Gorleston score six of the best

Downham Town 1, Gorleston 6

Gorleston made light work of beating lowly Downham and, in doing so, moved up to third in the table, writes David Hardy.

Richard Woodrow, Ali McKenna and Bradley Hough were given starts with Aaron Huggins-Bowers and Danny Mitchell dropping to the bench and Reece Hunn unavailable.

The Greens dominated the game from the off.

In the fifth minute McKenna broke through with his effort eventually deflecting off a defender onto a post and two minutes later Hough was inches away from getting on the end of a through-ball.

In the 11th minute some showboating footwork from Hough saw him through on the keeper, Quentin Young, who saved with his legs. With Downham unable to clear properly Steve Taylor followed up to volley over.

Three minutes later the same two players combined to open the scoring, Taylor crossing from the right and Hough stooping to head home from close in.

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Shortly after, Hough was again bearing down on goal and looked like scoring but unselfishly squared the ball past the keeper to Gary Williams for a simple tap-in. But the linesman adjudged Williams offside.

Gorleston continued to push forward with McKenna shooting over after Darren Cockrill and Hough had combined and then Cockrill’s flick-header found Hough in the box. But he elected to take on the defender, who got a foot in.

More good passing between Williams, Woodrow and Hough again saw a defender get a tackle in at the death and then Downham keeper Young saved with his legs from McKenna.

For all the Greens’ dominance the score was still only 1-0, with Gorleston looking to walk the ball in at times.

There was always the chance that a Downham attack could lead to a goal. But Adam Thurtle was at his majestic best at the back.

Five minutes before the break the Greens gave themselves some breathing space with a great passing move.

Kyle Howell burst down the right, passing to Williams who helped the ball infield to Woodrow. Woodrow’s pass found Hough, who stretched out a leg to stab the ball into the goal.

On the stroke of half-time it was almost three when a terrific Williams run on the right bamboozled two defenders before he crossed. Hough’s header bounced up onto a post.

Two minutes after the restart it was three and again Woodrow showed his class, sliding a defence splitting-pass through for Williams. He had the awareness to pull the ball back to an unmarked McKenna who thumped it into the goal.

Downham scored what proved to be their consolation two minutes after that when Neil Goodbourn fell over Eddie Thompson’s heel in the penalty area and picked himself up to slot home the penalty himself, sending Elliot Pride the wrong way.

The Greens had become a little sloppy and allowed Matt Calvert to dribble past several defenders and set up Lee Farrell for a shot, but the effort didn’t trouble Pride.

Gorleston pulled themselves together and hit the net for the fourth time after 55 minutes when another excellent Woodrow through-ball left Taylor one-on-one with the keeper, and he coolly lifted the ball over Young into the goal.

McKenna had two chances to increase his tally but was thwarted by some brave goalkeeping and then some wayward shooting, before he was replaced by Mitch Forbes for his first appearance in a month following an injury lay-off.

Danny Mitchell then replaced Williams as Gorleston went three up front.

Within three minutes of Mitchell coming on he was celebrating a goal after Hough stretched to pull a ball back to him, leaving a simple finish. The goal meant he pulled level with Forbes at the top of the goalscoring charts.

Mitchell was then guilty of wayward shooting before he then got a flick onto a Forbes cross to help the ball into the goal but, for the second time in the match, a linesman’s flag ruled the goal offside.

Hough then missed another chance from six yards after another excellent Forbes cross.

As the game entered injury time DJ Kareche advanced before giving Taylor a chance to cross into the box to Forbes.

Forbes pulled the ball down with his right foot and, in one movement, smashed it into the goal with his left, for his 12th goal of the season to put himself back to the top of this season’s scoring statistics.

Team: Elliot Pride, Kyle Howell, Tom Daniels (DJ Kareche 60), Darren Cockrill, Adam Thurtle, Eddie Thompson, Gary Williams (Danny Mitchell 70), Bradley Hough, Ali McKenna (Mitch Forbes 68), Steve Taylor, Richard Woodrow.

Last Saturday Gorleston Reserves enjoyed an emphatic 11-2 win over bottom side Whitton Reserves, with Lewis Smith hitting six goals which were enough to earn himself a place on the bench for the first team’s game against Diss.

They will be looking to build on that this week when Stowmarket Reserves visit Emerald Park.

The Under-18s also tasted victory the week before last when they secured a hard-fought 4-3 win over Wroxham. On Wednesday they will entertain Norwich United in a league game.