Greens’ fine run ended

Gorleston travel to play Fakenham Town at Clipbush Park tomorrow, 3pm, aiming to strengthen their promotion chances.

Gorleston Reserves are at Emerald Park against Woodbridge Town Reserves.

Gorleston 3, Cambridge University Press 4

An excellent game ended in a disappointing result for Gorleston, as their long winning run came to an end in a topsy-turvy encounter that entertained Emerald Park’s biggest gate of the season and saw CUP leapfrog Gorleston to go back to the top of the Ridgeons First Division, writes David Hardy.

The pivotal moment in the game came in the 32nd minute.

Tom Daniels dribbled past two challenges before losing the ball. In frustration he kicked out and the referee deemed this to be a straight red card, Gorleston’s first of the season. Even Cambridge players said afterwards this was a harsh decision.

Prior to this the Greens had dominated the opening exchanges before going behind to two goals in two minutes.

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Richard Woodrow had a second-minute shot held by the keeper and then five minutes later a Daniels cross found Woodrow again on the edge of the box. This time his effort bounced off the top of the bar.

Darren Cockrill felt he should have had a penalty when he was pushed in the box as he rose for a header before he saw another header deflected onto the post.

From the resultant corner a thunderous Woodrow drive was cleared off the line.

Gorleston finally took the lead in the 16th minute when a through-ball sent Chris Sandford racing into the box and he chipped the ball over the keeper into the net.

However, the Greens perfect start was ruined just seven minutes later. After Elliot Pride had saved well with his legs, the ball fell to Lee Clift following up for a simple tap-in to equalise.

Worse was to follow as, two minutes later, a rare misunderstanding between Eddie Thompson and Pride allowed Clift to nip in and slot the ball home to give CUP the lead.

Pride had to be alert to save from Ross Paterson to keep his side in the game before the 10-man Greens equalised in first-half stoppage time.

A Cockrill header was saved by Joe Egan but the ball fell nicely to Sandford who shot home his sixth goal in the last three games.

The second half continued with both sides playing good football.

Clift had an effort cleared off the line by Adam Thurtle after an excellent run down Gorleston’s right before CUP regained the lead, again from the Greens stretched right flank, in the 62nd minute.

There was nothing anybody could do though about the excellent Antony Blandford 25-yard shot that rose over Pride and then dipped below the bar.

Pride was hurt in his attempts to save, which hindered his kicking. Pride kept his side in the game with a reflex save from Blandford at close range after 72 minutes.

Gorleston kept going forward but all too often the final ball just lacked enough quality, but both sides were attacking well and creating chances.

Blandford and Clift went close for Cambridge whilst Cockrill and Bradley Hough both drilled shots wide for the Greens.

With Gorleston pushing on, their stretched defence was exposed again six minutes from time, allowing substitute Yacine Rerizani to fire in No 4 with virtually his first touch.

Five minutes later Cockrill headed in Gorleston’s third, but there was not enough time left for the Greens to grab a share of the points.

Team: Pride, Daniels, Hunn, Huggins-Bowers (Bradley Hough 73), Thurtle, Thompson (Blowers 83), Sandford, Cockrill, McKenna, Taylor, Woodrow.

With Whitton and Diss both winning away from home on Saturday, just three points separated the top four teams in the division. All eyes then turned towards Whitton for Tuesday night’s match where CUP were the visitors. The game ended 2-2 meaning that the Greens 3-0 win on Wednesday night at Ipswich Wanderers, saw them return to the top of the table.

Six of Whitton’s remaining nine games are at home, and they still have a game at Gorleston to come. The Greens have just three home games remaining, including the Whitton match, and the return with CUP is on April 16.

For the second week running Gorleston Reserves had a 4-1 victory on Saturday. Goals from Atkins, Henwood, Herbert and King saw them beat Diss Reserves. The Reserves have now won five in a row, hitting the net 29 times, and are the second-highest scorers in the league. They are currently fifth.