Greens in line for a double success

GORLESTON could be celebrating a cup and league double this season.

With Cambridge University Press managing only a draw last week, the Greens now need four points to ensure a top-three finish in the Ridgeons First Division, although with their superior goal difference, three points should be enough, writes David Hardy.

On Saturday, third-placed Cambridge will play second-placed Diss. A win for Diss would be enough to give the Greens promotion, barring a goalscoring miracle in CUP’s final two games.

Gorleston’s next league game is on Tuesday when they entertain fourth-placed Whitton in what could be described as a title decider.

The Greens take a break from their promotion push this week to play in the First Division Knockout Cup final tonight (Friday) against Thetford. The match is being played at Diss with a 7.30pm kick-off.

Gorleston 4, Team Bury 0

Gorleston increased their lead at the top of Ridgeons First Division to five points.

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Although Elliot Pride may have been the busiest keeper early on, it was his Bury counterpart Craig Brand who had to make the first save when an excellent Richard Woodrow pass in the 17th minute put Mitch Forbes through on goal – but Brand was out to save well.

One minute later a through ball from Steve Taylor that put Forbes in on goal again. This time Forbes went round the keeper and slotted the ball into the net to open the scoring.

Gorleston had settled into the game with Aaron Huggins-Bowers, assisted by Woodrow, running the midfield, and the Greens were playing some nice passing football.

Woodrow had a shot saved midway through the half before a good move involving Ali McKenna, Forbes and Reece Hunn saw the latter drag a shot wide.

With half-an-hour gone Gorleston increased their lead in scrappy fashion.

From a corner, Forbes had a near-post header parried by Brand. Darren Cockrill couldn’t sort his feet out close in as defenders challenged and the ball sprung to McKenna, waiting near the back post. He planted it into the net.

The goal tally could have increased before the break. Brand had to push a deflected Taylor cross over the bar and then save well from a Chris Sandford free-kick. Woodrow also had another powerful shot go wide.

The second half began in similar fashion with the Greens on the front foot and keeping the ball well.

On the hour mark Gorleston were awarded a free-kick 35 yards from goal on the right. It was taken quickly to Taylor on the left wing and, as he drilled the ball into the box, it struck Elliot Hunter on the arm and the referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty.

Cockrill stepped up to take it but Brand threw himself full length to his left to save.

This seemed to knock the Greens out of their stride for a while although Forbes and Woodrow both had shots off target.

With 10 minutes left Woodrow threaded a ball between defenders for Sandford to run on to and he made no mistake, tucking the ball firmly past the keeper for his 16th goal of the season.

Four minutes later, Lewis Smith slotted a good pass into Forbes’ run and he chipped it over the advancing keeper into the goal. He has also now hit the net 16 times.

Team: Pride, Daniels, Hunn, Huggins-Bowers (Williams 75), Cockrill, Thompson, Sandford, Forbes (Kareche 84), McKenna (Smith 64), Taylor, Woodrow.

Gorleston Reserves have moved up to third in the Reserve League and tomorrow they have a derby against Gt Yarmouth Reserves, who are fourth, at the Wellesley.

Gorleston’s U18 completed their league programme last week with a 2-2 draw at Lowestoft. On Wednesday night they host either St Neots or Newmarket in the semi-finals of the Ridgeons Youth Cup.