charge, and the early pressure came from the Bloaters with Danny Brown and Neil Adcock both having chances.

However, Newmarket, whose confidence must have been dented when they became Harwich's first victims of the season on Saturday, then asserted themselves and dominated the rest of the game, though their shooting was generally so poor that Nick Banham was rarely troubled.

In fact their only direct effort on goal was the header from which Stokes gave them the lead after 44 minutes from a right wing centre. Nathan Drake in midfield had Yarmouth's best chances with long range shots in both halves, the best needing home keeper Rhys Nightingale to make a diving save right on the interval.

After the break, Newmarket played some good passing football, with Kevin Sobiechowski prominent on their right wing, but Yarmouth had very little to offer except a run by Rob George that ended with a Grant Pierpoint effort being cleared off the line.

Newmarket won numerous corners but couldn't make them count. Stokes shot wide, and for Yarmouth substitute Neil Bilham very nearly created a chance for himself but the ball was hustled out for a fruitless corner, while George saw his free kick from the edge on the area saved by Nightingale.

Yarmouth now qualify for the Millenium Trophy (as they did last year when they reached the final) for elimination from the League Cup at the first attempt.

Line-up: Banham, Harrison, L Brown, Shade, Vincent, Pierpoint, Drake, R George, Adcock, D Brown, Humphreys. Subs: Bilham, Pert, Parfitt. Attendance: 60.

Michael Shade, whose first goal of the season opened the scoring at Clacton

Lee Brown blocks a Clacton shot


Jewson Premier, Saturday 26th October

Goals from Micky Shade, Lee Humphries and Robert George secured an excellent first win at Clacton for manager Paul Tong.

A reshuffled defence, necessitated by the absence of Darren Lamb, saw Jodie Harrison take his place at right back. Mark Vincent resumed his usual number five spot while Grant Pierpoint was restored to the midfield following his reappearance after suspension as a substitute against Sudbury. This allowed Danny Brown to take the injured Kevin Howes place in the front line. New signing Danny Parfitt sat on the bench alongside Chris Pert and fit again Neil Bilham, with Simon Jackson making a fourth substitute spot.

"Team spirit was tremendous and everyone worked very hard but the defence with Pierpoint back in was like a rock," commented the Yarmouth boss afterwards. Indeed, this was the first clean sheet for the team in 12 games.

Yarmouth created the first chance when Pierpoint saw a third minute effort go narrowly wide. Ian Brown led Clacton's efforts to make inroads for the home team but offside, poor shooting or good defence kept the Seasiders out. Pierpoint was booked for a robust challenge and although chances were being created by both sides no-one looked like scoring until Yarmouth defender Michael Shade opened the scoring after 40 minutes with a bullet-header from a corner.

The game opened up in the second half, with Clacton having to go forward, and the Bloaters were under further pressure playing against a strong wind but keeper Nick Banham was in commanding form, as exemplified by a good save from a fierce Amara Simba shot.

Captain Lee Humphries added to the score on the hour with a Beckham-like free kick from 30 yards that went in off a post, and with twelve minutes remaining Robert George scored for the third match in a row when he finished off a centre from Neil Bilham with a brilliantly controlled cross-shot from 18 yards: Clacton appeals for handball during the move were ignored by the match officials. A late chance for the home side saw Banham spill the ball but no Clacton player was near enough to follow it up.

Although the recognised strikers failed to score on this occasion, it's a team game and Danny Brown, in particular, played well. The win lifted Yarmouth to tenth spot with games in hand.

"It's always difficult at Clacton," said Tong, "especially with players of the calibre of Brown and now the former French international Simba but we frustrated them and played in some style ourselves. We restricted them to long-range shots and they found Nick at his best today."

Line-up: Banham, Harrison, L Brown, Shade, Vincent, Pierpoint, Drake, R George, Adcock, D Brown, Humphries. Subs: Bilham, Pert, Parfitt, Jackson (n/u). Attendance: 98


Jewson League Premier, Saturday 21st October

After a mini-run of three games undefeated, Yarmouth disappointed against reigning champions Sudbury to lose 1-3 at the Wellesley. Gary Bennett scored in each half while substitute Sam Banya popped up with an injury time goal right after Rob George had brought the score back to 1-2.

"We didnt deserve to lose by that score," said manager Paul Tong, "but we missed some good chances in the first half and you cant do that against a side of Sudburys calibre."

Coach and assistant manager Derek Bevan said: "It should have been 1-1. Nick [Banham] dropped the ball for their second goal and the third came when we were all up in attack looking for an equaliser."

