Gorleston go down battling despite injury blows

Dereham II 4 Gorleston 2

Gorleston could only field a bare 11 hockey players and with forward Neil Hudson fracturing his leg at Harleston last week, were relying on the injured Andrew Lilly to take up the attack. They were thankful to Herman Cheung for travelling a great distance to play.

The opening exchanges of the game were very even, with both sides happy to ship the ball around the full extent of the pitch, but Gorleston were caught out a number of times by the uneven bounce of the Dereham pitch. The visitors went a goal behind because of this, when a misjudged bounce left a Gorleston defender stranded and the youthful Dereham attack took full advantage, sweeping into the circle and exchanging passes that left captain Barney King with no chance in the Gorleston goal.

Soon, the home side profited again to double their lead. This time a rapid attack was initially saved by Gorleston’s keeper, but the defence were unable to clear their lines and the ball was pushed to the back post for a simple tap-in.

Gorleston were still having a fair share of the ball and the central midfield pairing of Jamie Higginbotham and Richard Pallant worked hard to win the ball and launch a series of attacks, resulting in a number of short corners for Gorleston. However, the visitors were unable to get a clean shot on goal away and when Rob Harlow did have the ball in the goal, the rising shot was too high for the backboard.

Gorleston then paid the price again when Dereham won a short corner close to the end of the first half and the Dereham routine showed how it should be done, with a hard, clinical finish into the bottom corner of the Gorleston goal.

Despite being 3-0 down, Gorleston never gave up and they were rewarded early in the second half.

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A quickly-taken long corner by Kevin MacDonald found Russ Crawford who dribbled close to the by-line before sending a pass across the Dereham goal for Simon Long to meet.

Long’s initial shot was saved by the keeper, and then a second by a defender before Long poked the ball home from close range.

Gorleston were back in the game and soon another goal followed. A disguised short corner routine seemed to go all wrong, but the ball bounced to Andrew Lilly and Lilly deflected the ball back into the bottom corner of the Dereham goal to being the score back to 3-2.

Despite a few anxious minutes, the day was still to be Dereham’s though.

They restored their two-goal advantage late in the game.

After a great run from halfway, a Dereham player showed enormous strength and determination to breach the Gorleston defence and smashed an unstoppable shot through the pads of Gorleston’s keeper to seal their win.

Gorleston’s MoM: Jason Austin for his distribution of the ball in the Gorleston defence.

Team: B King (C), R Harlow, H Cheung, J Austin, K MacDonald, M Vaudin, R Pallant, J Higginbotham, R Crawford, S Long, A Lilly.