Greens storm back
Long Melford 1, Gorleston 3
Gorleston moved closer to the title but it took a goal from Long Melford to get them going in this game.
On a blazing hot day in Suffolk the Greens could perhaps be forgiven for looking sluggish and Melford should have gone ahead in the third minute. Stuart Lockwood broke down the right and crossed to Rhys Earl but, with only Elliot Pride to beat, he shot wide.
The hard pitch was giving the ball extra bounce and Steve Taylor had a chance to put the Greens ahead when he read the bounce better than a defender, but he could only shoot at the keeper.
Midway through the half an Ali McKenna flick-on to Chris Sandford enabled the latter to turn inside, but again his shot was straight to the keeper.
Two minutes later Melford missed another glorious opportunity when a deep cross from the right evaded everybody arriving at Ashley Williams’ feet. His shot beat Pride but thundered back off a post.
Gorleston only half-cleared the ball and Pride was called into action, diving to his left to turn a Dan Cann shot around a post. McKenna then set Mitch Forbes through on goal, but keeper Paul Wood was out bravely to smother at his feet.
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A half-time substitution by manager Richard Daniels, replacing Forbes with Bradley Hough, helped to change the game.
Within a minute Hough and McKenna had linked and McKenna had a shot deflected wide. Cann fired wide at the other end before Sandford knocked the ball to keeper Wood when a better touch in front of goal would have given him a chance.
Five minutes into the second half Melford took the lead when Cann got the better of Eddie Thompson and shot across Pride.
That goal, however, sparked the Greens into life. Hough used his strength to force his way through on the right and square the ball, but no Gorleston player was expecting it. Then, after 55 minutes, Gorleston equalised.
McKenna helped the ball on to Sandford, whose shot was parried out to Hough six yards from goal, and he had time to steady himself before thumping the ball into the goal.
The Greens got their noses in front in the 73rd minute. Reece Hunn made a strong run forward, laying the ball on for Sandford to fire the ball into the net from the left.
Four minutes later Gorleston made sure of the victory after Richard Woodrow stole the ball off the right-back and fed Hough. Again Hough showed his strength, holding off the defenders, before hitting an unstoppable shot in off the underside of the bar.
Team: Elliot Pride, DJ Kareche, Reece Hunn, Richard Woodrow (Aaron Huggins-Bowers 79), Adam Thurtle, Eddie Thompson, Chris Sandford (Gary Williams 84), Darren Cockrill, Ali McKenna, Steve Taylor, Mitch Forbes (Bradley Hough 46).