Gorleston draw 1-1 with Hadleigh to pick up first point of season

Gorleston's Dino Tabakovic gets a tackle in during Saturday's 1-1 draw with Hadleigh Picture: DAVID

Gorleston's Dino Tabakovic gets a tackle in during Saturday's 1-1 draw with Hadleigh Picture: DAVID HARDY - Credit: Archant

Gorleston took an early lead but then needed to hold on at the end to secure their first point of the season.

Ricci Butler was missing, getting married and with assistant and brother Scott Butler his best man, Darren Cockrill and Paul Casey took charge for the day.

Also absent were Kyle Ingram, Elliott Hannant and the injured Ross Gilfedder while Dan Pinheiro and Dino Tabakovic dropped to the bench.

Sam Ellis, Mitch McKay and Connor Ingram returned. Alex Kounnas started his first game for two years and there was something of a surprise at centre half with the return of Richard Gillings, who hadn't featured for the first team since November 14, 2009.

Gorleston couldn't have got off to a better start. Skipper for the day Joel Watts fed Ingram who drove into the left side of the box and powered a drive past keeper Nick Punter with just 25 seconds on the clock.

Hadleigh had most of the play in the opening quarter and equalised in the 18th minute when a long ball picked out Kyle Ferguson in acres of space and he slotted home past the advancing Connor Milligan.

Seven minutes before the break Michael Barwick hit a thumping shot which rattled against the bar and then a flying save from Milligan kept out a Kyron Andrews header.

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After the break supporters were pleased to see Keegan Middleton back on the field for the first team and he spotted Watts with a through ball who couldn't quite connect.

A great Milligan save kept out a header from Kris Rose before Sanders forced an excellent reaction save from Punter. From the resultant corner Sam Ellis hit a thunderbolt which went a foot wide.

Two minutes later a driving Watts run saw him slide the ball into Ingram but his shot hit the side-netting. Then it was Milligan's turn to keep the scores level with a superb reflex save to deny Andrews.

The best piece of football in the game, in the 76th minute, between Ellis and Sanders on the right saw the ball played towards Watts. He dummied to Ingram behind him who threaded the ball back to Watts and he put the ball in the net only for celebrations to be cut short by the offside flag.

Hadleigh threw everything at Gorleston in the final few minutes. Milligan kept an effort out with his feet before the visitors seemed certain to score when Joel Glover once again found a gaping hole through the middle but Milligan raced from his line and kept him out with his feet and then pounced on the loose ball.

Hadleigh thought they deserved to win but Gorleston certainly didn't deserve to lose and a draw was probably a fair result.

Batemans man of the match: Connor Milligan.

Gorleston: Milligan, Ellis, Kounnas, Barnes (Middleton 46), Vincent, Gillings, Sanders (Tabakovic 79), McKay, Watts (capt), C Ingram, Brown.

Referee: Mark Ames. Attendance: 82.