Zak thunderbolt lifts Greens into third place
Gorleston 2 Dereham Town 0
Gorleston made just one change from the side that had drawn at Diss, with Zak Clarke returning to midfield, and he marked his comeback in spectacular style.
Dereham should have had two early goals. In the opening minute Shaun Bammant ran onto a ball between the Greens defence and rounded Elliot Pride but his goalbound effort was half cleared, the ball falling to Luke Tuttle who blazed over.
Three minutes later a cross found Tuttle unmarked, eight yards from goal, but his header went wide, writes David Hardy.
Gorleston were sloppy with the ball and were being over-run and Pride was forced into more action after 7 minutes, palming an Adam Smith effort away.
The Greens began to settle and Christy Finch saw a shot finger tipped wide, although a goal kick was awarded, and then Ally McKenna headed a Reece Hunn corner wide in an open, eventful start to the game.
Gorleston had big shouts for a penalty when a Clarke ball into the box struck a defender’s arm but their shouts were waved away before Finch saw a 25 yard free kick tipped over the bar by Magpies keeper Andrew Wilton.
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Ten minutes before the break came the major talking point.
A ball played over the Gorleston defence landed midway between Bammant and Pride. Pride raced from his box and arrived a second before Bammant to to clear the ball but Bammant had gone into the challenge with studs raised and caught Pride high on his right leg.
After consulting his linesman the referee showed Bammant a straight red card.
Three minutes into the second half a Jack Marsden long ball picked out Chris Sandford whose header was saved then cleared only as far as Clarke 25 yards out. His shot clipped the outside of the post.
However, that proved just a sighter for what was to happen two minutes later. Aaron Jones carried the ball forward and found Finch who laid the ball back to Clarke who struck a superb shot from 22 yards that scorched into the roof of the net before the keeper could move.
Seven minutes later a Marsden through ball found Finch who kept his cool to slot the ball past the advancing keeper and effectively seal the points for his side.
Playing against ten men, the Greens were playing keep ball and the pace of the game dropped on the energy sapping, sticky pitch. Credit to Dereham who still looked dangerous on the attack but it was a good victory for Gorleston that saw them leapfrog their opponents into third place.
Gorleston: Elliot Pride, Aaron Jones, Jack Marsden, Zak Clarke, Andy Howell, Josh Armes, David Hinton, Chris Sandford (Gary Williams 90), Ally McKenna (Keegan Middleton 83), Christy Finch, Reece Hunn (Jack Garrod 77)
Bookings: Clarke 19, Jones 52
Goals: Clarke 50, Finch 57
Dereham Town: Andrew Wilton, Olly Willis (Callum White 90), Ryan Hawkins, Luke Hannant, Matt Howard, Adam Gusterson, Nicholas Howell, Adam Smith (Craig Bussens 63), Shaun Bammant, Luke Tuttle (Sutherland-Gray 46), Sam Borrer
Bookings: Smith 30, Scott Sutherland-Gray 83
Sent Off: Bammant 35