Gorleston looking anxiously over their shoulders
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Gorleston 1 Thetford 3
After the excellent point against high-flyers Felixstowe, Gorleston were soon felled by the men from the forest.
There were six changes from that side that had played well at Stowe.
Out went goalkeeper Molloy, Matty Brown who was ill with a virus, and Damon Wise, Conna Harris, Ashley King and Connor Ingram who had to be content with seat on the bench.
George Macrae was recalled in goal, Harley Clements came back as captain, Peter Lambert returned from holiday, Joel Watts started and Dan Goodrum and Jason Thompson returned.
Before the game there was a minutes’ silence in memory of Derek Cook and Tony Scales who had both recently passed away.
Thetford started at a keen tempo and opened the scoring after seven minutes through Joe Allen.
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Gorleston’s winter of discontent continued four minutes later when Ryan Pearson was wide towards the right corner of the box. The ex-Green spotted MacRae six yards off his line, and he hit a speculative effort over the keeper into the net.
It was three after 34 minutes. Shaun Hunsdon had blazed a shot high over the stand before Allen scored again to put Thetford in complete control of the game.
Three minutes later it looked like Allen had scored his hat-trick. MacRae dived to his left to save and seemed to have the ball in his hands. Allen prodded with his toe, the ball ran loose and Allen converted but the referee ruled that MacRae had the ball in his hands so Gorleston were given the free-kick.
Thetford had shown far more desire and fight in the first half and had a determination that the points would be theirs.
MacRae’s miserable evening was curtailed early when he was replaced at half-time by youth team player George Parkin and Cain Eagleton made way for Connor Ingram as manager Ricci Butler went for a front two.
The Greens came out looking sharper and more positive in the second half and there was definitely an improvement.
However, it seemed that whatever Gorleston tried to do, it just would not come off, and the final ball into the box was lacking the quality needed.
By then Thetford were in something of an 8-1-1 formation.
Mitch McKay curled an effort past the far post and Thetford bodies got in the way of other efforts before Keegan Middleton managed to reduce the deficit after 70 minutes with a trademark free-kick from 25 yards out.
That goal signalled much ado about nothing in the goalmouth as the Thetford keeper, who had been nothing more than a spectator for much of the game, prevented the Greens from retrieving the ball, causing a minor melee and earning himself a yellow card.
But it probably worked for him as it took longer to sort out that little controversy than the referee added on for the stoppage.
The keeper then produced a good double save to deny Kyle Ingram first then a Lambert follow up and he then held a McKay effort which bounced low through a crowd of bodies in the area.
There was obvious disappointment in Butler’s face after the final whistle and now there is some very real studying of the bottom of the table going on, with Gorleston hoping for a few more points so that all ends well when the season is over.
It is hard to pinpoint why things have gone wrong during the sorry winter’s tale.
Perhaps not keeping a settled side, and definitely the inexperience and lack of goals have played their part in recent defeats.
The Greens are young so will be inconsistent but there is also considerable skill in those Green shirts so, hopefully, they will stick together and battle their way to more much-needed points as the season builds to a climax.
Felixstowe 0 Gorleston 0
Gorleston travelled to Felixstowe on the back of a six-game losing streak and against high-flyers Felixstowe it didn’t look as if their disappointing would change for the better.
Ashley King and Connor Ingram started up front with Molloy in goal and Keegan Middleton took the captain’s armband with Clements unavailable.
The Seasiders started brightly and had a shot go just over the bar in the second minute closely followed by another which went wide.
Gorleston’s first chance fell to Ingram from a Middleton ball but he struggled to get the ball from under his feet.
Felixstowe had a good spell which produced three excellent shots, although none of them troubled Molloy.
Connor Ingram shot wide from a mistake from the home goalkeeper and shortly after, his determination to chase a lost cause led a defender and goalkeeper into another mistake to win a corner.
Both teams had opportunities to open the scoring in the remaining first-half minutes with Molloy making an excellent save from Matthews who looked well offside.
The second half began well for the hosts who controlled possession for long periods but Brown and Harris defended well and Molloy responded well when called upon.
Two Middleton free-kicks in quick succession came to nothing for the visitors and King brought out an excellent save from Holland and from the resulting corner King’s header was saved well.
The Felixstowe sniper took out a couple of Gorleston players with McKay and Kyle Ingram falling to the ground much to the annoyance of the home supporters on the dugout side of the ground.
They seemed to believe that Felixstowe won every tackle, header and challenge fair and square.
Middleton’s corner was tipped over the bar by the keeper and Molloy saved easily again from Powell.
That just spurred on the Greens and stout defending and some poor finishing from Powell saw the Greens hold on for a very deserved draw.
Man of the match was Liam Brown
The game was at times very hard to watch but the banter with the opponents was top drawer and handshakes all round at the final whistle made it a satisfactory afternoon.
Team: Molloy, Wise, M Brown, Brown, McKay, Harris, Eagleton, K Ingram, C Ingram, King, Middleton. Subs: Watts, Farrow Blance, Macrae, Stanton.