Crawley hat-trick cheers Bloaters
RIDGEONS LEAGUE: THE Bloaters got off to a flyer last week with their first win at Cornard since joining them in Ridgeons Division One four years ago. Nick Crawley's second half hat-trick was only one of several pleasing features of a successful opening day of the 2008-9 season.
THE Bloaters got off to a flyer last week with their first win at Cornard since joining them in Ridgeons Division One four years ago. Nick Crawley's second half hat-trick was only one of several pleasing features of a successful opening day of the 2008-9 season.
"It was a good all round team performance with everyone playing their part on and off the pitch", commented joint manager Kevin Cruickshank. "An excellent effort from everyone, and all the players' attitude was spot on."
Despite their poor showing last season, Cornard were expected to put up a tough challenge having made several experienced signings, and the Yarmouth managers named as strong a side as they could with several regulars unavailable.
New signings Adey Ager (from Norwich United) and former youth player Alan Darby formed the heart of the defence which also included another new man in Olly Savage. Scott Woodcock, back at the club where he started out as a youth player, was selected to provide support to the prolific strike force of Stewart Roach and Crawley. There was also a return to the fold for Darren Lamb, another former Wellesley youth. Current youth striker Jake Reed, in good scoring form already in the under-18 pre-season games, was named on the bench, but impressive youngsters Dominic Smith and Adam Sewell both made the starting line-up.
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The first half was fairly even though Yarmouth had the better chances, but the tactic of pumping high balls into the box foundered on the head of Cornard captain Simon Hyde. At the other end, Elliot Pride, who got the nod over new-signing Michael Hilton for the keeper's spot, was in good form.
The new-look Bloaters were soon into their stride, and after a number of good moves went ahead. Savage and Woodcock combined neatly down the left and when Woodcock crossed there was Roach at the near post to stab the ball past ex-Whitton keeper Darren Moyse in the 32nd minute - his 142nd goal in 215 appearances!
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Yarmouth went straight on the attack after the half-time break and dominated. The second goal arrived after 50 minutes. Captain Adam Sullivan made a great interception in midfield and his run and pass to Crawley saw last season's scoring sensation open his account for this term.
Sullivan played a true captain's role, leading and prompting from midfield. Another goal seemed inevitable and after some great pressure play, again by Sullivan, it came in the 79th minute. Woodcock's, throughball to Crawley put the ex-Caister man in a position to finish coolly past Moyse.
Crawley made it 4-0, completing his second hat-trick for the Boaters, in the 88th minute. Lamb made ground down the right and sent in the cross for another great finish.
Said Cruickshank. "These players have now set out their standards which they will not be allowed to drop below as we now have strength in depth. We shall be looking to improve everyone individually and collectively, and although fitness levels are good there is still room for improvement."
Paul Tong was also delighted with the performance and the result which gave him his first win ever as a manager at Cornard.