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Disappointment as Greens struggle to tame Dragons

PUBLISHED: 09:05 08 February 2013 | UPDATED: 09:05 08 February 2013

Wally Flaxman, 90, Gorleton's oldest supporter..

Wally Flaxman, 90, Gorleton's oldest supporter..

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Gorleston 1 Wivenhoe 1

Gorleston dropped to fifth after this disappointing draw with lowly Wivenhoe.

The Greens have yet to beat the Dragons in three attempts in the league after the clubs’ first meeting last January.

Several players were unavailable which contributed to four changes to the starting line-up that lost in the League Cup at Felixstowe.

Elliot Pride returned in goal and Jack Marsden replaced Andy Howell at centre back. Liam Harvey-Cooper came in for Jack Garrod and Keegan Middleton was given a start. The substitutes bench consisted of Reserves captain Elliot Hannant with Harley Peek and youngster Lee Roots.

Before the game Greens chairman Alan Gordon presented a club tie and bottle of champagne to Wally Flaxman of Burgh Castle to mark the occasion of his 90th birthday. Wally is probably the Greens’ oldest supporter and said he had been following the team since the days before they even moved to the Recreation Ground, writes DAVID HARDY.

Gorleston were on top for the opening half an hour but their first real threat on goal didn’t come until the 24th minute when Christy Finch had a shot from 10 yards charged down. The rebound fell nicely to Chris Sandford, but he put it wide, although the flag was up for offside.

It was Wivenhoe who came closest to scoring shortly after when Pride was forced into a flying save to keep out Lewis Blanchett’s free-kick. Pride was again in action from the resulting corner, saving a low effort.

Four minutes later Blanchett was back on his own goal-line to clear away another Finch effort.

Six minutes before the break Gorleston should have taken the lead. Good work on the left by Finch saw him whip the ball across goal to Harvey-Cooper in the six-yard box with an open goal in front of him but somehow he managed to place his shot wide when it would have been easier to score.

Four minutes later Gorleston did take the lead. After having two efforts blocked by some good defending, the ball fell to Sandford who blasted it into the goal.

Wivenhoe almost equalised with the last kick of the half when Reece Keating was allowed a run down the left and fired a shot towards the far upright which moved in the air and went a yard wide.

The Greens would have expected to go on from there in the second half and could have gone two up on 51 minutes. David Hinton wriggled clear on the right, drilling his cross in towards Sandford, but his diving header from six yards was well wide.

Ten minutes later some neat footwork from Finch saw him work space for himself but he shot wide.

Gorleston, though, were becoming tired. Most of the side had played the extra time at Felixstowe, their first game in over two weeks, and the heavy pitch was beginning to take its toll so the Dragons were able to push the Greens back.

Michael Schofield shot over Pride’s bar and Gorleston were struggling to pick their game up although, for the most part, they were defending well.

Sandford had a shot blocked at source after 79 minutes then, two minutes later, a Finch shot struck a divot in the turf and reared up in front of keeper Adam Wilding, but he held on.

With three minutes to go Wivenhoe got the equaliser they deserved. Gorleston got into a muddle at the back, didn’t get the ball clear and Serge Strickland pounced to thump the ball home.

A late Finch drive was straight at the keeper but, at the final whistle, Gorleston’s disappointment at two points dropped was evident. However, the draw extends the Greens’ unbeaten league run to ten games.

Gorleston: Pride, Williams, Hunn, Clarke, Marsden, Armes, Harvey-Cooper, Sandford, Finch, Hinton, Middleton (Roots 76)

Goal: Sandford 42

Wivenhoe Town: Wilding, Dadds, Blanchett (Ayson 78), Neale, Parkins, Brown, Schofield (Strickland 59), Keating (Dennis 71), Catchpole, Payne, Moore

Goal: Strickland 87 Attendance: 117

Tomorrow (Saturday) Gorleston travel to play CRC in Cambridge.

CRC, who are Cambridge United’s youth team, are currently third from bottom but have gained four points from the last six available.

Gorleston Reserves are at home to FC Clacton Reserves on Saturday. On Thursday, Gorleston U18s are at Kirkley & Pakefield.


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