Greens win replayed league game
Gorleston 4 Long Melford 1THIS game was a 'replay' of Gorleston's first match of the season, which the Greens won 3-1, but were forced to replay after fielding an ineligible player, writes David Hardy.
Gorleston 4 Long Melford 1
THIS game was a 'replay' of Gorleston's first match of the season, which the Greens won 3-1, but were forced to replay after fielding an ineligible player, writes David Hardy.
Only three of the starting line-up that day started this game, a sign of manager Richard Daniel's rebuilding process.
Gorleston began well. Mitch Forbes had some early chances but found Melford keeper Paul Wood his equal in the opening exchanges.
However, Forbes has grown in confidence and strength as the season has progressed and kept going, eventually getting his reward in the 20th minute. He held off a defender as he raced into the box before slotting past the keeper.
Gorleston were passing well with Long Melford looking vulnerable at the back, however with the experienced Sam Banya up front Melford always looked a threat going forward.
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The warning sign was there in the 37th minute when Eddie Thompson was the only one to react to block a Daniel Erindrod shot and Melford duly equalised three minutes later when Ashley Skeggs - a relation of former Greens stalwart Gary - found himself alone in the box to plant a free header past Elliot Pride.
Almost immediately Reece Hunn burst down the left flank and dinked an excellent cross onto the head of Gary Williams, who nodded the Greens back in front from five yards.
Forbes' pace again caused problems to the defenders as half-time approached and he got a shot in despite appearing to be pulled back. Again the keeper pulled off a good save.
Pride denied Adam King early in the second half before Williams pulled a shot from a narrow angle just wide of the far post. Then Adam Fisher burst into the Greens' box and pulled the ball back to Adam Flack, who had arrived untracked. But the Gorleston defence managed to get a block in.
John Bell then put Steve Taylor away on the right, his cross just too far ahead of Williams to control and he could only toe it to the keeper.
Taylor was almost in himself minutes later but was forced wide.
In the 57th minute Gorleston gave themselves some breathing space. Taylor crossed from the right and Eddie Thompson came storming in at the back post to score.
Gorleston were able to relax and began playing some lovely football all across the pitch. One move ended with an almighty scramble in the goalmouth which saw Thompson and Williams both denied by bodies in the way. Then came the controversy.
Kevin Howes came on to replace Williams in the 81st minute. He had time to try a little backflick and then challenge Tony French. It looked a terrific sliding tackle, winning the ball, one-footed, studs down. Referee Mr Dale deemed otherwise, awarded a free-kick and then showed Howes a straight red card, a decision even the opposition didn't agree with. Howes was on the field less than a minute.
Chris Sandford, who had signed earlier in the week from Lowestoft, replaced Aaron Bowers and had an 85th minute shot deflected over.
As the game entered injury time Taylor fed Bell who weaved past several defenders before calmly lifting the ball over the keeper and into the net.
Gorleston had played well, produced some terrific passing play and created numerous chances. Unfortunately the talk after was all about the controversial sending off.
Team: Elliot Pride, Kyle Howell, Thomas Daniels, Aaron Bowers (Chris Sandford 69), Sean Blowers, Eddie Thompson, Gary Williams (Kevin Howes 81), John Bell, Mitch Forbes (Neil Hurren 89), Steve Taylor, Reece Hunn
Gorleston are at home to Thetford tomorrow and on Tuesday night travel to Team Bury.
The Reserves moved into second place in the Ridgeons Reserve league following a 5-3 victory at Thetford Reserves last week and tomorrow travel to league leaders Dereham Reserves.
Tuesday night's home game with Fakenham was postponed.