Finch spares Greens’ blushes in east coast derby

Great Yarmouth Town 2 Gorleston 2

A dramatic stoppage-time equaliser from Gorleston’s talismanic goal ace Christy Finch prevented rock-bottom Great Yarmouth from getting their first Ridgeons Premier Division win in over three months.

Second-half goals from Leighton Crux and goalkeeper Jack Whatmough’s own goal either side of Chris Sandford’s tap-in gave Yarmouth the lead, but substitute Finch smashed home the goal that levelled a keenly-contested game watched by 342 people – the league’s biggest crowd of of the day on Monday.

The Greens made four changes from the side which lost 4-0 at home to Felixstowe. Jack Whatmough replaced Elliot Pride in goal, Tom Daniels came in at right back with Kyle Howell dropping to the bench. Adam Mills replacing long-serving captain Eddie Thompson who had announced he was retiring, meaning Andy Howell dropped into the back four. There was a debut for new signing Danny Tredray in place of Liam Harvey-Cooper.

As with previous derby matches this one started at a fast frantic pace, with the first chance falling to Tredray after four minutes, but his weak effort was easily caught by goalkeeper Ben Cudden, making his Yarmouth debut after signing from Hempnall.

The away side were able to hold on to possession easier and, despite a five-minute flurry midway through the half when Mark Allen’s shot was deflected over the Gorleston goal, controlled the opening 45 minutes.

Gorleston thought they had made their dominance count when Steve Taylor headed a free kick into the net on the half-hour mark but the celebrations were cut short by the linesman’s flag.

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Midfielder Jamie Godbold, in his last game of a three-month loan stint from Lowestoft, had two shots on goal within as many minutes as Yarmouth struggled to contain their opponents, but both shots flew over the crossbar.

But the best chance for the away team was yet to come. On 37 minutes Ally McKenna diverted Taylor’s cross to Tredray who missed his header in front of the goalmouth from within the six-yard box.

Five minutes later Sandford was denied by last-ditch defending by the home side with successive shots blocked off the line and saved by the goalkeeper before Yarmouth were able to clear.

Gorleston started the second half as they finished the first.

On 50 minutes a corner was cleared to Taylor who blasted his volley over the crossbar.

Five minutes later after good work on the left Crux burst through Gorleston’s defence, forcing a good save from the Whatmough.

On the hour mark Crux gave Yarmouth the lead when after good work on the right side he again burst through the visitors’ defence, sliding the ball under the keeper and into the net.

Greens’ leading scorer Finch, brought on to replace Tredray, was quickly involved, seeing an effort from a free kick saved, with the rebound cleared off the line.

But it was the substitute that provided the ball for Sandford to tap in Gorleston’s equaliser with less than 15 minutes remaining.

A minute later Godbold had the ball in the net again but celebrations were cut short as the linesman adjudged he was offside.

Yarmouth looked to have won the game with four minutes remaining when a low, curling 20-yard free kick taken by Neil Hurren, given after Reece Hunn was deemed to have deliberately handled the ball, struck the bottom of the post, only to rebound off the back of unfortunate goalkeeper Whatmough and over the line. But substitute Finch had the last word, as he has had on many previous occasions this term.

When a stoppage time corner was flicked on to him at the far post he gleefully blasted the ball into the net.

Statistics show that, as well as the two goals, Gorleston had 13 shots compared to Yarmouth’s three, but the Greens must start to take those chances if they want to get back to winning ways after three draws and a defeat in their last four games.

The Greens will be hoping for a repeat of last season where they did not win any of their last four games of 2010 but then went on a run of 14 wins on the trot at the beginning of 2011.

Yarmouth, who had lost six league games in a row after taking their last league point in a 1-1 draw with Diss, will be hoping it is the harbinger of better things to come.

Yarmouth: Ben Cudden, Nathan Kemp, Regan Harman, Olly McCarthy (Phillip Watkins 90), Sam Giacomelli, Sim Lee (Bernardo Junior 68), Mark Allen (Vida Formosa 81), George Barnden, Neil Hurren, Leighton Crux, Fernando Vide. Unused Subs: Platten, Jobbagy.

Goals: Crux 61, og 85

Bookings: Lee 34, Barnden 74, Junior 90

Gorleston: Jack Whatmough, Tom Daniels, Reece Hunn, Andy Howell, Adam Thurtle, Adam Mills, Chris Sandford, Jamie Godbold, Ally McKenna, Steve Taylor (Gary Williams 85), Danny Tredray (Christy Finch 58). Unused Subs: K Howell, O Thompson, Garrod.

Goals: Sandford 78, Finch 90 (+2).

Bookings: Daniels 61, Sandford 77, Hunn 81

Attendance: 342.