Greens can end as champions

TOMORROW Gorleston make the long trip to Long Melford knowing their title hopes are in their own hands.

After securing promotion last week, and Whitton’s draw at Saffron Walden on Tuesday night, the Greens now need seven points from their three remaining games to be crowned champions, writes David Hardy.

On Monday, the Greens have their final away day of the season with a game at Diss, kick-off 3pm. Depending on those results they could clinch the title against Saffron Walden at Emerald Park next Saturday.

Gorleston have hit the net 96 times this season so will also be looking to hit a century of goals during those three games.

Diss Town will join Gorleston in promotion if they beat Godmanchester Rovers tomorrow.

Cambridge University Press 0, Gorleston 1

This win for Gorleston ensured the Greens return to the Premier Division after a six year absence.

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Seeking revenge for a 4-3 defeat at Emerald Park a month earlier, Gorleston began well and an early Gary Williams cross was just inches too high for Chris Sandford’s head.

But it was Elliot Pride who was the first goalkeeper called on to make a save when Lee Clift was allowed to cut into the box from the left and fire a shot goalwards. Pride flung himself to his right to turn the ball away.

Both sides had spells of possession with neither able to gain the upper hand.

Reece Hunn and Williams were giving CUP right-back Derek Warecha plenty to think about whilst Clift, one of the league’s top scorers this season, was receiving little change from Adam Thurtle and Eddie Thompson.

Cambridge again went close from a disputed throw-in and then Clift set up Ali Hakimi shortly before the break, but his shot drifted narrowly wide.

Gorleston would have been disappointed at not working the Press goalkeeper Joe Egan more, but there was little goalmouth action to speak of for either team, with both sides managing to cancel each other out and neither passing the ball as well as they would have wished.

The Greens began the second half causing more of a threat. An early free-kick went wide and then they had their first real passage of passing, but no end product arrived.

Eight minutes into the half came the first big chance when Richard Woodrow chased a ball forward and lifted it over the advancing keeper. The ball dropped, but not enough, and bounced off the top of the bar.

Two minutes later a good advantage by the referee after a foul on Hunn produced a chance for Williams, but his effort didn’t bend enough and went wide.

Gorleston began to grow in confidence and dominate the game.

Sandford whipped in an excellent cross from the by-line which nobody attacked, and then Cockrill rose to a corner but couldn’t direct his header on target.

Midway through the half CUP created a half-chance when the ball fell to Michael Lambert, but he took too long and the Greens’ defence were able to snuff him out.

Gorleston went up the other end and Sandford’s low shot was turned onto a post by keeper Egan low to his right.

The Greens kept plugging away but couldn’t find the final ball.

Ali McKenna had an effort blocked following a quick free-kick and then Steve Taylor drilled a ball across goal – but nobody was there to apply a touch.

Woodrow had another chance after he judged a bounce better than a defender but he rather scuffed his shot.

With six minutes left Cockrill slid a ball out to Taylor on the right flank. His cross was flapped at by the keeper and the ball fell perfectly for Williams, six yards out in the middle of the goal, to volley home.

Cue joyous scenes from the Gorleston bench, and manager Richard Daniels showing a good turn of pace with a David Pleat-like run onto the pitch.

The Greens can now relax, having achieved this season’s aim of promotion. The league title will be a bonus if they manage a victory in each of their last three games.

Team: Pride, Kareche, Hunn, Woodrow, Thurtle, Thompson, Sandford, Cockrill, McKenna (Forbes 88), Taylor, Williams.