The first ten minutes were quiet with neither keeper having much to do, then Nick Banham produced a leaping save to keep out a 20-yard shot from Bennett who was to prove quite a handful for the Yarmouth defence. On the quarter hour, a Terry Rayner free kick gave a chance to Chris Tracy but the Sudbury captain headed wide. Rayner was next in action taking a corner but Nathan Drake headed clear.

Rob George then produced Yarmouths first serious attempt on the visitors goal but his angled shot flew off the face of the crossbar. The Bloaters' forwards were not getting much change out of the Sudbury defence and the visitors slick passing posed a constant threat.

Bennett's first goal came on 22 minutes after Andrew Claydon laid the ball off to him in the Yarmouth area following a long clearance. Yarmouth's Town Mayor, John Hudson, arrived to see Lee Humphries send a free kick the wrong side of the post. A good cross from Lamb was cut out, then Humphries was booked, rather harshly, for a foul: Ross Taylors free kick was way over the top.

George produced his first exciting run of the match after 38 minutes but a defender put the ball out for a throw. From the throw, Yarmouth won their first corner of the match; this was headed behind by Tony Spearing for a second corner from which Danny Brown had a clear shot but mishit it straight to Nower. Brown then wasted another chance created by George after 40 minutes before Bennett sent a shot on the turn straight at Banham and Lee Owen hit the Yarmouth side-netting.

Just before the interval, Yarmouth won a third corner from which they had three attempts to score before Humphries shot against the foot of a post.

The second half was delayed as referee Mr J Lodge could not resume due to an injury; a substitute linesman was found from the crowd with assistant Mr T Conlon taking over whistle duties.

Bennett's second goal came soon after the break. Jodie Harrison prevented a Sudbury shot with a good tackle but conceded a corner. When the kick came over it bobbled around for what seemed ages before Bennett got the decisive touch.

Yarmouth made a double substitution in the 55th minute, throwing on Grant Pierpoint and new signing Chris Pert for Danny Brown and Neil Adcock. A third was almost immediately needed as Kevin Howes limped off with an ankle injury and was subsequently taken to hospital for a cautionary diagnosis; it was later revealed that the injury was a bad sprain and the striker will now miss several games. Mark Vincent came on for Howes, leaving Simon Jackson as the unlucky one on the bench.

Pierpoint was then busy, providing a cross which nearly found the head of Vincent, then hitting a free kick, but straight at Nower. Tony Spearing was booked for something he said which displeased Mr Conlon.

George had been the main threat to Sudbury with some of his dashing runs, so it was fitting that he should score for the Bloaters; his 88th minute goal came after good work by Darren Lamb had won a corner: George scored at the second attempt, his first being blocked by Nower.

Sudbury then had to defend in depth for the first time in the game as Yarmouth pushed on for an equaliser before Banya sprinted clear of the absent home defence and slotted a left wing cross past the exposed Banham in the fourth minute of added time.

Line-up: Banham, Lamb, L Brown, Shade, Harrison, Drake, D Brown, George, Adcock, Howes, Humphreys. Subs: Vincent, Jackson (not used), Pierpoint, Pert. Attendance 139.


Jewson League Premier Division, Sat. 12th Oct.

After Tuesday's superb victory over table-toppers Wroxham, Yarmouth faced the potential banana skin of a visit from winless and managerless bottom side Harwich & Parkeston on Saturday. Fortunately manager Paul Tong's words about consistency hit home with the team and another excellent win was secured.

The highlight of the match, on a very dull afternoon weatherwise, was another electric run from Rob George, again from his own penalty area, and this time he finished the job himself, lobbing over the advancing keeper. This made the game safe at 4-1 in only the 53rd minute.

Yarmouth bossed the match from the start and had taken a 3-0 lead within half an hour. Danny Brown opened the scoring after 15 minutes with his first goal since the opening game of the season, finishing off a partially cleared corner. Within two minutes the lead was doubled as Neil Adcock, enjoying a rich vein of scoring form, made it three in three games from a Lee Humphreys' free kick. Fellow striker Kevin Howes then got in on the act in the 30th minute with his second in two games: Danny Brown took a quick free kick, George on the overlap crossed and the powerful striker forced the ball home for 3-0.

Poor Harwich were never really in it but a mistake allowed them a goal back just before the break. Then came George's magic and Yarmouth relaxed but were not seriously troubled by the visitors.

Line-up: Banham, Lamb, L Brown, Shade, Harrison, Drake, D Brown, George, Adcock, Howes, Humphreys. Subs: Bilham, Vincent, Jackson. Attendance: 80.


Jewson Premier Division, Tues. 8th. Oct.

