Draw does no damage to Gorleston’s hopes

Fakenham Town 1, Gorleston 1

Gorleston got away with a disappointing result at Clipbush Park as other results went their way, writes David Hardy.

In a poor opening quarter of the game the only items of note were two tame efforts from Fakenham’s Ben Coe, a drive from Liam Bowley which went wide of Elliot Pride’s post and a harsh yellow card for the Ghosts’ Sam Garner.

On a soggy pitch, which was only just passed fit for play, Gorleston struggled to get their game together and Fakenham were looking the most likely to open the scoring.

The wet pitch caused the ball to slip past Eddie Thompson’s attempt to control, but Garner was unable to capitilise with Pride pushing his 34th minute shot round a post.

Two minutes later Coe skipped through two half-hearted Gorleston challenges but shot wide.

The Greens won their first corner of the game three minutes before the break, the ball eventually being crossed in, but Darren Cockrill was unable to direct his header goalwards.

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Gorleston opened the scoring nine minutes into the second half.

Steve Taylor did well on the left, squaring the ball to Cockrill, who helped it on to Mitch Forbes. He made no mistake, drilling the ball into the bottom corner for his 14th goal of the campaign.

Six minutes later a short backpass from Cockrill was picked up by Garner, who raced in on goal – but Pride stood up well to block. The ball rebounded to Bowley who attempted to fire first time into the goal, but the ball was deflected over.

The resultant corner caused panic in the Gorleston defence and again it was Garner with the chance. This time his effort beat Pride, but a defender was able to get back and clear just as the ball appeared to be about to cross the line.

Richard Woodrow fed an excellent ball through for Forbes to run on to, but keeper Tom Rix blocked his drive. Rix in action again soon after, saving a Woodrow shot.

Pride then miscued a clearance straight to Coe but he was able to scamper back and kick away Coe’s effort.

How the referee found over six minutes of added on time is a mystery, but Fakenham were pleased he did.

Five minutes in to the extra period, a ball was hoisted into the Greens’ area and allowed to bounce. Pride came to catch but a Fakenham player appeared to punch the ball from his grasp. It fell to Matthew Gilchrist to make sure it crossed the line and give Fakenham the point they deserved.

With two of the Greens’ three nearest rivals also drawing, Gorleston stayed top. Whether they will rue these two dropped points remains to be seen.

Only four points now separate the top four sides as the season enters the key period.

Team: Elliot Pride, Tom Daniels, Reece Hunn, Darren Cockrill (Gary Williams 76), Adam Thurtle, Eddie Thompson, Chris Sandford, Aaron Huggins-Bowers, Ali McKenna (Richard Woodrow 56), Steve Taylor, Mitch Forbes (Lewis Smith 80).