Confidence growing at Gorleston

Brave goalkeeping as Nathan Russell almost gets in for Gorleston. Photo: DAVID HARDY

Brave goalkeeping as Nathan Russell almost gets in for Gorleston. Photo: DAVID HARDY - Credit: Archant

Gorleston returned from last weekend’s trip to Essex without any points after losing 3-2 at Stanway Rovers, but they can gain confidence from their performance, with only an injury time winner costing them a valuable point.

It is the third time in their last four league games where last-minute goals have cost the Greens and, if they could have held on just a few minutes longer in those three games, they would have four more points on the board and be sitting nicely in fourth place after Saturday’s games.

Tomorrow Gorleston have a chance to gain some points from another Essex side when FC Clacton visit Emerald Park, kick-off 3pm.

Clacton are a point ahead of the Greens and have played two games less. Gorleston have yet to pick up any points at home – but all records have to end some time.

Gorleston Reserves continued their unbeaten start with a 9-0 victory over Thetford Rovers Reserves with four goals from Connor Ingram, two from Hayden Ingram and one each for Tom Markham, Dane Whiteley and John Bell.

They have their toughest game so far tomorrow when they travel to play Sprowston Athletic, of Anglian Comb Division Two, in the first round of the Norfolk Junior Cup.

Next Thursday Gorleston Under 18s take on Harford Tornadoes at Emerald Park (7.45pm).

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Stanway Rovers 3 Gorleston 2

An injury-time winner denied Gorleston a deserved point in Essex.

There were five changes to the side that had beaten Fakenham in midweek.

Out went Conna Harris, Adam Plumstead, Peter Lambert, Chris Sandford and Ally McKenna.

Harley Clements made his debut at right back with Ashley King handed his first start up front. Dale Cockrill, Luke Goreham and Mitch McKay all returned.

With the wind at their backs, Greens started well, forcing four corners in the opening seven minutes.

A Joel Watts free-kick went over before Nathan Russell headed another free-kick goalwards but was denied by Dan Heath in the Rovers goal. From the corner Watts saw his shot pushed over the bar by Heath.

Stanway settled and came into the game without unduly troubling the Gorleston goalkeeper.

Their main threat came seven minutes before the break when Terry Rymer broke in behind the defence but was stopped by a sliding Aaron Taylor challenge. With the ball springing loose in the area Rymer spent his time appealing for the penalty rather than going for the ball and Gorleston were able to clear the danger.

The hosts had been second best in the first half and their manager addressed the issue with a half-time double substitution and his side upped their efforts.

Seven minutes into the half came Stanway’s first effort at goal when a long ball was left by the Gorleston defenders allowing Rymer to sneak in behind. He lobbed the advancing George Macrae and everybody held their breath as the ball bounced goalwards, struck the post and rebounded back into play, where Taylor mopped up.

Keegan Middleton replaced the injured Cain Eagleton on 63 minutes and created the opening goal with his very first touch when he whipped a free-kick across the six-yard box to where Dale Cockrill pounced at the back post.

A scramble on the goalline saw the assistant referee raise his flag to indicate the ball had crossed the line, much to the hosts’ annoyance.

However, the lead only lasted four minutes as two goals in a minute turned the game on its head.

Gorleston failed to clear a near-post corner, the ball popping up into the air where Jamie Shaw headed in the equaliser. A minute later Jake Clowsley went through on Macrae and lobbed him to put his side ahead.

Stanway then had their keeper to thank for keeping their lead.

On 78 minutes Russell’s run and slide-rule pass put King through on the keeper but Heath managed to deny the Gorleston striker with his legs.

Nine minutes later Russell and Watts linked up with Watts going through and shooting. Heath was going the wrong way but somehow moved in the air and stretched out his long arm to glove the ball up and over the bar.

With a minute left Gorleston sent Watts through down the left wing. He lifted the ball over the advancing keeper to bring the sides level with Stanway wanting offside.

But the linesman who had upset them before ruled Watts had been level.

Gorleston had to play the eight minutes of injury time with only 10 men as King had to limp off with cramp.

Five minutes into the extra time Stanway were awarded a free-kick in midfield for handball, which seemed a little harsh as the Gorleston player had only been a yard away when the ball was kicked.

The ball was launched into the box where Shaw struck it at goal but Taylor got back to block for a corner.

From the corner, Shaw rose unmarked and headed inside the unguarded Gorleston post to send his side into raptures of delight.

Even Stanway officials and neutrals admitted afterwards that Gorleston deserved something from the game with Gorleston manager Ricci Butler describing football as a cruel game,

However, he was not downhearted due to the nature of his side’s performance.

Gorleston: George Macrae, Harley Clements, Liam Brown, Cain Eagleton, Aaron Taylor, Dale Cockrill, Nathan Russell, Luke Goreham, Ashley King, Mitch McKay, Joel Watts

Bookings: None

Goals: Cockrill 64; Watts 89

Stanway Rovers: Dan Heath, Craig Hughes, Pip Boyland (c), Jack Smith, Jack Cawley, Josh Neale, Ben Newson, Danny Slatter, Terry Rymer, Jake Clowsley, Jordan Palmer

Bookings: Clowsley 71; Shaw 82; Slatter 83

Goals: Shaw 68, 90+5; Clowsley 69

Attendance: 61

Ref: Oliver Morris-Sandersw