Second half goals from Neil Adcock and Kevin Howes gave Yarmouth a thrilling win over top-of-the-table Wroxham on Tuesday night. The Yachtsmen pulled one back through Jason Fletcher but it proved no more than a consolation effort.

The Bloaters advanced two places to 12th in the Jewson Premier table with games in hand on all the clubs above them.

Veteran Mark Vincent missed the game through work commitments but Lee Brown was fit again after blister problems on Saturday. Simon Jackson reverted to the bench with Neil Adcock partnering Kevin Howes up front.  Young Mike Tierney was also on the bench.

Yarmouth, for once not overawed by the reputation of their visitors, bossed the game and Mark Fowler in the Wroxham goal was the busier of the two keepers. Nick Banham in the home goal was kept busy catching crosses but had no direct shots to deal with.

He was only beaten by substitute Jason Fletchers through run in the 80th minute but by then Yarmouth had done enough.

The opening goal came five minutes after half time: a Lee Brown free kick was flicked on by Kevin Howes and there was Adcock to fire an unstoppable shot past Fowler from 15 yards for his second in two games.

The second goal on the hour resulted from a tremendous Rob George run from his own penalty area into Wroxhams, his pass to Howes giving the former Lowestoft player his fifth in Yarmouth colours with a superb strike between the diving Fowler and his left-hand post.

Danny Brown replaced the injured Neil Bilham for the second half: Howes, after an exhausting game, was replaced by Tierney near the end, and Adcock gave way to Jackson in the final seconds.

"We carried on the good work we started in the second half at Tiptree," said manager Paul Tong; "it was a victory for hard work and a committed team effort. It was nice to have both strikers score in the same game!

"Now we need to develop the consistency that Wroxham have shown over the past ten years."

Line-up: Banham, Lamb, L Brown, Shade, Harrison, Drake, Bilham, R George, Adcock, Howes, Humphreys. Subs: D Brown, Jackson, Tierney, M George (n/u). Attendance 140

Jewson Premier Division, Saturday 5th Oct.
A 65th minute equalising goal from substitute Neil Adcock crowned a Yarmouth second half fight-back after they had gone behind in first half injury time.

A dull first half came to life in the last seven minutes when first Yarmouth lost debut-making Simon Jackson after two yellow cards in the 32nd and 39th minutes, then went a goal behind after Nick Banham could only parry a high cross and Dave Barefield bundled the ball home.

Before all this, Yarmouths only real opening saw Neil Bilham's on-target shot saved by Hill in the home goal at the second attempt in the 20th minute.  Drake's 13th minute cross was taken off Howes' head by Hill in the home goal, then Howes needed several minutes attention from Terry Reeve for a couple of problems before he could continue.

Tiptree generally dominated the possession and Neil Cogger on the right wing saw plenty of the ball but both teams were guilty of miskicking in the swirling wind. Rob George did just that to Tiptree defender Dave Lodge -  he twice nicked the ball off him but Yarmouth were unable to profit. Poor finishing and good defending kept the first half scoresheet blank - until that fatal error.

A few quiet words from the manager at half time did the trick and Yarmouth came out showing great character. Howes hit a post immediately, George got in a strong header that, however, only went straight to Hill, and Yarmouth's ten men took the game to Tiptree. Adcock came on for Bilham and immediately sent in a deep cross but Lamb and Howes got in each others way. However, it was not long before the substitute made his telling contribution: he sent in a cross which the returning Micky Shade headed back across the goal for Adcock to fire into the opposite bottom corner.

Lamb was moved forward of his left back position and he and Shade supported the attack as often as possible, while Howes and Adcock proved thorns in the Tiptree flesh. Tiptree had their chances, but were too inaccurate in their shooting; Cogger, for example, created space for himself with great skill but sent his shot just wide after 77 minutes

A great pass from Adcock found George running across the home box but Hill managed to block it out. Both keepers made terrific saves near the end, and the draw was a fair result.

Manager Paul Tong agreed while praising the contribution of his two finds, Howes and Drake, who had been languishing in Lowestoft's reserve side last season: "They were outstanding, but it was a team performance of character. Nick also kept us in the game with two saves near the end. Adcock was our super-sub today, what a goal! I also felt young Darren Lamb did well in his first full game this season.

"Let's also remember Jodie Harrison, another unsung hero, who made three outstanding tackles in the space of a minute in the first half."

Line-up: Banham, Lamb, Jackson, Harrison, Vincent, Shade, Drake, R George, Bilham, Howes, Humphreys. Subs: D Brown, Adcock, M George (n/u). Attendance: 89

Tiptree view of the game

The magnificent Crawley Town stadium

The players gather in front of the main stand for a team pic


FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round, Sat. 28th Sept.

