Greens fuming as skipper sees red
Ely City 4 Gorleston 2
With Ely unbeaten at home this was never going to be an easy game but Gorleston will be kicking themselves for throwing away a great chance of victory.
The Greens showed five changes from the side that had lost to Hadleigh. Jack Whatmough replaced Elliot Pride in goal and Adam Thurtle returned to the back four with Andy Howell dropping to the bench. With Christy Finch injured and Mitch Forbes relegated to the bench, Ali McKenna started up front as a lone striker, Aaron Huggins-Bowers came in to central midfield whilst Liam Harvey-Cooper was preferred to Gary Williams.
It was somewhat against the run of play when Gorleston took the lead after 20 minutes, writes DAVID HARDY.
The ball was worked to the left to Reece Hunn who slid it through for Sandford. Sandford pulled the ball back from the byline to where Jamie Godbold was lurking near the edge of the box and he made no mistake.
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Shortly after Harvey-Cooper was forced off with a dead-leg, replaced by Scott Woodgate, and there was a warning of events to come, as a handball was awarded against Huggins-Bowers after the ball was drilled at him from a yard away, when he had no chance of getting out of the way.
The Greens gave themselves a cushion after 37 minutes. Hunn cut in from the left and slotted a neat ball through to Sandford who drilled it low into the net to make it 2-0.
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Two goals in a minute turned the game on its head.
After 41 minutes a deep free kick from the right saw a cluster of players at the back post, one of whom was Ely’s Luke Parkinson, who headed in.
With the Greens still recovering, Parkinson was sent away down the left, outpacing Kyle Howell, and drilled the equaliser past Whatmough, giving the young keeper no chance.
Gorleston applied some pressure themselves before half time with McKenna trying to force a way through and the Greens had huge shouts for a penalty when the ball struck an Ely defender’s arm but nothing was given.
A frantic start to the second half saw Ely miss two chances to take the lead. A dipping Parkinson effort was inches over the bar and then, from the centre of the goal with only Whatmough to beat, Richard Chadwick put the ball well wide.
The Gorleston defence then had to clear another deep corner off their line before a Kyle Howell cross was chested down by Darren Cockrill into the path of Sandford but the ball sat up and he couldn’t direct it towards the goal.
Woodgate found himself in the referee’s notebook for dissent after he had a defender’s elbow lodged under his chin.
Gorleston were playing better football but were vulnerable from set pieces and, on the hour, Ely took the lead. A low corner played in to the near post appeared to fly off a Gorleston boot and into the goal.
With 78 minutes gone the game was sealed for Ely. A shot was drilled in and struck Andy Howell on the arm, less than two yards away. Unlike in the first half when the same thing happened in the Ely box, the referee pointed straight to the spot where Josh Bridgeman converted.
Frustration began to show in the Greens camp as they began to lose discipline and yellow cards were waved like sparklers. Gorleston netted from a Godbold corner, but the linesman flagged to say the ball had curled out of play on its way across and then Cockrill appeared to be dragged down in the penalty area but, again, the referee waved away Gorleston claims, deeming he was backing in. The sense of injustice became too much for Gorleston skipper Eddie Thompson who, with three minutes to go, said one word too many to Mr Wilson. Having been booked earlier in the half, a second yellow was produced with the red card following. In 10 years playing at this level, and approaching 350 Gorleston appearances, this was the first time Thompson has been sent off. “With six yellows and a red it looks bad on the club and the players but no, that’s wrong, manager Richard Daniels later stated. “My players will always get my backing, but five of those cards dished out were purely out of frustration, reason being inept refereeing. Yes we can call it ill-discipline, and I’m sure many will agree with that statement, but I won’t.”
Gorleston: Jack Whatmough, Kyle Howell, Reece Hunn, Darren Cockrill, Adam Thurtle, Eddie Thompson, Chris Sandford (Mitch Forbes 74), Aaron Huggins-Bowers (Andy Howell 64), Ali McKenna, Jamie Godbold, Liam Harvey-Cooper (Scott Woodgate 29)
Goals: Godbold 20, Sandford 37
Bookings: Cockrill 29, Sandford 41, Huggins-Bowers 44, Woodgate 58, Thompson 63 87, Hunn 78, McKenna 83
Sent off: Thompson 87.
Ely: Lee Pacey, Kenny Smith, Sam Parkinson, Adam Murray, Ben Lawrence, James Wallis (David Wilson 67), Stuart Walker, Josh Bridgeman, Richard Chadwick (Austin Diaper 90), Nick Impey, Luke Parkinson (Chris Sterecki 87)
Goals: L Parkinson 41 42, OG 60, Bridgeman 78. Bookings: Lawrence 55