Yarmouth boss praises sporting reaction to injury
Only three Ridgeons League matches survived with east coast neighbours Great Yarmouth and Gorleston improving their First Division promotion chances and high-flying Leiston securing a 3-1 victory at Ely City in the Premier Division The Bloaters moved eight points clear at the top of their section by beating March Town United 2-1 and the fifth-placed Greens beat Downham 3-1.
Only three Ridgeons League matches survived with east coast neighbours Great Yarmouth and Gorleston improving their First Division promotion chances and high-flying Leiston securing a 3-1 victory at Ely City in the Premier Division
The Bloaters moved eight points clear at the top of their section by beating March Town United 2-1 and the fifth-placed Greens beat Downham 3-1.
Yarmouth boss Paul Tong was left ruing an injury to the greatly influential Stewart Roach but he praised the sportsmanship of the March bench after the striker was taken to hospital. With the home physio helping look after Roach, Tong explained: “The March physio straight away offered to look after our players if anyone went down. That's refreshing sportsmanship in this day and age.”
An accidental boot to the head in the first half left ace striker Roach with concussion and cuts to his face and head. Tong said the player was comfortable after a night in hospital, but would be out for two or three weeks. “That's a big blow.
Yarmouth were in front at the time, Jake Reed having given the Bloaters a 25th minute lead with an excellent first-time effort off Liam Bartley's centre.
Tong felt his players considered the game won at half-time but March pulversed them in the opening 20 minutes of the second half.
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They equalised through Ashley Brand after 52 minutes, the diminutive striker escaping his marker to slot home from a cross to the far post.
A Gavin Norman shot hit a March post before Yarmouth were awarded a hotly-disputed penalty for handball in the 77th minute. Two March players were booked for arguing with the officials but Reed put the spot-kick wide after a concentation-spoiling delay.
Reed made amends for his error with what proved the winning goal in the third minute of time added on.
Tong praised 19-year-old's character as he refused to let the spot-kick miss affect his game.
Substitute Fernando Vide could then have extended the lead after weaving his way into the penalty area but his final shot skipped just past the post.
Yarmouth now lead second-placed FC Clacton by eight points with the Essex side having two games in hand.
Gorleston should have been much more than 1-0 up at half-time after their crosses had Downham under pressure. After 40 minutes another quality Jamie Stockeld cross into the box was diverted into his own net by Del Thorpe.
Two minutes into the second half a cross by Steve Taylor from the left was glanced into the goal with the faintest of touches from Neil Hurren's head.
With eight minutes remaining a Downham shot bounced just in front of keeper Elliot Pride and skidded off the wet surface into the goal to set up a nervy end to the game.
Gorleston hit the underside of the bar before, on 90 minutes, a poor defensive header put Peter Lambert in on goal and he kept his cool to slot the ball past the keeper to make it 3-1.