Yarmouth received a sympathetic standing ovation at the end of a brave but ultimately unrewarded attempt to thwart Doc Martens Premier club Crawley. For 43 minutes of the game, Yarmouth matched their more senior opponents industry though not their artistry. Then, a harsh penalty decision gave Crawley the edge and two late second half goals sealed their entry into the 3rd qualifying stage draw.

Crawley kicked off in bright sunshine but Yarmouth were the first to threaten as Rob George made progress down the right wing but overran the ball. The match then settled down into its pattern of constant Crawley pressure with only occasional breakaways from the Bloaters. Harkin and McDonnell made early inroads into the Yarmouth area but shot wildly, then Danny Brown fought back at the other end only for the ball to run out of play.

After 15 minutes Crawley's best shot of the half saw a wickedly swerving effort from Stevens whistle past the far post. Three minutes later, a good through ball from Mark Vincent found Brown in the box but keeper Little came out to smother the danger.

Crawley's movement and passing should have been crowned by goals but their shooting was wayward and Bloaters keeper Nick Banham was once again in top form after last weeks defensive disasters. A McDonnell shot fell onto the roof of Banham's net from Fear's free kick, then the game's first corner after 20 minutes appeared to be touched over by Banham but a goalkick was awarded. Yarmouth won their first corner in the 23rd minute, then a ball by Lee Humphreys into the box was collected by Little before Brown or Neil Bilham could react.

Crawley were very patient in their build-up play as opposed to Yarmouth who got rid of the ball at the earliest opportunity but this ploy usually failed against a strong home defence. Vincent caused a stir when he coolly back-heeled a centre into Banham's waiting arms after 32 minutes, then Harkin produced a disappointing shot after Crawley's forwards played the ball around the edge of the Yarmouth box.

However, a disputed penalty decision went in Crawley's favour just before the interval and Yarmouth never really recovered. Lee Brown looked to have shielded the ball away from goal with his body but after cries from the crowd the assistant referee seemed to change his mind and raise his flag. There had been no appeals from the home players but Brown was booked for arguing with the decision and Dave Stevens dispatched the resulting spot kick in decisive fashion. Robert George was then booked for ironic applause to the assistant referee.

The second half continued in much the same fashion as the first with Yarmouth restricted to rare breakaways but again they held out until late in the game.

McDonnell missed the chance of the match so far in the 55th minute when he fired over the bar from only five yards out. This came after a Drake shot had been blocked by the Crawley defence.

Then both sides made substitutions, both bringing on number twelves for tens. A few moments later the referee queried the Crawley substitution but after consulting his assistant allowed Danny Hockton to stay. This bemused the crowd as both substitutes had gone on together! The replacement then missed three good opportunities to score. After 67 minutes Banham made a good diving stop from Harkin.

Yarmouth brought on the rest of their substitutes but had yet to trouble Little this half. Substitute Neil Adcock did win a corner for the Bloaters in the 77th minute but two visiting players got in each others way at the near post and the chance went. Back at the other end Nathan Thompson, who had not had his usual game, stopped a rocket of a shot with his head and needed Terry Reeves attention before continuing.

Then in the 83rd minute Crawley made the game safe when Hockton scored a good goal from Harkin's flicked pass. McDonnell directed a free header straight at Banham but in added time added a third after beating Vincent and Alan Darby to the ball.

Yarmouth had played as well as could be expected, if not better, and the home side were generous in their praise of Yarmouths ability and sportsmanship.

Yarmouth: Banham, Darby, L Brown, Harrison, Vincent, Drake, Thompson, George, D Brown, Bilham, Humphreys. Subs: Adcock, Tierney, Lamb. Attendance 723.







Jewson Premier Division, Saturday 21st Sept.

Yarmouth went down to a disappointing home defeat to their Norfolk rivals in a match which was poor preparation for their big FA Cup match at the weekend.

The Fakenham hero was 32-year old Paul Reeve who notched a hat-trick; ironically the programme notes described him as "determined to make his mark this season"!

Reeves goals came in the 28th, 38th and 51st minutes and, though well taken, were mostly down to mistakes by the Yarmouth defence which had a torrid afternoon.

The Bloaters errors at the back were compounded by a complete lack of penetration at the other end. Fakenham were handicapped by the loss of their keeper after 20 minutes through injury; he was replaced by outfield player Glen Smith but you would never have known it. Yarmouth failed to get any decent shots on target to test Smith.

For Yarmouth Thompson, Howes and George all had reasonable chances, but Smith raced from his goal to thwart Thompson, George fired over the top and Howes was denied by a close-range save from Smith.

