Greens aiming higher
Gorleston travel to Halstead tomorrow for a Ridgeons League Division One game, writes David Hardy.
The Greens are currently sixth in the league, 12 points behind the leaders but with four games in hand. Victory tomorrow will see them leapfrog Whitton, who are without a game.
Leading the Gorleston team out for the game against Long Melford at the weekend, just as his dad has many times, was Dylan Thompson.
Dylan is the son of Greens’ captain Eddie and, despite his young age, already considers himself a Gorleston player.
He was very proud to be the mascot for Saturday’s game and looks a promising player, already displaying plenty of dad’s attributes.
He also isn’t frightened to make a tackle, as anybody who has had a kick-about with him on the warm-up pitch can testify!
Gorleston 3, Long Melford 1
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GORLESTON had to make a last-minute change to their line-up with Darren Cockrill coming in to replace Aaron Huggins-Bowers who was injured during the warm-up. Chris Sandford returned to the side and Kyle Howell started in place of Peter Lambert and Sean Blowers respectively.
Both teams had early pressure from corners and free-kicks but Melford had the best openings of the first quarter-an-hour with both Jamie Williams and Dan Grindrod off target.
However, the Greens took the lead midway through the half with a brilliant piece of individual skill from Bradley Hough, who turned and twisted past three defenders before planting the ball firmly in the net.
Melford responded well and Elliot Pride had to be at his best to smother an Adam Flack chance after he had arrived unnoticed in the box.
Hough had the ball in the net again but was rightly flagged offside before Gorleston increased their lead.
Cockrill won the ball in midfield and released Reece Hunn on the left. Hunn played in Sandford, who slid the ball calmly under the goalkeeper and into the goal.
Again Long Melford rallied and again Pride had to deny Flack before the half-time whistle.
Melford began the second half fired up and, from a corner two minutes after the restart, Ashley Skeggs thumped in a header to get his team back in the match.
Possibly, the result was decided in the 51st minute. Williams, who had been booked in the first half for an innocuous tangle with Tom Daniels, was given offside but carried on and kicked the ball into the goal just a fraction of a second after the whistle had blown. Sticking to the letter of the law, the referee brandished a second yellow card to send him off.
Sandford and Daniels both had chances, but the sending-off had galvanised Melford who were playing well with only ten men, and had switched to a back three.
With a little more luck they could have equalised in the 70th minute when a Pride clearance was charged down, the ball ricocheting off the back of the attacker and inches wide.
Steve Taylor then saw his clever chip bounce back off thebar before Sandford made the keeper save with his legs.
Five minutes from time Gorleston’s Daniels headed a Taylor corner into the bottom corner to ensure the three points for his team.
Gorleston: Elliot Pride, Kyle Howell, Tom Daniels, Darren Cockrill, Adam Thurtle (Jack Herbert 88), Eddie Thompson, Chris Sandford, DJ Kareche (Gary Williams 55), Bradley Hough (Jack Garrod 78), Steve Taylor, Reece Hunn.
On Tuesday night Gorleston Reserves played their first game for a month against a strong Norwich United Reserves.
New signing from Thetford, Danny Tanti, made his first appearance in a Greens’ shirt but, despite being goalless at half-time, Gorleston were beaten 3-1, Dane Whiteley scoring the Gorleston goal.
Tomorrow the Reserves are at home to Great Yarmouth Reserves (kick-off 3pm).
The U18s, who only played one game throughout December, have already had two matches this year.
In the Ridgeons Youth Cup the beat Norwich United 2-0. They will be at home to Debenham in the third round in March.
This week they were soundly beaten in a return to league action, going down 4-1 at Dereham.
On Monday they travel to play Bungay for the Eastern Cup and on Wednesday night they will be at home to Harford Tornadoes.