Greens return to second in league

Gorleston will be aiming to underline their promotion credentials with a home Ridgeons First Division match against Godmanchester at Emerald Park tomorrow (Saturday) (ko 3pm).

The Greens are four points behind top team Cambridge University Press with 43 points from 19 games to CUP’s 47 from 24. Whitton also have 43 from 19 with Diss on 42 from 19.

March 0, Gorleston 1

The Greens reclaimed second place on Saturday thanks to Darren Cockrill’s first-half strike, his first goal since rejoining the club.

Gorleston made two changes from their last game against Diss with Darren Cockrill and Bradley Hough starting in place of Aaron Huggins-Bowers and Ali McKenna, who both dropped to the bench.

Both teams had a couple of tame efforts in the opening exchanges before Gorleston were forced to make an early change in the tenth minute.

Kyle Howell fell awkwardly after winning a header and had to be stretchered from the field and taken to hospital. The injury turned out to be a sprain which will keep him sidelined for two to three weeks.

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With Reece Hunn coming on at left-back and DJ Kareche switching to the right

It took the Greens a while to get going after that but when they did it was effective.

With half an hour gone a Richard Woodrow pass between defenders put Chris Sandford through on goal. He slotted the ball under Hare’s keeper Lee Brookes, who just managed to get enough on the ball to divert it onto the post and then out for a corner.

But it was a temporary reprieve for March as Gary Williams corner found the head of Darren Cockrill, who planted the ball firmly into the net.

Nine minutes later it could have been two. Williams jinked his way past a number of challenges before a one-two with Richard Woodrow created a shooting opportunity. Brookes saved well, the ball rebounded back onto Woodrow’s chest and headed goalwards but there was little pace on it and a defender got back to clear off the line.

March offered little going forward and, by now, Sandford and Woodrow were controlling the middle. The Greens were getting joy down both flanks through Williams and Steve Taylor, who even switched wings and were just as effective.

Unfortunately, all too often the final ball into the box was met by defenders first.

March made a double change at half time bringing Paul Rowell and Simon Bates on for Ashley Sanderson and Adam Cornell.

Within two minutes of the restart the Hares had already carved out their best opening of the game after Marc Welcher slid Stuart Anderson through but, as Elliot Pride narrowed the angle, he shot wide.

March then made their third change just five minutes into the second half when Ashley Brand, who had been carrying a knock, was replaced by Juliano De Menzies.

Gorleston were sluggish and March looked to be getting on top but both teams were being frustrated by decisions and lack of advantage by the referee.

Just after the hour mark it was Gorleston with the next shot on target when Taylor had an effort cleared off the line.

Seven minutes later, Hough forced his way into the box with Welcher pulling him back. He pulled the ball back to Cockrill who attempted the curl the ball into the top corner but it was off target.

With sixteen minutes left another Taylor shot was deflected as it headed goalwards and Brookes had to dive quickly to his left to palm the ball wide.

Eight minutes later Rowell had a shot straight into Pride’s midriff.

With March pushing forward looking for the equaliser, their defence was stretched.

Two minutes from time a Woodrow pass picked out Taylor on the opposite side of the penalty area in acres of space twelve yards out but again Brookes was able to save and one minute late Ali McKenna flicked the ball through to Mitch Forbes who smashed it goalwards but Brookes was ideally positioned to block and, more importantly, to hang on to the ball.

A minute into injury time Welcher had a free header from a corner but couldn’t direct it on target and, from the goal kick, Taylor had another effort curl over the bar.

The referee appeared to blow for time, even his assistants ran on to the pitch, but it soon transpired the whistle was just to administer a caution to Denny Escorcio and give Welcher another lecture, but ten seconds after the final whistle blew for real.

Gorleston moved back up to second and the pressure shifts on to Whitton, who know nothing less than a win at Halstead on Tuesday night will do if they want to move in to second again themselves.

Team: Elliot Pride, Kyle Howell (Reece Hunn 10), DJ Kareche, Gary Williams, Adam Thurtle, Eddie Thompson, Chris Sandford, Darren Cockrill (Ali McKenna 78), Bradley Hough (Mitch Forbes 86), Steve Taylor, Richard Woodrow