With manager Paul Tongs halftime words ringing in their ears, Yarmouth still did not improve and after the third goal Yarmouth made substitutions; Darren Lamb and Robert Southern came on for their first appearances of the season, replacing Bilham and Thompson. Shortly after Adcock replaced Danny Brown and he at least gave Smith some work to do in front of goal: receiving a delicate flick from Howes, Adcock almost beat Smith who had to turn and claw the ball back from just inside a post.

Both teams hit the posts and George did finally get the ball in the net but the effort was disallowed for a foul.

Tong afterwards said he didnt mind getting beat as long as the team competed which he felt they hadnt today: "All credit to Fakenham who outplayed us and took their chances well."

Line-Up: Banham, Darby, L Brown, Harrison, Vincent, Drake, Thompson, George, Bilham, Howes, D Brown. Subs: Adcock, Lamb, Southern. Attendance 73


FA Cup 1st qualifying round replay

A five star performance from Yarmouth saw them through to the next round of the FA Cup where they will visit Crawley Town on September 28th.

Leading the way was ex-Norwich City youngster Neil Bilham with two goals whilst also on target were Nathan Thompson, Robert George and Neil Adcock.

Yarmouth were first out of the starting blocks, keen to erase the memory of Saturdays first meeting when they conceded three goals in the final minutes. After only five minutes, Thompson was fouled by Nelson 25 yards from goal, in a similar position from which he scored on Saturday. Leyton obviously had not heeded the lesson and THOMPSON hit the target again with another superb free kick.

After ten minutes Leyton conceded a similar free kick when Jones was booked but this time Thompson shot too high.

But the 182 spectators had only two minutes to wait for the next goal, BILHAM obliging after brilliant work by Kevin Howes.

Matthews and Nelson had shots for Leyton but really the half was all about Yarmouth, and they made it three after 25 minutes. BILHAM beat the defence but although forced wide managed to squeeze a shot between keeper and post from a narrow angle.

Nick Banham was in fine form in the Bloaters goal when Leyton broke away but the antics of some Leyton players would have won them full marks in the diving pool. Lee Brown was forced into heading off his own line as Leyton tried to start a repeat Saturdays comeback but Yarmouth finished the half strongly with a header from Rob George, a free kick from Lee Humphreys and a forcing run from Howes.

Leyton centre half Nelson was replaced at the interval: how he escaped at least a booking in the first half only referee Woodroffe knows. Yarmouth immediately increased the lead when GEORGE met a Humphreys free kick with a diving header in the 46th minute.

Leyton then lost Matthews with a red card for a foul on Bilham but the visitors kept plugging away and forced three corners in quick succession. Then ten minutes into the half they threw themselves a possible lifeline with a goal as Yarmouth seemed to go to sleep briefly: with George down and needing treatment everyone expected the ball to be knocked out of play, everyone that is except the Leyton players. But there was to be no comeback this time.

Yarmouth brought all their substitutes on and stepped up the pace. Tilley was booked for dissent, then Yarmouth went nap with another good team goal: with five minutes remaining, Bilham sent the ball out to Danny Brown on the right, he went to the byeline and crossed for substitute ADCOCK to stab home under the diving Morgan.

"Im just pleased for the club and the committee who work so hard behind the scenes," said manager Paul Tong. "Neil Bilham was different class tonight, such an unselfish player too. With Shade unfit after Saturday I had to bring in Jody Harrison and he with Mark Vincent gave the defence stability, but it was another great team performance by all the players."

Line-up: Banham, Darby, L Brown, Harrison, Vincent, Drake, Thompson, George, Bilham, Howes, Humphreys. Subs: D Brown, Adcock, Lines, Whittaker (not used), Tierney (not used).

Attendance: 182


FA Cup 1st qualifying round, Saturday Sept. 14th

In an amazing second half come-back, Leyton recovered from 3-0 down to draw and take the game to a replay at Wellesley Road on Tuesday.

Yarmouth led 1-0 at the interval thanks to a Kevin HOWES headed goal from a corner in the 23rd minute. The home side had the majority of possession in this period but could not get in any really threatening shots on Nick Banhams goal.

Yarmouth lost Micky Shade in only the fourth minute due to a recurrence of an ankle injury but substitute Ian Whittaker was a more than able replacement.

Yarmouth had few chances in the first half apart from the goal; shots from Nathan Thompson and Nathan Drake went wide and one from Lee Humphries was blocked.

The second half saw the real drama. The Bloaters defence came under severe pressure in the early stages: substitute Jermaine Matthews, perceived as Leytons main danger before the game, hit the side netting, Honeyball stooped to send a header wide and a towering shot from inside his own half by Ian Barnes was very well taken by Banham under the bar.

