Sweet 16 as Ally fires Gorleston into fourth place

Woodbridge try to get to grips with Christy Finch. Photo: DAVE HARDY.

Woodbridge try to get to grips with Christy Finch. Photo: DAVE HARDY. - Credit: Archant

Woodbridge Town 0 Gorleston 1

Scorer Ally McKenna

Scorer Ally McKenna - Credit: Archant

Gorleston bounced back from the Norfolk Senior Cup quarter-final defeat at Wroxham as they moved up to fourth in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division table with a hard-fought victory in Suffolk.

The Greens made three changes from the side that had played at Wroxham. Reece Hunn was out injured following the facial injury he received in that game so Jack Marsden moved across to left back, with Andy Howell returning to central defence. Gary Williams continued at right back and Elliot Pride returned in goal.

In an even first quarter, Woodbridge had one long-range effort and a Jack Garrod cross-come-shot rebounded away off the outside of the post as neither side could gain the upper hand.

After 15 minutes a deft flick by Ally McKenna saw him play a one-two with Keegan Middleton and then float a pass wide to Garrod but his shot across goal was wide of the far post, writes DAVE HARDY.

Woodbridge came closest to scoring after half an hour when an Adam Clarke cross from the right gave Jay Hubbard a header close in but it was straight at Pride.

Eight minutes later Pride was out quickly to deny Hubbard again, diving at his feet.

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Five minutes before the break a Kelsey Trotter shot was straight at Pride and he plucked it from the air.

Marsden, who had been struggling with a knock for most of the first half, was replaced at half time by Zak Clarke who slotted in at left back.

Early pressure from Woodbridge almost gave them the breakthrough. From a corner, a shot was blocked with the follow up from Ben Miller rattling against the crossbar.

Christy Finch then tested the Woodpecker’s keeper with a free kick that was saved low to his left, David Hinton’s follow up going wide.

Gorleston took the lead in the 61st minute.

Garrod was fouled on the halfway line. Williams hoisted the free kick into the box where it fell to McKenna. Almost in one movement McKenna brought the ball under control, turned and smashed a volley into the roof of the net for his 16th of the season. On 70 minutes a strong Hinton run into the box saw his cross cleared and then Pride kept out a Ross Gilfedder effort at the other end before he had to push over a Hubbard drive seven minutes later.

Substitute Bradley Hough, making a welcome return from injury, cut in from the left and tried to curl a right-foot effort into the far corner but Glyn Dixon, diving full length, turned it away.

With ten minutes to go, Gilfedder hit a shot across goal which struck the inside of the far post and rebounded back into the arms of the grateful Pride. In injury time Dixon pushed over a Finch drive. The Greens had ridden their luck but it’s now 23 points from the last possible 27 as Gorleston moved on to nine games unbeaten in the league.

Gorleston: Elliot Pride, Gary Williams, Jack Marsden (Zak Clarke 46), David Hinton, Andy Howell, Josh Armes, Jack Garrod (Liam Harvey-Cooper 86), Chris Sandford, Ally McKenna, Christy Finch, Keegan Middleton (Bradley Hough 76)

Goal: McKenna 61

Woodbridge: Glyn Dixon, Craig Stuart (Paul Berry 75), Ben Miller, Tom Treviviam, Mark Roper, Aaron Churchyard, Adam Clarke (Jon Fryatt 84), Kelsey Trotter, Jay Hubbard, Ryan Stafford, Ross Gilfedder. Attendance: 63