Mixed fortunes as Greens count down to the big kick-off
Gorleston have had mixed fortunes so far in their preparations for the new season with a victory over Loddon followed by defeats against Lowestoft and Wroxham.
Last week the Greens eased to victory in their first pre-season friendly against Loddon Utd of the Anglian Combination, writes DAVID HARDY.
The Greens took the lead after 13 minutes when a looping Gary Williams cross looked to be going in but Eddie Thompson made sure, touching it home on the line.
Seven minutes later Gorleston doubled their lead when a Williams free kick found Andy Howell. His header was saved but the ball fell to Bradley Hough who fired home.
Keegan Middleton added a third after 28 minutes when he pulled a cross from the right down with his left foot, cutting back onto his right and finishing with aplomb.
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Six minutes before the break Ally McKenna tucked the ball in from close range after the keeper had saved.
A different Gorleston XI took to the field for the second half but still dominated possession.
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John Bell was looking sharp in midfield and Ricci Butler showed some of his trademark passing.
An excellent Bell run was foiled on the line and Butler also had an effort blocked on the line and saw another shot strike the goalkeeper and crash up against the bar.
Scott Butler also saw a cracking shot turned away.
The only surprise was that it took until the 80th minute before the Greens scored again through Scott Butler.
The sixth came two minutes from the end when Aaron Huggins-Bowers threaded a ball forward into the path of Ricci Butler, who calmly rounded the keeper and slotted into an empty net.
The Greens second friendly was against Ryman Premier side Lowestoft Town and not surprisingly Gorleston found the going much tougher.
The opening quarter was even with both sides keeping good possession.
Lowestoft opened the scoring in the 22nd minute when a deep cross was turned back across goal and the ball found former Green Chris Henderson for a simple, close range tap in.
Two minutes later Lowestoft doubled their lead in bizarre fashion. With the linesman flagging for offside, a Gorleston player wasn’t ‘playing the whistle’ and picked the ball up in the box expecting a free kick. However, the referee had not blown for the offside and gave a penalty. After consulting his linesman the referee over-ruled the offside flag and enforced his penalty decision.
Dale Cockrill showed no sympathy for his former team and gave Jack Whatmough no chance with the spot kick.
Lowestoft dominated the second half possession, with Gorleston not able to keep the ball well enough when they did get it and Lowestoft’s extra strength and fitness told as they added three goals in the final quarter to complete the scoring.
On Tuesday night it was Ryman League new boys, and current Eastern Counties League Champions, Wroxham who visited Emerald Park and the final scoreline wasn’t a fair reflection of the game.
The Greens were almost handed a perfect start when, in the second minute, Christy Finch was fouled inside the six yard box trying to latch onto a Keegan Middleton cross.
The referee pointed to the spot having failed to notice his assistant had flagged for Middleton being offside. After consulting with the linesman the ref then pulled the game back for the earlier offside.
The first half was an entertaining, even, affair. Both keepers had work to do, Jack Whatmough saved well from Matt Blake then Finch was denied by a good save at the other end.
The second half continued in the same vein.
Gorleston were having an equal share of possession and keeping the ball well, switching from flank to flank and content to go backwards if needed to keep the ball.
Again both keepers were equal to all efforts on their goal until the 72nd minute when a cross into the Gorleston box was only half cleared, finding a Wroxham sub who volleyed it back into the top corner of Gorleston’s goal.
The last time Wroxham had visited Emerald Park they scored two goals in injury time to turn defeat into victory. This time two goals in the final three minutes made the scoreline look slightly flattering in their favour.
Their second came from another poor defensive clearance giving Blake a chance to tuck in from close range and the same player then outjumped the Gorleston defence to nod in a third in the 90th minute.