Yarmouth get revenge on Wisbech

Great Yarmouth 2, Wisbech 1

On a wet pitch Wisbech dominated the first half and led at half time through a 24th minute goal from Ashley Stevens, a simple far-post finish from a left flank cross.

Conditions were difficult as players struggled to keep on their feet in the mud, especially in the centre of the Wellesley pitch, and the bounce of the ball was unreliable.

Jake Jessup in the Yarmouth goal produced a double save in the 33rd minute and Luke Fell was required to clear off the goal line after 39 minutes as the Fenmen tried to press home their territorial advantage, and although the Bloaters had their moments of good play they did not really trouble visiting ‘keeper Lea Jordan.

As so often recently, the second half saw a new Yarmouth and only ten minutes into the second half they were level: Luke Fell, who had started in the right-back slot, swopped places with debutant wide midfielder James Page and the move paid dividends as Fell moved the ball up to Reed who was tripped as he ran into the Wisbech area.

Glenn Hambling, refereeing his final game after a distinguished 20-year career, pointed to the spot and up stepped Scott Woodcock to fire the home side on terms.

Wisbech retaliated with venom and three times in as many minutes Jessup was called upon to make crucial saves. Yarmouth should have gone ahead in the 65th minute but after another Fell run and centre, Gavin Norman’s underhit effort stuck in the mud allowing Jordan to gratefully grab the ball. Jessup produced another trio of saves around the 70 minute mark as Wisbech again dominated the possession and Gareth Palmer made another goal-line clearance ten minutes later.

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Yarmouth then came up with the winner six minutes from the end, about the same time that Wisbech had done in the meeting of the clubs three weeks ago. Woodcock obliged again, this time with an amazing chip from wide right on the edge of the area.

Yarmouth boss Paul Tong was in no doubt as to who was his man of the match: “Jake Jessup in goal was unbelievable for a boy of 17, he just had one of those days. Today belonged to him; I’m sure it will be a game he will remember for a long time. And he deserves to because at half time he’d injured his knuckle and it was touch and go that he could continue but he rode the storm, maybe rode his luck a bit but let me tell you that at 17 that was an outstanding performance.

“I thought Wisbech at times outplayed us, creating numerous chances but in fairness I felt we deserved at their place at least a draw but got beat and today I thought the boot was on the other foot and credit to the lads for keeping going.

Tong said there were some outstanding performances throughout the team. “James Page came in from Reepham in the Anglian Combination for his debut and didn’t look out of it at all. Jake Reed worked tirelessly, as did Dom Smith and Ross Catchpole in midfield. The two goals from Scott Woodcock today were unbelievable finishes. The penalty - normally he’s confident but though he didn’t look too confident he stuck it away – and then the chip for his second goal was exquisite. Luke Fell – we did a tactical change at half time put James at the back and moved Luke forward and he played the ball in for Reedy to get beyond them and cause them a problem.

Explaining the need for the interval changes, Tong said: “We defended with our backs to the wall first half and we needed to get them in at half time: we were under the cosh but we felt if we came in 1-0 down there was always a chance for us. The boys came in and their heads were on the floor and I said why? Wisbech for me are a top-six side if not higher and I’m sure at some stage they’ll challenge.

“Hopefully we can keep winning; I did think we might nick a point today and when we went a goal down I was a bit worried so to get all three points was a bonus and its three points nearer our target and we’ve got to keep it going.

“Credit to the officials today too; Glen Hambling has been a referee for over 20 years and this was his last game today before retiring. I’d like to pay tribute to him; he could have cautioned one or two today but common sense prevailed and I’d just like to wish him all the best for what he’s done in the game because without people like that in the middle we can’t have games of football.”