Crawford strike earns revenge for Gorleston

Gorleston 2 Magpies IV 1

Gorleston finally managed to turn out a virtually full squad for the home time against Magpies 4th XI at Cliff Park on Saturday, and a great game of hockey followed.

Magpies had a bare 11 and mixed experience with a number of young players. Very comfortable on the ball and with some wonderful individual skills, Magpies had much the better of the previous encounter with Gorleston, but this was a much more balanced affair, with both sides moving the ball at pace.

Whilst the first half was even in terms of possession, Gorleston generated the better openings. Good work down the right wing created the first, with Kev McDonald and Mark Vaudin creating an opportunity for Dan Inkley and Russ Crawford to create a two on one situation at the top of the Magpies circle. A pass from Inkley put Crawford in front of the goal but the umpire’s whistle resulted in a short corner instead of a shot on goal.

As the half wore on, Jamie Higginbotham had three good openings but was unable to get a clean shot on the Magpies goal, Rob Harlow was very close to converting a short corner, Neil Hudson hit a shot just the wrong side of the post and Richard Pallant went close. With McDonald and Inkley on the right wing and Jason Austin and Ollie Barfield storming up the left flank, and Mark Vaudin, Andrew Lilly and Pallant controlling the centre of the park, there was little Magpies could do but absorb the Gorleston attacks and defend with good control in their own circle.

When they did break out, Rob Harlow and keeper Barney King were imperious. The only downside to Gorleston’s first half was the loss of Hudson to a yellow card with five minute of the half left.

The second half continued where the first left off. With Hudson back on the pitch, Gorleston came back to full strength and almost immediately went a goal down. Despite two marvellous saves from captain King in the Gorleston goal, the ball was not cleared and a bobbling shot evaded the efforts of Pallant on the line to give Magpies the lead.

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Gorleston replied immediately and won a couple of short corners, but had to wait another 10 minutes to get back into the game. Ollie Barfield then received a pass on the edge of the Magpies circle and sent a hard shot in, missed by the Gorleston forwards, it took a deflection of a Magpies defender and into the goal for an equaliser.

With Gorleston using their rolling substitutes to good effect, the pace of the game began to tell on the Magpies team.

After several more goal attempts, Lilly picked out Crawford in the Magpies circle and a reverse stick shot went under the Magpies keeper’s dive to give Gorleston the lead.

Magpies then lost one of their players to an injury and as the clock ran down Magpies did not have the option of attacking the Gorleston defence in any numbers.

Squad: B King (c), K McDonald, R Harlow, J Austin, R Pallant, O Barfield, A Lilly, M Vaudin; D Inkley, J Higginbotham; R Crawford, N Hudson, A Saunders.