Match Report - First Team v Great Yarmouth Town 20 March 2018
By Ivor Darby
Good performance, Undeserved loss, Cruel Game,
Football can be a cruel game when you are down at the bottom, you have the highs (take the lead), the lows (concede an equaliser 1 minute later) and then the lowest of the low (losing the game deep, deep into injury time). Manager Andy Cunningham started with 2 new signings, Connor Charlesworth (attacking midfield) and Jack Hurrell (wide left) in the team but mainly relied on the squad used over the last few games. Despite both teams being short of game time over recent weeks, this was an entertaining match with the 1st Team playing as well as they have done for some considerable time and Yarmouth contributing in equal measure. Fakenham had an early scare when a high ball into the area was spilled by the Fakenham No 1, Tommy Rix but it was cleared away by a covering defender. There followed a good 20 minutes spell where Fakenham dominated. They won the 1st corner of the match but missed a difficult chance from the Yarmouth clearance. Almost immediately afterwards Shane Akers
made a great run down the right but his low cross was intercepted by Jack Whatmough in the Yarmouth goal with Plumb waiting at the far post. Yarmouth then began to come much more into the game with some neat one-twos stretching the Fakenham defence, particularly down the left where Harry Atkins
was having a bit of dificulty dealing with the wing play of Aaron Sanders. The first real chance came after 20 minutes where a Connor Charlesworth shot was half blocked by the Yarmouth keeper but the follow-up effort was eventually cleared. A second chance came after Lewis Sturman
was fouled on the edge of the area and his resulting (goal bound) free kick beat the wall but was punched out for a corner by the keeper. Great Yarmouth showed they were dangerous when a corner was headed just over the post and then Miles Palmer, the No 10 had a (very) long range shot which Tommy Rix did well to tip over the bar. Just as the half was almost over, Fakenham thought they had taken the lead when Plumb had the ball in the net only to be called back for a very marginal offside. All square at half time 0-0 and some optimism in the Fakenham dressing room that the game was there to be won. The second half almost got off to a great start when the Yarmouth keeper had to make a great save to deny Charlesworth. On 65 minutes Fakenham got the break their play deserved when Luke Gray opened the scoring. A through ball to Kyle Plumb
, who timed his run to perfection to remain onside, saw his shot saved by the keeper with the ball rebounding to Gray about 15 metres out and his sidefooted shot beat the prone keeper and no defender could reach it in time. Cue celebrations, loss of concentration, and less than a minute later it was all equal when Yarmouth's No 6 Ray Urry punished some sloppy defending with a short range effort. For the remainder of the game the pendulum swung one way and the other, each team making chances with Charlesworth, Hurrell and Gray always looking dangerous but not quite being able to apply the finishing touch. Yarmouth also had chances with neat interplay often needing some last gasp defending. With the Fakenham dugout shouting that time was up (the referee's 2 minutes turned out to be 5), the killer blow was landed. With Yarmouth throwing everyone bar the goalkeeper and a single defender forward, Akers made a great run from deep in the Fakenham half but, just when it looked as though he had run clear, he lost the ball, Yarmouth broke down the right, crossed into the area and Rix spilt the ball and there was Yarmouth's Hagan on hand to put the ball into the net. There was just time to take the restart before the referee blew for the end of the game. A sickening result for the team whose play had deserved something out of the match, certainly not the 3 bookings 'awarded' in the second half. So a cruel result but, as they (whoever they are) say, 'what doesn't kill you makes you strong'. Thoughts now move onto Saturday and the visit of Wroxham, Norfolk rivals who will be looking to reverse the loss when we went to their ground last year. If we play as well as this game showed we can it should be a great battle and one not to be missed.