Nine-man Gorleston battle to hockey win

Bury II 3, Gorleston 4MISSING four players out injured, two on holiday and a further one failing to meet his transport, Gorleston travelled to Culford School to take on fourth-placed Bury II with only nine players and fearing the worst for their hockey Division Three North East EML clash.

Bury II 3, Gorleston 4

MISSING four players out injured, two on holiday and a further one failing to meet his transport, Gorleston travelled to Culford School to take on fourth-placed Bury II with only nine players and fearing the worst for their hockey Division Three North East EML clash.

Instead the depleted team, through hard work and meticulous planning, produced what will surely rank as their best game this season to bring home all three points and close to within one point of their fourth-placed Suffolk rivals.

Gorleston are back at Cliff Park tomorrow to begin to wind up their season against lower teams in their division.

This week's opponents are Harleston Magpies IV with a push-back at 2.30pm and hopefully when their injured players return they can set their sights on a higher than fifth-place finish to round off their centenary year.

Bury started confidently enough with their numerical superiority but when their wingers were unable to drag the Gorleston defence of Jason Austin, Herman Cheung, Martyn Vaudin and Kevin MacDonald out of position it became apparent they were running out of ideas.

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The occasional forward runs of Gorleston's James Clarkson, Jamie Higginbotham, Russ Crawford and Neil Hudson were far more dangerous.

After 15 minutes Clarkson neatly turned his marker again on the half-way line and raced away into the Bury half to fire powerfully past the advancing keeper.

Five minutes later and Gorleston were two up as they won a short corner and Higginbotham's drag-flick was only prevented from crossing the line by a defender's boot. Clarkson, from the penalty spot, again beat the keeper.

Jubilant at their unexpected success Gorleston tried to consolidate but Bury soon showed why they were in the top four as Alex Andreou pounced to fire home a loose ball in the Gorleston D.

This spurred another break as from the restart Clarkson lobbed an overhead pass to Higginbotham who weaved through some sloppy defending to restore Gorleston's

two-goal advantage.

After the interval and a further tactical team talk, Gorleston came out strongly and should have wrapped up the points quickly from two good opportunities.

A great break and cross from the right by Higginbotham saw Neil Hudson miss an open goal and three minutes later the same player had the ball in the net, only to find the umpire failed to play advantage and awarded a short corner instead.

This was missed and predictably Bury were the first to recover as Andreou profited from an uncleared short corner at the other end to make the score 3-2.

Gorleston's individual superior skills and tactics, particularly at short corners, were not going to be wasted and four minutes later a neat five-man move from one gave Hudson the chance to walk the ball into the net and gain some consolation for his earlier misses.

Gorleston had to endure a jittery last five minutes after Andreou got his hat-trick with a fine strike past Barney King.