Gorleston step up a gear to cruise past K&P

Kirkley & Pakefield 0 Gorleston 3

The largest Thurlow Nunn Premier League attendance (240) on Boxing Day witnessed Gorleston cruise to a comfortable victory at east coast neighbours Kirkley & Pakefield.

Not surprisingly manager Stewart Larter made just one change to the side that put 10 past FC Clacton, with Bradley Hough unavailable Aaron Jones came in to make his first start.

In a scrappy first half both sides were working off their Christmas pudding and chances were at a premium early on, writes DAVE HARDY. Headers from Andy Howell and Josh Armes were off target and neither keeper had a shot to save.

However, midway through the half the Greens took the lead. Zak Clarke played the ball in to Christy Finch, who showed close control under pressure from two defenders. He turned and shot, with the ball taking a slight deflection, into the corner of the net.

Gorleston settled and began to keep the ball better but couldn’t add to their tally with Finch dragging a shot wide, Liam Harvey-Cooper not able to direct a header goalwards and a pile-driver from Chris Sandford looking goalbound until itn struck a defender’s head.

Kirkley began the second half stronger but it was Gorleston who had the first effort at goal with Armes shooting over before they doubled their advantage just four minutes into the second period.

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Sandford ran from deep to latch on to a through ball. Finch was in an offside position, which the assistant referee initially flagged for but, with Finch raising his arms and making no attempt to go for the ball, the linesman lowered his flag allowing Sandford to slot the ball into the net.

After a brief consultation between referee Jonathan Block and his assistant, the goal was allowed to stand.

In the 56th minute Finch was involved in the third goal. This time he held the ball up on the edge of the box before turning it into the path of David Hinton who beat a defender and then tucked the ball into the goal.

Three minutes later Hinton almost added another when his deflected shot hit the bar.

A square ball from Sandford found Ally McKenna who cut in and shot just wide as Gorleston bossed the midfield.

Elliot Pride made just one save of note, from a long-range effort after 75 minutes before Finch worked Rob Hills in the opposite goal.

Substitute Keegan Middleton cut in from the right and fired in a left-foot effort which beat the keeper but rattled back off the bar.

Gorleston: Elliot Pride, Aaron Jones, Reece Hunn (Jack Marsden 79), Zac Clarke, Josh Armes, Andy Howell, Liam Harvey-Cooper (Liam Harvey-Cooper 79), Chris Sandford, Ally McKenna, Christy Finch, David Hinton (Jack Garrod 85)

Booking: Howell 45

Goals: Finch 23, Sandford 49, Hinton 56

Kirkley & Pakefield: Rob Hills, Tarren Grint, Scott Manning (Ross Catchpole 75), Craig Roberts, Jack Herbert, Kyle Baker, Max Kirby, Dominic Smith, Ryan Crisp (N Russell 67), Ross King, Scott Woodcock (Joe Bell 67)

Booking: Woodcock 63

Attendance: 240