Top-five test for Greens

TOMORROW Gorleston are at home to Stowmarket Town in the league, kick-off 3pm, writes David Hardy.

Stow are currently second in the Ridgeons First Division table, five points ahead of the Greens, having played a game more and, last Saturday, won at leaders Cambridge University Press.

The Greens were boosted with six goals without reply in their home game with Cornard.

Gorleston 6, Cornard Utd 0

Gorleston made two changes from the team which won at Halstead with Aaron Huggins-Bowers and Jack Herbert coming into the starting line up and Darren Cockrill and Adam Thurtle dropping to the bench.

Cornard are struggling this season and named only 11 players with no subs.

The Greens started well and, with better finishing, could have had this game won within the first 10 minutes.

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Chris Sandford provided a cross in the second minute to Bradley Hough in front of goal but he couldn’t get the ball out from under his feet. Hough again two minutes later forced Cornard keeper Sam Quinn into a save.

Another two minutes on and Hough was almost in again before a tenth-minute Gary Williams free-kick found Hough but he put his header wide.

Reece Hunn went on a mazy run that ended with an 20-yard shot straight into the keeper’s midriff before Hough headed a good chance wide again.

Midway through the half a powerful Williams shot from five yards thundered back off the outside of a post.

Another Hough header looped tamely to the keeper and, seven minutes before the break, it was Hough again who put a free header wide from five yards.

On the stroke of half-time Williams turned and shot from 10 yards, but again the over-worked keeper was in perfect position. Gorleston fans spent half-time wondering if it was going to be ‘one of those days’ and if Cornard would sneak a one-goal victory.

The second half began as the first had finished, all one-way traffic. Williams and Kyle Howell linked up well on the right for Howell to cross, but Hough hit his shot over.

The breakthrough finally came after 52 minutes. Williams was again involved when he shot from the edge of the box, the ball coming back off the bar. Hough retrieved it on the right and drilled the ball towards the far post where it nestled into the bottom corner after glancing off Jordan Melia’s heel.

Danny Mitchell replaced Tom Daniels and was immediately into the action, squaring the ball across the box, Jordan Hutchings having to clear over his own bar with Sandford waiting for a tap-in.

It was a temporary reprieve though as, from the corner, a Williams effort fell to Sandford who fired into the top corner from the edge of the box.

Quinn then tipped a curler from Steve Taylor over the bar before Hough dragged a shot wide. Jack Herbert got in on the act with a 20-yard shot.

With half-an-hour to go manager Richard Daniels introduced a new signing from Dereham, Scott Woodgate, and he had an immediate impact when he headed a Sandford cross into the goal to score with his very first touch.

Williams was once again denied by the frame of the goal and Woodgate nearly grabbed his second but, after rounding the keeper, with the goal at his mercy, the ball stuck behind him and a defender was able to get back.

One minute later Woodgate was again in on the keeper, Quinn saved but the ball ran on to Mitchell to give him a simple tap-in for 4-0 with 15 minutes remaining.

The Greens continued to create chance after chance, with keeper Quinn saving superbly again from Taylor.

With two minutes remaining Woodgate again weaved an opening for himself and thumped the ball clinically into the goal from five yards. He could have had a hat-trick but for another good save in injury time when Quinn pushed a shot around the post.

From the corner Herbert rose to nod the ball down. It deflected off an unlucky Tom Appleby and into the net to make it six.

Team: Elliot Pride, Kyle Howell, Tom Daniels (Danny Mitchell 53), Gary Williams, Jack Herbert, Eddie Thompson, Chris Sandford, Aaron Huggins-Bowers (Darren Cockrill 70), Bradley Hough (Scott Woodgate 60), Steve Taylor, Reece Hunn.

The draw for the semi-finals of the First Division Knockout Cup has handed Gorleston a home tie against Whitton Utd who on Wednesday won 5-1 at Saffron Walden.

This match will be played on Tuesday, February 8. The other semi-final is being played this Saturday between Thetford and Long Melford.

The Reserves are without a game on Saturday but on Tuesday night entertain Lowestoft Reserves, kick-off 7.45pm.

Last Saturday the Reserves also hit the goal trail, winning 5-1 at Whitton Reserves.

The Under-18s also hit the net five times, beating Harford Tornadoes 5-0 with goals from Garrod, King, Welton and Woolston (2).

On Thursday, February 3 the young Greens are in league action at Norwich Utd.