Greens looking top-flight certs
Swaffham Town 0, Gorleston 4
Gorleston bounced back from Saturday’s disappointing draw to give themselves some breathing space at the top of the table Tuesday night, writes David Hardy.
The Greens could have taken the lead with their first attack when a long ball sent Mitch Forbes through, but his attempted lob was always going over.
Swaffham could have opened the scoring in the eighth minute after Elliot Pride parried a Joe Jackson effort. The ball fell to Craig Burton but he fired the follow-up over.
Gorleston were struggling to find team-mates with their passes and were being hurried when on the ball, resulting in a few too many hopeful punts forward.
The Pedlars were on top at this stage and again Pride had to be at his best, stretching full-length to fingertip a Burton shot wide after skipper Eddie Thompson had trod on the ball, inadvertently setting Burton free.
It was the Greens, however, who opened the scoring in the 29th minute after finally asserting some pressure on the home goal.
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Forbes laid the ball off to Chris Sandford, and with the Swaffham defenders appealing for offside, Sandford crossed to the far post where Ali McKenna came sliding in to put the ball in the net.
Gorleston began the second half similar to the first with Forbes put through on goal, this time from a McKenna knock-down. But again Forbes misfired, pulling his shot wide.
Ten minutes into the half the Greens extended their lead. Forbes played a ball wide to Sandford by the right corner flag. He did superbly to hook a cross towards the edge of the box where Richard Woodrow was waiting to thump an excellent volley into the goal, his first for the club.
The Greens were now knocking the ball around well and keeping their shape better. Darren Cockrill and Thomas Daniels both slid some excellent passes through the defence which produced chances.
But Swaffham were still battling in midfield and a sloppy piece of play almost let Burton in. But Pride was quick off his line to clear the danger.
Pride had little else to do, apart from save a tame effort late on, as his back four again showed how difficult they are to break down.
Bradley Hough replaced Mitch Forbes and both he and Reece Hunn were taking on defenders at will.
And it was a mazy Hough dribble in the 89th minute which resulted in him being tripped in the box. Woodrow stepped up to take the penalty, sending the keeper the wrong way, and secured the three points.
Sandford put the gloss on the result two minutes into stoppage time when he chased down a defender to block a clearance following another Hough run. Sandford had the presence of mind to beat the defender and slot the ball into the corner of the goal past the advancing Dean Mayes.
Another three points in the bag opened up a four-point gap between Gorleston and second-placed Cambridge University Press and leaves the Greens just nine points short of a guaranteed top-three finish.
Gorleston also have to play the other three members of the top four so their destiny is in their own hands.
Team: Elliot Pride, Tom Daniels, Reece Hunn, Darren Cockrill (Aaron Huggins-Bowers 67), Adam Thurtle, Eddie Thompson, Chris Sandford, Richard Woodrow, Ali McKenna (Lewis Smith 83), Steve Taylor, Mitch Forbes (Bradley Hough 71).