Yarmouth were unable to get an attack going at this stage as home pressure built up but a booking for Field brought temporary relief for the hard-pressed visitors.

Then in the 68th minute Yarmouth scored a second. Howes then Thompson were fouled in quick succession. THOMPSON took the second kick himself and found the back of the net with an exquisite shot.

Neil Bilham worked tirelessly in an unfamiliar number nine shirt but in a classic breakaway he netted a third for the Bloaters: a Banham clearance reached Howes in midfield he took it on and his pass to BILHAM was perfect for the ex-Norwich man to run on to and pick his spot.

That was in the 77th minute and when BARNES pulled one back three minutes later it seemed no more than a consolation goal for Leyton but the home side rallied and pushed Yarmouth back and back.

However, Rob George should have scored a fourth but instead of lobbing Peter Goodman in the home goal he chose to shoot and the keeper saved with his feet.

Two goals in added time then gave Leyton the replay. With eighteen men in the Yarmouth area Banham blocked a shot with his knee but was helpless as JONES found the rebound to net. Another clearance found Thompson in space on the edge of the Leyton box but he put his shot way over when it looked easier to score. Back came Leyton and substitute Craig JOHNSTON tied it all up at 3-3 seconds from the final whistle. Yarmouth had paid the price for playing too deep allowing Leyton to crowd into their box.

Line-up: Banham, Darby, L Brown, Shade, Vincent, Drake, Thompson, R George, Bilham, Howes, Humphries. Subs: Adcock, D Brown, Whittaker, M George (not used). Attendance: 96

Jewson League Premier Division, Tuesday 10th Sept.
An 88th minute goal from Kevin Howes won Yarmouth a point in a hard-fought encounter at Clipbush Park. The Bloaters had to come from behind twice.
Yarmouth, without the suspended Pierpoint and the injured Michael Shade, brought in reserve defender Ian Whittaker for his first senior game of the season while two more reserves - Michael Tierney and Matthew Lines - joined Danny Brown on the bench. Manager Paul Tong decided on an adventurous 4-3-3 formation with the recalled Neil Adcock joining Howes and Nathan Thompson in the front line.
Fakenham moved into the lead in the game's first attack. A free kick some 30 yards from goal was driven into the Yarmouth area and  Paul REEVE dived to head home with the Yarmouth defence still in the dressing room as it were. After that, the first half was a tale of missed opportunites as far as Fakenham were concerned: Dean Symonds on the left wing was given plenty of the ball and several attempts by him flew across the Yarmouth goal with no-one getting the vital touch. 
Yarmouth's play was very ragged in the early stages and a weak header from Nathan Thompson and a high ball into the box from Neil Bilham was about all Stephen Lewis in the home goal had to deal with. In the 27th minute a good centre by Adcock was taken out by Lewis as Howes rushed in. Adcock was the main threat to Fakenham at this stage and another good centre, from a what looked like an offside position, was sent out of the ground by Thompson's shot.
As the half progressed Yarmouth improved amd Howes and Rob George both had good opportunites, but half time came with no addition to the score.
The second period was but nine minutes old when Yarmouth equalised: a fine run by ADCOCK saw the number nine make progress into the Fakenham box and his turn and shot into the far corner produced the goal that Yarmouth had been threatening.
Nathan Drake was having an uncharacteristically nervous game and the ball left the ground for the second time from one of his decisive clearances. After 63 minutes, a Kevin White run into the Bloaters box nearly brought a goal but the ball bobbled too far in front of him; however a minute later Fakenham restored their lead; REEVE took advantage of hesitancy in the Yarmouth defence to score his second of the night with a shot that went in off the far post.
Howes replied with a shot that just dipped over the bar, then the hard-working Adcock went off to be replaced by Danny Brown. A few minutes later the remaining substitutes were brought on, Tierney and Lines replacing Bilham and Jody Harrison.
Tierney had scored a hat-trick in his last reserves outing and nearly made it a dream first team debut but the shot from his first touch of the ball went just over.
A dramatic final few minutes were guaranteed when Yarmouth equalised with two minutes of normal time remaining. Thompson, who had worked hard all night on the right wing, sent in a hopeful shot from some distance: the ball rebounded off the bar with Lewis for once beaten and HOWES was on hand to steer a header wide of the stranded 'keeper.
Both teams strived for a winner, with Fakenham perhaps coming closest when Reeve was presented with the chance of a hat-trick but from six yards he scooped a shot over the bar.
The point lifted Yarmouth into sixth place with both Maldon and Tiptree losing on the night.
Line-Up: Banham, Drake, L Brown, Whittaker, Vincent, Harrison, Thompson, R George, Adcock, Howes, Bilham. Subs: D Brown, Tierney, Lines. Attendance: 152.

