Hough and Finch put the wind up the Willows

Ally McKenna , scorer in Gorleston's 1-0 win over Hadleigh, on the attack. Photo: DAVE HARDY

Ally McKenna , scorer in Gorleston's 1-0 win over Hadleigh, on the attack. Photo: DAVE HARDY - Credit: Archant

Walsham-le-Willows 2 Gorleston 4

Gorleston returned from a cold, wet Suffolk night with three well-earned points, though they were made to fight all the way.

Just 51 people braved the weather to watch this clash between second and fourth but those who did turn up witnessed a good game.

Stewart Larter made one enforced change to the side that had beaten Hadleigh. With Andy Howell ill, Josh Armes was recalled to the side at centre back and gave a solid performance alongside Jack Marsden.

Playing down the slope on a pitch that resembled a ploughed field, Gorleston had the first half chance with a ninth minute Chris Sandford header from a corner well off target,

Walsham’s first effort at Elliot Pride’s goal came midway through the half when Paul Musgrove broke on the left but dragged his shot a yard wide of the far post.

The Greens opened the scoring after 33 minutes. Finch picked up a loose ball on the halfway line, turned and lifted it over the Willows defence for Hough to run on to, and into the box, where he rounded the keeper and tucked the ball past a covering defender into the goal.

Most Read

Gorleston extended their lead with the last kick of the half.

Joe Marsden chased out wide on the right to latch onto a pass and drilled a low cross into the box where it found Finch, who controlled and shot right footed, with the ball seemingly going through Walsham keeper Duncan McNally into the net.

On the hour mark some quick feet from Liam Harvey-Cooper enabled him to work his way into the box and feed Sandford on the edge of the area. Sandford flicked the ball up over his own and the defender’s head turned but volleyed his shot wide of the far post.

Walsham pulled a goal back in the 63rd minute when a rare slip between the central defenders allowed Jack Brame to pinch the ball. He was forced wide but still managed to get a cross in to the middle where Hughes just got his foot to the ball ahead of Armes to divert it past Pride.

Gorleston responded with Hough dragging a shot wide then Finch pulled the ball back to Harvey-Cooper who attempted to lob the keeper with the outside of his right boot but McNally reacted superbly to tip the ball over his bar.

Willows began to push the Greens back, down the slope but, on 73 minutes, Gorleston restored their two-goal advantage.

McKenna appeared to be kicked up in the air as he laid the ball wide but the referee, Mr Burnham, allowed play to go on with Finch sprinting into the box.

He laid the ball back to Hough whose nifty footwork saw him bamboozle the defence, slot the ball past the keeper and in off the post.

Walsham battled back again and, four minutes later, a ball into the Gorleston penalty area was misjudged by the Greens allowing a Walsham player, Hughes, to nip in and squeeze it into the goal. Two minutes from time Hughes had a chance to equalise but his header was saved close in by Pride.

As the game entered injury time Gorleston made sure of the points.

Harvey-Cooper retrieved what looked a lost cause on the byline, whipped the ball in towards McKenna whose miss hit volley bounced up nicely for Finch to head in.

This proved Finch’s last touch of the game, as he was then replaced by Carl Poppy, and was his 24th goal of the season, 16 of which have been in the league.

Gorleston: Elliot Pride, Joe Marsden, Reece Hunn, David Hinton, Josh Armes, Jack Marsden, Liam Harvey-Cooper, Chris Sandford, Ally McKenna, Christy Finch (Carl Poppy 90), Bradley Hough (Gary Williams 81)

Booking: Jack Marsden 47

Goals: Hough 33, 73; Finch 45, 90

Walsham-le-Willows: Duncan McNally, Lee Sim, Andrew Cusack, Nathan Clarke, Trevor Newman, Charlie Robinson (Reece Clarke 81), Shaun Thorrold (Stuart Jopling 65), Ryan Foster, Ollie Hughes, Jack Brame, Paul Musgrove (Tom Agricole 65)

Bookings: Robinson 42, Brame 80

Goals: Hughes 63, 77

Attendance: 51