McKenna in seven-goal heaven with Greens
Gorleston 10 FC Clacton 2
Ally McKenna stole the spotlight with a magnificent seven-goal haul in a superb team display which saw the Greens climb into fifth place in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division after a demolition job on the rock-bottom visitors.
The Greens had several players still unavailable due to injury but new signing Aaron Jones was on the bench.
Jones is the grandson of Gorleston legend Jimmy Jones and a former Ipswich Town Academy player. He has received a four-year soccer scholarship in America and has signed for the Greens from Lowestoft to help out over the busy festive schedule because of Gorleston’s lengthy injury list. Thanks went to Lowestoft chairman Gary Keyzor for allowing this to happen, writes ALAN GORDON.
Gorleston started as they meant to go on and a Christy Finch effort on two minutes went just past the post. This was followed by some excellent play between Finch and Bradley Hough that saw the latter’s shot blocked but it wasn’t long before the Greens opened their account when Liam Harvey-Cooper crossed to Ally McKenna who guided his header past the FC Clacton keeper to give his side the lead on four minutes.
The first goal scorer then became provider as McKenna passed to the skillful Bradley Hough who slid it past the keeper on 18 minutes to give Gorleston a 2-0 lead.
Two great saves by Keith Tucker in the FC Clacton goal prevented the Greens from going further ahead, until Ally McKenna scored his second on 29 minutes. Further McKenna goals on 39 minutes and 41 minutes and a superb save from Elliot Pride saw Gorleston take to the break with a 5-0 lead with the only blemish in the first half being a booking for Josh Armes on 43 minutes.
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Soon after the restart the excellent Finch and Hough had good efforts on target but McKenna bagged his fifth on 51 minutes, stroking his effort beyond the keeper.
Minutes later the impressive Zak Clarke clipped the bar with a shot and on 62 minutes McKenna added his sixth.
Keegan Middleton replaced Harvey-Cooper on 62 minutes with Armes making way for Aaron Jones to make his Greens debut on 70 minutes just in time for Ally McKenna to cap an amazing performance with his seventh goal of the match – an incredible feat made possible by the excellent players around him.
Gorleston took their feet of the gas somewhat, allowing Aaron Cindon to score a consolation on 72 minutes.
The industrious David Hinton was replaced by Kyle Howell on 75 minutes as FC Clacton somehow managed a second strike to bring the score to 8-2.
This fired the Greens back into action and a further two goals from Gorleston with Hough grabbing his second of the game and a fine 84th-minute Finch finish, made it 10-2.
McKenna deserved the spotlight after a truly magnificent display scoring seven goals but this was a team effort.
Gorleston: Pride, Sandford, Hunn, Clarke, A. Howell, Armes, Harvey-Cooper, Hinton, McKenna, Finch, Hough. Subs K Howell, Middleton, Jones.
FC Clacton: Tucker, L Clowsley, Wales, Springett, Austin, Macfarlan, Keaney, Marvel, Tarling, J Clowsley, Condon. Subs Manta, Knight, McMillan.