FA Vase 1st qualifying round, Sat. 7th Sept.
Gt Yarmouth's interest in this season's FA Vase ended abruptly at the first attempt on Saturday.
Clacton won 3-1 at the Wellesley to rudely interrupt the Bloaters' previous good start to the 2002-2003 campaign.
It was a deserved victory for the Seasiders as Yarmouth were strangely subdued, with poor passing and some woeful defending. Without the suspended Grant Pierpoint and losing Michael Shade at half time, they also failed to close down the visitors who looked good going forward.
The first half was goalless though Clacton had several chances to score but slack finishing cost them the lead; Aren Howell and Ian Brown were the main culprits in this. The Clacton 'keeper Gould had a fine game, saving well from Kevin Howes and Danny Brown. Yarmouth's Neil Bilham, who had replaced Pierpoint in midfield, kept trying to pep his side but home chances were few.
The game sprung to life at the start of the second half when, after 52 minutes, HOWELL headed the visitors into the lead from Brown's low cross. Nathan THOMPSON equalised for Yarmouth after 70 minutes with a deflected shot but Brown, so often a thorn in Yarmouth's side in the past, was to worry the Bloaters defence throughout the half and it was his knock back in the 80th minute that allowed Sean HILLIER the shooting chance from 20 yards which he took with aplomb, giving home 'keeper Nick Banham no chance to save.
The Yarmouth defence made a number of serious mistakes throughout the game and another howler allowed HOWELL his second goal of the match five minutes from time with the home defence split wide open.
Line-Up: Banham, Drake, L Brown, Shade, Vincent, Bilham, Thompson, R George, D Brown, Howes, Humphries. Subs: Adcock, Darby, M George, Lamb (not used).
Attendance: 105



Jewson Premier Division, Tuesday 27th August

Yarmouth gained their third win in four games with goals two minutes into each half. The result leaves the Bloaters in fifth place in the Premier Division.

The Bloaters took an early lead through Grant PIERPOINT, who placed a free kick into the top corner of West's goal after Nathan Thompson had been fouled on the edge of the home box after only two minutes of the game.

Two minutes into the second half another free kick led to Yarmouth doubling the lead: Robert George was fouled out on the right touchline and when Lee Humphries' kick came over to the far post, there was Kevin HOWES to plant a delicate header beyond West.

Thompson and Howes were making their full debuts for the Bloaters, being preferred over Neil Bilham and Neil Adcock and they took full advantage of their opportunity. Howes late in the game missed two chances for further goals but his strength, determination and pace transformed Paul Tong's side.

Last season Dereham, in their first season in the Jewson Premier, doubled the Bloaters but although they created chances in this game they had no-one to finish them off.

Adcock came on for the disappointing Danny Brown in the 69th minute, while Neil Bilham replaced the injured Grant Pierpoint five minutes later. Mark George, brother of Rob, made his club debut four minutes from the end when he replaced man-of-the-match Howes; at 15 years and 149 days Mark, who spent four years at Cambridge United, could be the youngest ever to play for Yarmouth's first team.

The Line-Up: Banham, Drake, L Brown, Shade, Vincent, Pierpoint, Thompson, R George, D Brown, Howes, Humphries. Subs: Adcock, Bilham, M George. Attendance: 125



Jewson League Premier Division, Saturday 24th August

Sudbury maintained their 100% record this season as Yarmouth lost theirs in a closely-fought match at Kingsmarsh Stadium.

Neither team had conceded a goal before this match but with seven goals already behind them Sudbury had to wait until the 65th minute to break the deadlock. Yarmouth equalised with nine minutes left but Sudbury immediately scored what proved the winning goal.

The first half was one of almost total Sudbury pressure but Yarmouths tough defence did not crack. The Bloaters had an early chance through Neil Adcock and Ben Nower in the home goal needed two attempts to save. Then it was Yarmouth keeper Nick Banhams chance to shine, making a point-blank save.

Around the quarter-hour mark the mobile Sudbury team rained shots in at Banhams goal but Yarmouth always got enough bodies in the way. Yarmouth broke to win three corners in quick succession but the tall home defence, with Chris Tracey and John Bishop dominant, were never seriously troubled. Former Kings Lynn manager Tony Spearing came in for some derisive cries from the visiting supporters as he was penalised for a series of fouls but he was proving a hard man to get past.

More concerted Sudbury pressure around the half-hour mark led to an injury to Michael Shade who was replaced by Nathan Thompson. Gary Bennett then headed Terry Rayners cross onto the Yarmouth bar and just before the interval Lee Brown headed off his line as Sudbury closed the half in control but without the killer touch.

