Championship within Gorleston’s reach

Tomorrow (Saturday) see’s Gorleston’s last game of the season and it doesn’t get much better than knowing if they win the game they will also win the league.

Saffron Walden will be the visitors to Emerald Park hoping to spoil the party. Walden come into the game on the back of a 5-1 Easter Monday victory and are looking to test their promotion credentials for next season against a side already promoted. The game kicks off at 3.

There is a slight possibility Gorleston will already be champions by the time they kick off on Saturday.

Whitton played Fakenham last night (Thursday) and, if Fakenham managed to win, that would hand the title to the Greens. A draw for Fakenham would leave Gorleston needing just a point against Walden.

Should Whitton lose their final game against Ipswich Wanderers tomorrow Gorleston will win the league whatever their own result.

Diss Town 1 Gorleston 1

Gorleston had enough chances to win this match but had to settle for a share of the points in their final away game of the season, setting up a mouth-watering Emerald Park finale on Saturday.

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Diss began well with Danny Partridge charging down an Elliot Pride clearance and then Jordan Rocastle was denied by Pride diving at his feet, all in the opening three minutes.

But the Greens soon got a grip of the game and began to dominate possession without really troubling Matt Webster in the Diss goal.

Sixteen minutes in Stefan Gilding appeared to catch Bradley Hough in the face along the right touchline. Play was waved on and the ball finished with Gary Williams in the box but his shot was blocked.

The referee then booked Gilding for his earlier challenge before consulting with his linesman, on another day a red card may have been shown.

Midway through the half Chris Sandford forced the defence into an error but couldn’t capitalize and then Hough rose at the far post to head goalwards but a defender got back to divert the effort for a corner.

Partridge was then snuffed out by a combination of Pride and Adam Thurtle before Diss were awarded a free kick which Gilding headed back across goal and Rocastle tried an ambitious overhead kick which went wide.

Darren Cockrill had a shot saved by Webster’s knee before a Steve Taylor pull back saw Sandford fire over.

DJ Kareche went down under pressure in the 37th minute and twisted his knee and was replaced by the returning Kyle Howell.

As the half drew to a close, a long ball caught out the Gorleston defence but Pride denied Partridge with his feet, the ball fell nicely to Rocastle following up for the best chance of the half but he rasped the ball against the crossbar.

Gorleston continued to dominate in the second half with Diss reduced to counter attacks through the ever dangerous Rocastle.

Richard Woodrow had a weak left foot shot straight at the keeper and then Cockrill rose for a free header but put it over the bar when he should have done better.

From the goal kick Diss attacked, Rocastle finding space through the middle of the park and he calmly passed the ball past Pride into the net via the post.

Gorleston manager Richard Daniels then threw on an extra attacker with Ali McKenna coming on, surprisingly for Woodrow, but the Greens were still rocking and Rocastle somehow found himself in with another chance which he put wide.

Williams played a one-two with Hough but shot weakly at the keeper as the Greens pushed forward but they always looked susceptible to a quick breakaway through Rocastle.

With ten minutes remaining came the lifeline. Hough turned in the box and was tripped by Tom Deller. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Cockrill stepped up to slot the penalty into the corner of the goal. That goal was the Greens 100th in all competitions this season.

Gorleston sensed a winner, which would virtually secure the title, and Williams was proving a danger. With four minutes remaining his twenty yard effort cannoned back off the bar.

McKenna made a strong run into the box with the game in injury time and laid the ball off to Hough who blasted over when it seemed harder to miss.

A minute later Hough squared a low ball across the goalmouth which somehow evaded McKenna and Sandford and two defenders before going out for a corner. The corner was directed goalwards and McKenna, about two yards out, tried to redirect the ball into the goal, but somehow cleared it over the bar.

Team: Elliot Pride, DJ Kareche (Kyle Howell 37), Reece Hunn, Richard Woodrow (Ali McKenna 55), Adam Thurtle, Eddie Thompson, Chris Sandford, Darren Cockrill, Bradley Hough, Steve Taylor, Gary Williams