15th November 2008
1, GODMANCHESTER ROVERS 1
– 1 Elliot Pride, 2 Adam Sewell, 3 Ollie Savage, 4 Gareth Palmer, 5 Adrian Ager, 6 Alan Darby, 7 Chris Squire, 8 Adam Sullivan
(c), 9 Stewart Roach, 10 Jake Reed, 11 Scott Woodcock. Subs: 12 Toby Gorbould, 14 Dominic Smith, 15 Josť Vide, 16 Michael
– 1 Ally McAnally, 2 Stephen Hurst, 3 Chris Hyem, 4 Haydn Beasley, 5 Ashley Richards, 6 Chris Hughill, 7 Neil Morris,
8 Graeme Thackray, 9 Lee Boon, 10 Steve Thompson (c), 11 Kyle Nixon. Subs: 12 Jamie Hurst, 14 Jamie Seagrave, 15 Robert Ruddy.
– Chris Dale (Ipswich)
With the lights on before kick-off, the game kicked off in the gathering gloom. Yarmouth made the first
attacking move of note when a third-minute Sullivan cross-field pass went out left to Woodcock who moved inside a couple of
yards before unleashing a left-foot shot which McAnally gathered comfortably.
Sewell was kept busy with throws-in and one tremendous effort reached the Godmanchester penalty spot
only to be headed clear by the visiting defence. A ninth-minute Woodcock free kick, again from the left, found Palmer but
his powerful header went wide after nine minutes. When Sullivan was fouled, again down the left-hand side, another Woodcock
free kick found Reed at the back post and his header back across goal saw two Yarmouth
heads going for it and another chance went by.
It was all Yarmouth in the early stages
with the visiting attack kept very quiet by a confident home defence. Hopeful forward punts were the main tactic of the Godmanchester
attack and from one such, a tremendous clearing kick by Pride found Woodcock but the Godmanchester defence did its job well.
It was 16 minutes before the visitors mounted any sort of threat which came from a free kick but the
ball rebounded from Hyem’s cross over the line for a goal-kick. Two minutes later, the game’s first corner was
awarded to Godmanchester and when Palmer headed Thompson’s centre behind a second corner kick went harmlessly out at
the back post.
A forward movement from Yarmouth presented
a chance to Roach but his lobbed attempt went too high with the striker overbalancing in the attempt. The most exciting piece
of action then followed in the home area as Godmanchester played the ball around but with Yarmouth
back in numbers no-one could get in a position to strike for goal and the Bloaters eventually cleared their lines.
In the 23rd minute, came Yarmouth’s
closest thing to a goal so far when after a free kick from a foul on Reed, Roach nodded goalwards only for McAnally to scoop
up the ball on the goal-line. A quick break by Yarmouth then
found Woodcock in space but he wanted to do too much with the ball and conceded a free kick after being dispossessed.
Sewell then entered the attacking fray with a couple of good swinging centres. The first was well-taken
by McAnally but the second, coming after a series of penetrating passes in the 31st minute, saw Reed
get himself in a perfect position to head home a goal as good as any of its type seen at any level of football. It was the
perfect way to celebrate and repay the club’s belief in him which they had demonstrated by signing him on a contract
just before the game.
Back in defence, Sewell then conceded a free kick to the left of the area but Thompson’s attempt
was put out for another fruitless corner. Roach was then sent tumbling by the right corner flag with Richards receiving a
lecture for his pains. When the kick came over, there was Roach again heading goalwards, but the ball fell agonisingly just
over the bar.
A somewhat dour first half closed with Godmanchester hitting a post and a shot from Thompson flying inches
wide of Pride’s right-hand post.
Upon the resumption, Roach played Reed through the middle but McAnally came out to kick clear from the
edge of his area just ahead of Reed’s chase. Godmanchester then equalised
after 51 minutes.
A free kick was headed away by Palmer but a follow-up shot saw Pride dive to push away the ball only
for Hughill to react first and steer the loose ball back and beyond the Yarmouth
Reacting to this setback, Yarmouth should
have gone ahead again a few minutes later: Reed was fouled in the centre circle and the free kick was worked to Roach in a
good position to the right of the penalty area but the ace marksman scuffed his shot and McAnally had an easy pick-up.
The news that the Reserves had won their match cheered the crowd which was just as well as the home team’s
play on the Wellesley increasingly did not. Godmanchester
gained in confidence and set about Yarmouth with flair, aided
by the Bloaters’ flawed passing.
Both sides made substitutions, and there was some respite for Yarmouth
when a Woodcock free kick was beaten out by the visiting defence but substitute Smith’s follow-up only met the same
fate. Smith was then in action diving in to prevent a Godmanchester shot then producing a booming clearance.
Substitute Vide then produced some magic to put some pressure on the visitors’ defence and a couple
of corners were won but these were too easily dealt with.
The game finished in the Yarmouth half
with Godmanchester corners, and a free kick in front of the ‘D’ but these top five sides had to settle for the
draw which was certainly more satisfying for the visitors than the homesters.
Joint-manager Paul Tong although declaring that the draw, which saw the end of the Bloaters 100% home
league record, was in the end a fair result also said Yarmouth’s performance had given him and Kevin Cruickshank food
for thought ahead of the Norfolk Senior Cup tie next Saturday. “Some of the players have got to look at themselves,
and we may have to change one or two things,” he said. “We haven’t played well for a number of weeks now,
so this has been coming, but we knew this was going to be a difficult game today.”
Attendance - 59