Wroxham lost out in hotly contested Norfolk derby as Yarmouth left Trafford Park with all the points writes Darren Wiseman
A wet Tuesday evening saw the definition of a game of two halves. A tussle that had been competitive, even and hard fought was changed on the back of one decision by the referee, transforming the game into effectively a training ground “attack versus defence”.
Wroxham started the night still looking for their first goal of the season following blanks at home against Histon and in the cup at Southend Manor on Saturday. They started with Will Viner in goal, Captain Tom Matthews and Craig Bussens at full back with 3 centre halves in Mark Shadrack, Michael Sommerfield and Adam Plumstead.
In midfield Payton Swatman, Joe Manning, Robbie Sweeney and Ben Fowkes with Pete Wiltshire up front.
On a pitch that had done well to hold up after all the downpours through the day, Great Yarmouth huddled up and Wroxham kicked off shooting towards the Kenny Cooke stand.
After an even start the first chance of the game came from a mistake. Adam Plumstead was weak with his header back towards his goalkeeper that lacked power and almost let the Bloaters attacker in. Fortunately Viner was aware of the situation and ran out to clear up the danger. The ball dropped to Sam Applegate but his snap effort from distance was wide of the goal.
Wroxham hit back with some nice passing that led to Wiltshire getting a sight of goal, but his effort from 18 yards was held well by Glover in the Bloaters goal diving to his left.
Some fantastic wing play nearly set Wroxham in to open the scoring. A ball out wide to Sweeney looked difficult to take, but his touch not only kept the ball in play, but also put in his path to run into, drawing praise from the home dug out. He played the ball in field to Ben Fowkes, but his effort was tame and was again gathered by Josh Glover.
After the first 15 minutes Great Yarmouth started to use there physicality to try and dominate Wroxham. The Yachtsmen fought hard and defended well. A free kick on the edge of the box was taken by the impressive Aaron Sanders but he hit the wall with his first attempt and was wide with the rebound.
On 20 minutes the Yachtsmen opened the scoring. A freekick in the Great Yarmouth half was passed to Swatman, and he took range from distance. His strike from distance took a deflection and trickled into the net having wrong footed Glover to nestle in the bottom right corner.
Both sides were now fully committed in what was a pulsating encounter, the Bloaters showing they were still right in the contest with Haydn Davis firing a ball across the Wroxham box that no visitor could get to.
On 28 minutes Wroxham showed they were growing in confidence as they built with nice intricate passing through the centre of the Yarmouth defence, the ball reaching Fowkes but his curling effort was too high and wide to get into the top right corner.
The first act of the main drama of the evening took place on 30 minutes. Adam Plumstead went into the book for a strong aerial challenge on half way. It struck those watching as strange that this particular challenge drew a card yet none of the earlier ones had. Nothing could be done after Mr Chalkley had brandished his card
Before the second act could unfold, the Bloaters made 2 chances within 30 seconds. A low cross from the right flashed across the area, before being gathered and fired in from the left but Davis saw his sliding effort go over the bar at the near post.
Then the real drama began. Wroxham saw a corner cleared, and as Yarmouth brought the ball away Plumstead came together with a midfielder. This was deemed enough to draw a red card for the defender, and as he trudged off the home fans knew that a very long second half beckoned.
As the players came out for the second half, both teams made changes. The Bloaters brought off Olly Savage for Sean Perfect, whereas Ben Fowkes was replaced by Shaun Taylor for the Yachtsmen. Clearly trying to shore up the side following the dismissal of Plumstead
The second half was basically “defence versus attack”. Great Yarmouth showed skill and patience as they picked apart the brave defence that Wroxham could offer. Although the Bloaters did not create chance after chance they did build pressure. This pressure eventually tolled and brought an equaliser on 63 minutes. Former Yachtsman Aaron Sanders turned Craig Bussens in the box and then drilled the ball past the despairing dive of Will Viner.
Sanders was at the centre of all the good things the Bloaters put together, and on 75 minutes they took the lead. A good ball in to the area found sub Miles Palmer bursting through and he drilled his chance past Viner to the right side of the net.
As the game came to a close the tired Yachtsmen were out on the feet. There was nearly a third as Joel Glover was released with a good through ball, but his effort struck the left upright with Viner a mere spectator. He would however get his goal in the dying seconds. He received the ball out on the left, nutmegged Shadrack to drive into the box before driving the ball between the legs of Viner.
When the game was finished Great Yarmouth had undoubtedly run out worthy winners, but you had to wonder what the outcome would have been if the red card had not been brandished. The Yachtsmen will have a chance to show what could have been as their next league fixture is away to Wivenhoe on Saturday.
Goalscorer Payton Swatman