Villagers struggle to cope with men out

SHOW OF STRENGTH: Melford's Paul Barnes challenges for the ball.
SHOW OF STRENGTH: Melford's Paul Barnes challenges for the ball.

Long Melford 1 Great Yarmouth 2

THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE

FIRST DIVISION

Long Melford 1

Great Yarmouth 2

THIS first true test of Melford’s new management team was always going to be tough with three key players missing but the Villagers gave a good account of themselves.

They struggled to find composure over the opening period and the Norfolk team were well in control for long periods.

Dan Cann was wide with a free-kick for Melford, and two more good chances were spurned within 15 minutes with both Cann and Justin Crissell failing to force the ball home.

Yarmouth went ahead from the resulting Melford corner, the ball swept long from defence straight to Mitch Forbes, who fired past keeper Sam Mansfield on the angle to put Yarmouth ahead after 19 minutes.

Within minutes the home team suffered a severe blow when star defender Errol Durell collided with fellow midfielder Paul Barnes, and as a result was carried off with a knee injury.

As the half ended Melford almost levelled when Chaise Guyon pumped in a free kick which Crissell headed over the bar.

The second half improved for Melford and in quick succession shots from Guyon, Jack Durey and Cann rained in upon the Yarmouth goal.

After 60 minutes Melford levelled when Cann beat keeper Danny Cable to a through ball and netted, but this was not allowed through the contact with the keeper.

As a result of the injury, keeper Cable had to leave the field to be replaced by stand-in custodian Jonny Jarvis.

On 76 minutes Yarmouth consolidated their lead, when the impressive and tricky Fernando Vide dribbled through the Melford defence to plant the ball just inside the near post giving Mansfield no chance.

Ten minutes later and Melford were back in the game when a free-kick from Barnes found Justin Crissell who saw his header fumbled by rookie keeper Jarvis, and the Melford defender pushed the ball into the net.

The experienced Martin Westcott then got behind the Yarmouth defence but screwed his shot wide from 10 yards, and in the last minute of added time substitute keeper Jarvis upended a Melford player in the box.

With the penalty awarded Westcott struck the ball powerfully past Jarvis only for the ball to catch the underside of the bar and spring back into play.

With three key players missing, not a bad start for the new management at Melford.

Melford: Mansfield, Attwood, Toole, P Barnes, Durell (Gamage 33) Crissell, Durey, Guyon, Cann (Statham 84) Partridge, A Williams (Westcott 71). Unused sub: M Clark.