THE BUILDBASE FA VASE FIRST ROUND PROPER: Thetford Town 2 Great Yarmouth Town 1
Thetford Town will go into the hat for the FA Vase second round for the first time in five years after an early goal in each half saw them overcome Great Yarmouth Town at Mundford Road this afternoon.
Bruno Tavares stunned their fellow Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division opponents with a sublime finish from 25 yards in the fourth minute to give the dominant Brecklanders a slender lead at the interval.
Top scorer Robbie Priddle headed home a Cameron King cross seven minutes after the restart to double their advantage, and despite Great Yarmouth substitute Sean Perfect’s 65th minute reply, Thetford were able to hold on to progress into the next round.
Brecklanders’ boss Danny White made three changes from the side who had won 5-3 at Caister in the Norfolk Senior Cup a week earlier with captain Sam Bond and Tavares both coming back into the starting line-up.
And it did not take long for the latter to make his mark on the tie.
From Town’s first attack, King showed his ability with the ball at his feet as he darted inside from the right wing following a throw-in, picking out Tavares who steadied himself on the left side of the area and unleashed a low screamer from 25 yards that arrowed into the bottom right-hand corner.
Former AFC Sudbury man Ross Bailey saw a low shot from the edge of the area saved before Thetford defender Ryan Sanders had to head a corner clear at the other end after ‘keeper Kingsley Barnes had been left stranded.
Yarmouth’s players put in strong appeals for a penalty in the 17th minute when Mitch Forbes tangled with his marker attempting to run in on Thomas Cullumbine’s teasing delivery across the face of goal, but the referee was having none of it.
A minute later, Sanders reacted to a foul by Bloaters’ captain Ady Ager following a Yarmouth corner and both players broke into a scuffle, with both perhaps being fortunate to stay on the pitch after being given just yellow cards.
Thetford almost doubled their advantage when Tavares was put clear on the break but goalkeeper Jack Whatmough narrowed the angle before getting a strong hand behind his shot.
Town were getting plenty of joy attacking down both flanks and Bond burst down the right before pulling back to Melanson on the edge of the area, but his first time effort went just beyond the far post.
Yarmouth’s number 10 Declan McAvoy was lucky to not have his game cut short in the 34th minute as he persisted in backchatting the referee after being given a yellow card for wrapping King’s ankle.
After Priddle saw a volley blocked the visitors seized their chance to break and Mitch Forbes played through Cullumbine but Bond did exceptionally well to make up the ground and snuff out the danger.
Tavares went for a spectacular second when taking on a poor clearance in the 39th minute, but his powerful effort from 30 yards went a few foot wide.
A flowing breakaway move saw Tavares cross for Melanson but his fellow winger’s shot was too weak.
Melanson then tried his luck from range and was not far off catching Whatmough out.
On the stroke of half-time Yarmouth wasted a great opportunity to level the tie. A good ball put Davis beyond the home backline and he rounded Barnes before playing across for Cullumbine to convert, but only to see Ross Bailey turn the ball past the outside of the post with a pivotal block.
The ill-feeling towards the referee from the visiting players spilled over as they walked off with Whatmough’s comments seeing him given a yellow card.
Priddle failed to direct his header at goal when well placed from Melanson’s delivery.
But the Thetford number nine made no such mistake in the 52nd minute, as a slick free-kick routine doubled his side’s advantage.
Ross Bailey played the ball to Melanson on the right edge of the penalty area and he slipped it on to King who stood up a cross after committing the ‘keeper for Priddle to glance into an open net.
The home side were oozing confidence and kept up the pressure with King’s 30-yard screamer whistling just over the crossbar while Priddle was denied by Whatmough from King’s cut-back.
Up the other end Yarmouth went close to pulling one back when Davis’ strong run and cross was almost converted by Cullumbine, but he put it just past the near post.
It was a warning that was not heeded and The Bloaters got a foothold back in the tie in the 65th minute when Cullumbine this time got past the backline and drove a low ball across the face of goal with substitute Perfect beating Bond at the far post to nudge it into the net.
Despite dominating the game, Thetford were suddenly within reach for Yarmouth and Nick Bailey tried a quick route to goal with a long-range effort which went comfortably over.
After Whatmough was called into action at the other end to tip away a Ross Bailey corner before fisting out the next, the bookings started to wrack up for both sides as niggling fouls persisted.
Tavares tried to put the result beyond doubt when he cut in from the left but his fierce effort was deflected away.
The Bloaters began to camp themselves in the home half as they piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser.
But the closest they came was when a free-kick put Mitch Forbes within sight of goal on the right-hand edge of the penalty area only for Barnes to make a good block at his near-post.
THETFORD: Barnes, Bond (c), L Bailey, O’Mahoney, Sanders, Smith, Melanson (Conroy 81), R Bailey, Priddle (Attree 90), King (Fuller 85), Tavares. Unused sub: White.
Free Press Man of The Match: Bruno Tavares.
* To see who Thetford will face in the second round, log back onto this website on Monday lunchtime.