Half Time: AFC Sudbury 0, Gt Yarmouth 0

Kevin Howes replaced out-of luck striker Neil Adcock for the second half and became the first player in the referees book as he bundled lively winger Rayner over. Rayner took the kick himself but his effort sailed over the bar. Howes then had Yar mouths first shot of the half but Nower saved easily. Thompson had a shot on the turn but these were rare excursions out of their half for the Bloaters as Sudbury kept up the pressure. On the hour the ball was being shuttled around the Yarmouth area but Sudburys only reward was a corner which Banham punched out before collecting the follow-up.

On 65 minutes, Sudbury finally made the breakthrough: Bennett took the ball down the right and substitute PAUL BETSON met the ball perfectly to head home.

Yarmouth substituted Alan Darby for Neil Bilham, moving Robert George forward in a bid to get something out of the game. This looked to be a good tactic as last seasons leading scorer began to run at the home defence in typical all-action George style. Drake had a glorious chance to equalise as a Lee Brown cross came to him in space but he delayed his shot and Nower blocked.

Out of the blue, an equaliser did arrive in the 81st minute. There seemed no danger to the Sudbury goal as a fairly harmless-looking centre slid off the crossbar but THOMPSON following up had the honour of scoring the seasons first goal against the champions, nodding the ball over the line ahead of the back-pedalling Nower.

However, thoughts of a point were soon banished as from the kick-off LEE NORFOLK put Sudbury back in front with a strong shot through the middle. There was some suggestion of offside but the goal stood.

Yarmouth had a chance through George in injury time but his effort was cleared off the Sudbury goalline.

Manager Paul Tong blamed himself for the defeat: "I made a tactical substitution which did not work out. I really thought before the game we had a chance of winning it as Sudbury never like playing us. However, my lads played their hearts out and I was proud of them. Sudbury wont get many harder games than that this season."

Line-Up: Banham, Drake, L Brown, Shade, Vincent, Pierpoint, Bilham, R George, D Brown, Adcock, Humphries. Subs: Darby, Howes, Thompson. Attendance: 219



Jewson Premier Division, Tuesday 20th August

A goal ten minutes from time was enough to secure Yarmouths second win and maintain their excellent unbeaten start to the new season. Substitute Kevin HOWES got on the end of a 40 yard free kick from Nathan Drake to volley crisply past the home keeper.

Although the goal was against the run of play, Yarmouth manager Paul Tong was in understandably upbeat mood: "Goals win matches and we hit them where it hurt most! Diss will play a lot worse and win but this is the first time I have had a win against a team run by Robert Fleck so Im well chuffed. Our boys once again played as a team and the spirit in the squad is very high."

Yarmouth pressed in the early stages, with Danny Brown seeing a header cleared off the Diss line and Neil Adcock having a goal disallowed for offside. Then Bloaters keeper Nick Banham showed his worth to the team with three excellent saves from Hardy, Cubitt and Hardy again.

Diss had the possession in the second half but the Yarmouth defence had hardly a shot to deal with. Yarmouth played the same line-up as on Saturday.

Line-Up: Banham, Drake, L Brown, Shade, Vincent, Pierpoint, Bilham, George, D Brown, Adcock, Humphries. Subs: Darby, Thompson, Howes. Attendance: 202

BLOATERS 2, MILDENHALL 0Jewson League Premier Division, Saturday 17th August

Paul Tongs Bloaters got off to a fine winning start with two goals in the first half. Last season, a lack of goals was their weakness, but Neil Adcock, back with the club after an absence of several years, could be the answer. He did not score on Saturday but was directly involved in both goals: after only a quarter of an hour he provided the pass from which Danny BROWN put Yarmouth ahead, and in the 36th minute he won the penalty which was stroked home by captain Lee HUMPHRIES.

The heat took its toll in the second half when Mildenhall had three attempts stopped by home keeper Nick Banham in the space of a minute late in the game, but the Yarmouth defence, in which another returning player Micky Shade featured, were never seriously troubled.

Veteran Mark Vincent was as cool as ever in the conditions while superfit Robert George just ran and ran. Nathan Drake, Grant Pierpoint and Neil Bilham all made their Yarmouth debuts from the start, while Nathan Thompson and Kevin Howes came off the bench for their first appearances. Lee Brown returned after missing the end of last season while Player of the Year, Alan Darby, came off the bench for a brief but effective appearance.

Line-Up: Banham, Drake, L Brown, Shade, Vincent, Pierpoint, Bilham, R George, D Brown,Adcock, Humphries. Subs: Darby, Howes, Thompson. Attendance: 119

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