Great Yarmouth Town 0 Chesham 2: Brave Bloaters can’t stand the heat against Chesham
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017
If there is one thing that non-league football tends to have in abundance, it is honesty.
With five minutes remaining at the Wellesley, sweating under the reappearance of the blazing sun, their visitors scored a second goal to ensure safe passage into today's second round qualifying draw - and you could probably hear a slightly guilty sigh of relief from home managers Adam Mason and Martyn Sinclair.
They are ambitious for their club, but they are realistic and honest too: had they managed to get back into a game which, frankly, they didn't deserve to win, then they faced the prospect of a replay at Chesham tomorrow night. Logistically, a nightmare.
'Getting a decent team out to do the job justice would have been very difficult - we have lots of lads who need to be at work all day,' said Mason as the last remnants of a fine near-300 crowd made their way home.
The post-match niceties included picking up a little snippet from the Chesham camp: 'Someone let it slip what their budget is. Ours is a tenth of what they pay,' said Mason.
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The FA Cup brings two over-riding emotions: there's the upholding of the traditions of the competition which are becoming exponentially bigger for smaller teams as it decreases for the big boys, who juggle their commitments depending on which round they are playing. And then there is the financial incentive: it pays pretty well – £3,000 had Yarmouth won. The problem for Yarmouth was that the task of getting the business sorted at the first attempt was just too big: Chesham were the better side, classier, as you would expect from a team higher up the non league food chain – step three versus step five. Yarmouth's biggest asset on the day was their need to rely heavily on something money cannot buy: sheer endeavour.
The game plan was honest and one of necessity: the Bloaters had to work overtime to stay with Chesham. And they did. The tactics - putting three players out to protect the defence, kept them very much in the contest until just after half-time.
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It was tough – Sam Applegate didn't stop running, Vadim Costandachi was everywhere – on a massive pitch and on a boiling hot day.
It wasn't made any easier by the presence of Alex Cathline, a brute of a centre forward who was Chesham's focal point. After just two minutes he had made his presence felt, the point of his elbow close to rearranging Ady Ager's face.
'Had that been a step three ref he might well have shown red,' said Mason ruefully.
That might well have made it a very different game, although the running battle between Cathline and Ager and Kyle Howell was a good accompaniment to the main course: the two Yarmouth centre backs were excellent, so much so that the only time Yarmouth were genuinely troubled in the first half was after five minutes when Cathline got his boot to a cross and keeper Josh Glover turned it away to his right.
For all their possession – and there was a lot of it – Chesham struggled to cause problems where it really mattered.
The middle third of the Wellesley pitch will probably need resewing, given it's where most of the match was played, but it suited the hosts. All they needed was a break... but the master plan, which included some positional changes after the break, suddenly needed a rethink when, 10 minutes after the break, Chesham went ahead. Their excellent left back Jihai Dillan refused to sling a hopeful ball into the area, instead sliding it into David Hutton, who then picked his spot and curled the ball into the far top corner. It was a peach.
Yarmouth were then on the chase – and it was tough. Chesham had more of the ball and inevitably legs became weary. And when Chesham brought on their subs, the gulf between the two was exposed again – they ran the show in a seamless transition.
'We knew about one of those subs (Harry Turner) and when we saw he was on the bench we were quite pleased – then he came on and ran the show,' Mason said.
Then, five minutes from time, Chesham got their second thanks to sub Shane Bushhooked's looping effort.
It was game over, although there was still time for the 24-year-old keeper's twin brother Joel to put a spectacular effort just over.
Yarmouth will go again – it's Walsham at home in the league tomorrow night – all Mason and Sinclair want is the same commitment and work ethic that is symptomatic of the club.
It will stand them all in good stead.
Yarmouth: Josh Glover, Plummer (Perfect 70), Howell, Ager, Andersen, Vadin, Applegate, Saunders, Bartram (McAra 62), Davis, Joel Glover. Subs not used: Holmes, Savage, Milligan.
Chewsham: Al-Droubi, Reynolds, Dillan, Bevans, Murphy, Pepera, Hutton, Green, Bunting (Bates 80), Cathline (WEatkins 62), Swales (Bush 74). Subs: Bates, Ellingham, Bush, Tywako, Turner, Watkins.