Win sets Greens up for FA Vase challenge

TOMORROW sees FA Vase action for Gorleston.The Greens entertain Ely City at Emerald Park, kick-off 3pm, on the back of a convincing 3-0 league win over Thetford.

TOMORROW sees FA Vase action for Gorleston.

The Greens entertain Ely City at Emerald Park, kick-off 3pm, on the back of a convincing 3-0 league win over Thetford.

Ely are seventh in the Ridgeons Premier League, the division above Gorleston, and were pushed all the way in Tuesday night's FA Cup replay which they won on penalties against Wroxham.

The Robins' two tough cup matches may give Gorleston the edge in the first qualifying round of this year's Vase.

Gorleston 3, Thetford Town 0

Gorleston opted to put two up front in a game which they needed to win to repair some broken confidence, writes David Hardy.

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Danny Mitchell came in to partner Mitch Forbes in attack whilst Chris Bond made his first start in a Greens' shirt on the right of a four-man midfield which had Matty Taunton on the left and Steve Taylor in the centre.

Thetford began the stronger and almost took the lead after just 11 minutes when a hopeful punt forward by Steve Kedian almost caught Elliot pride off his line, but he tracked back to palm the ball over.

But with two front men on the field the Greens already looked more potent going forward and took the lead in the 17th minute.

The two forwards linked up, Mitchell turning to put Forbes in, and he kept his cool to slot past keeper Mark Bowden.

Five minutes later Forbes out-muscled Thetford centre-half Ashley Thompson and laid the ball back to Taunton, who fired over.

Thetford almost got an equaliser in the 28th minute when a 30-yard effort from Danny Tanti, aided by the wind, beat Pride but thumped against the bar.

Almost immediately Gorleston could have extended their lead when Forbes charged down an attempted clearance. He was forced wide but pulled the ball back to Bond who, in turn, played it in to Mitchell. Mitchell's first effort was saved by the keeper's legs and then the keeper was able to recover and grab the follow-up shot.

Chris Sandford broke on the left but his effort drifted wide and then Taylor fed Mitchell, who was again thwarted as the Greens' confidence on the ball began to grow.

The second half started with almost a Tom Daniels booking before Pride had to save with his legs from a Kedian effort.

Liam Bartley replaced Mitchell and was immediately presented with a chance after some good skill from Taylor. But Bartley's shot was tame and straight at the keeper.

The next minute Bartley played a pass out to the right. Bond volleyed it first-time across the box where the ball grazed Forbes' forehead and drifted agonisingly wide of the far post.

Gorleston were dominant now but with only a slender one goal lead they needed a second goal and, in the 72nd minute, Mike Derbyshire, stand-in manager for the day, made a double substitution that effectively secured the win, bringing John Bell and Gary Williams on in place of Forbes and Taunton.

Almost immediately Williams raced down the left wing and, unlike the right-footed Taunton, was able to put in a left footed cross from the by-line which Bartley side-footed wide then, two minutes later, Williams crossed again, this time to Bell, who tried to curl into the corner but the ball didn't bend enough.

Williams and Daniels then exchanged two or three crosses between them, none of which could find a target in the middle.

Sandford had the ball in the net but was flagged offside but in the 79th minute he had the ball in the net again which, this time, counted.

Williams charged down the full back, crossed in to Bell who showed good strength in the box and slid the ball across to Sandford to tuck in.

Bartley finished off the scoring one minute into injury time with a superb header from a Bell cross.

Team: Elliot Pride, Kyle Howell, Tom Daniels, Chris Bond, Adan Thurtle, Eddie Thompson, Chris Sandford, Danny Mitchell (Liam Bartley 58), Mitch Forbes (John Bell 72), Steve Taylor, Matty Taunton (Gary Williams 72)

Debenham Reserves 1, Gorleston Reserves 1

Gorleston's Reserves travelled to Debenham LC Reserves for their first game of the season last week and returned with a point after a creditable 1-1 draw.

A blustery day on a hard pitch was never likely to produce free flowing football but both teams tried to do their best in difficult conditions at Maitlands.

Gorleston won the toss and decided to kick with the wind to try and take advantage of the conditions and after two minutes they nearly did when Garrod cut in from the right to shoot wide.

Although the Greens were taking the game to Debenham it was Debenham's Thomas Huggins who broke through the middle. Before he could get a shot off he went down in the box but penalty claims were waved away.

With Gorleston pushing forward, a gap appeared in midfield where a through ball found Huggins who slipped it past the on-rushing Gorleston goalkeeper Jack Whatmough to open the scoring after 29 minutes.

Gorleston nearly fell further behind when the big centre half Lee lost the ball 25 yards out but Whatmough made a very good save tipping the long range shot over.

Ten minutes into the second half Gorleston were awarded a penalty when Chris Southern was pulled back in the box. Adam Taylor stepped up but the ball clipped the wrong side of the post.

Gorleston looked likely to equalise with the amount of pressure they were asserting on the Debenham goal but were wondering if it was going to be their day when a Randolph shot from outside the box bounced off the inside of the post and rebounded to Taylor who shot wide when he should have scored with the goal at his mercy.

With nine minutes to go, and Debenham pushing for the second goal, they lost possession in midfield. Garrod played a square ball to Jacob Short who struck a firm shot into the Debenham goal.

This Saturday the Reserves are on their travels again and head off to Stowmarket.