Gorleston face FA Cup test

Gorleston take a break from league action tomorrow when they entertain Harlow Town in the FA Cup Preliminary Round. Harlow play in the Ryman League Division One North, a level higher than Gorleston, and are currently tenth having lost one of their opening four league games. Gorleston Reserves travel to play Thetford Reserves following their opening day win last week when they beat Stowmarket Res 4-1. On Thursday the U18s travel to play their counterparts from Cromer.

Gorleston 1, Ely City 2

A COMBINATION of poor defending and failing to take chances cost Gorleston their unbeaten record in this game.

Chris Sandford, Gary Williams and Scott Woodgate were dropped to the bench from the team that won the midweek FA Cup replay against Woodbridge, with Reece Hunn, Ali McKenna and Bradley Hough making the starting line-up, writes DAVE HARDY.

Ely had the first effort on goal after eight minutes when Josh Bridgeman hit an effort well wide. Four minutes later an Olly King cross was nodded back across goal by Bradley Hough to Ali McKenna. McKenna missed his kick but the ball fell to Steve Taylor who had two attempts on goal of which the first was blocked then the second was foiled by Robin’s keeper Lee Pacey. After 15 minutes it was Greens skipper Eddie Thompson who came close to scoring when, following a corner, the ball landed at his feet eight yards out but his shot smacked against the underside of the bar and bounced clear.

Ely had a good opportunity after 28 minutes when a ball inside the full back set Taz Chisonga away down the right wing. He squared it across the face of the goal but no Ely player was close enough for a simple tap in.

Three minutes later Gorleston came close when they passed their way through Ely but couldn’t force the ball in the net, King eventually scooping it over the bar.

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Six minutes before the break, McKenna found himself in on goal but the ball just seemed to stick under his feet enabling keeper Pacey and defender Chris Stereki to get back and clear the danger between them.

Then it was Chisonga again on the right whose attempt at a cross turned into Ely’s closest attempt on goal when it was misjudged by Elliot Pride but bounced back off the inside of the goalpost.

The Greens broke from that with King on the wing. His cross from the right was palmed away by Pacey inches from Hough’s head.

Hough had the first chance of the second half when the ball fell to him following a Hunn run but he chose to sidefoot rather than blast it and the chance was cleared.

Gorleston were increasing the pressure with Thompson going close again and then Steve Taylor following up a Hunn free kick but Ely were standing firm, until the hour mark.

A ball was threaded between defenders for McKenna to run onto and he kept his cool to beat the keeper and make it 1-0. Ely responded well and began to assert some pressure themselves. Pride got away with a fumble and then Robin’s sub Austin Diaper flashed a volley wide of the far post.

The equaliser came after 73 minutes from a corner when Adam Murray was not picked up and headed home.

Ely could have gone ahead a minute later when the ball was not headed away properly from a corner, bounced around inside the Gorleston box and could have gone anywhere before the danger was eventually cleared.

With eleven minutes remaining it was the Greens who almost regained the lead when McKenna controlled and turned on the edge of the box. His shot went over the keeper but didn’t dip in time, smacking against the crossbar.

Two minutes into injury time came the sucker punch when Gorleston failed to deal with another high corner into the box. A cluster of Ely players were waiting at the far post with Dave Wilson meeting the ball first to head in the winner.

Team: Elliot Pride, Tarren Grint, Reece Hunn (Liam Harvey-Cooper 78), Andrew Howell, Adam Thurtle, Eddie Thompson, Bradley Hough (Christy Finch 58), John Bell, Ali McKenna, Steve Taylor, Olly King (Chris Sandford 65)

Gorleston 2 Kirkley & Pakefield 1

GORLESTON manager Richard Daniels tweaked his squad again following the last gasp defeat against Ely, making five changes to the starting line-up, whilst Kirkley were hoping to gain revenge for the defeat they suffered at the hands of the Greens two weeks earlier.

Gorleston opened the scoring after just eight minutes. A long throw from Kyle Howell landed on the head of Steve Taylor unmarked in the middle of the Royal’s box and he directed it into the net.

Persistence from Scott Woodgate gave Ali McKenna a chance ten minutes later but he was snuffed out and then a Reece Hunn run and cross found Woodgate’s head but keeper David Attridge dived to his left to pluck the ball out of the air.

There was nothing Attridge could do in the 33rd minute, however, to prevent the Greens extending their lead.

Woodgate ran on to a terrific through ball from Liam Harvey-Cooper and flicked the ball over the stranded keeper into the goal.

Eddie Thompson went close on the stroke of half time when he diverted an in-swinging Gary Williams free kick goalwards but Attridge clung on to the ball.

The Greens would have been pleased to go in at half time having mainly restricted Kirkley to three long range efforts from Zac Clark, all of which were off target.

Gorleston started the second half in confidant mood.

McKenna pulled the ball back to Woodgate whose shot beat the keeper but not the covering defender on the line. Harvey-Cooper then had an eighteen yard effort go wide.

Gorleston were knocking the ball around well at this stage but a lengthy hold up whilst Kyle Baker received treatment seemed to make the Greens take their foot off the pedal and Kirkley began to get on top.

Despite the Royals now being dominant they were struggling to break through the Gorleston defences and threaten Elliot Pride in goal.

As they pressed they were leaving space at the back which Gorleston began to exploit although all too often they were let down by the final ball or overplaying.

A William’s corner was inches over Bradley Hough’s head at the near post and then dipped under Thompson’s leap at the far post and then William’s did well to keep the ball in along the left flank before crossing to Hough. Hough laid it back to McKenna but his shot was saved. Frustration began to show for Kirkley with another long range effort from Clark going over.

Just as it looked like Gorleston may keep a clean sheet for the first time this season Bodie Carter wriggled through the Green’s back line to slide the ball under Pride into the net to set up a nervy end to the game.

Deep into time added on Thurtle blocked as the ball went goalwards with Pride beaten and then a scramble in the box was cleared.

Team: Elliot Pride, Kyle Howell, Reece Hunn, Gary Williams, Adam Thurtle, Eddie Thompson, Chris Sandford, Scott Woodgate (Bradley Hough 68), Ali McKenna, Steve Taylor (Andy Howell 87), Liam Harvey-Cooper (Tarren Grint 81).