More Blanks for Greens
Against a side who had not lost in 26 league games, it was always going to be difficult to finish their home games on a high for Gorleston.
Once again there were several changes to the starting line up from the last game as Ricci Butler gave more players the chance to show their potential.
Taurean Molloy was suspended so George Macrae returned in goal. Out went Damon Wise, Daniel Goodrum and Conna Harris whilst Cain Eagleton dropped to the bench and the cricket season has started for Peter Lambert.
In came Sam Ellis, Mitch McKay, Joe Bracewell, Jordan Stanton and Connor Ingram.
Stanway pressed early on but the first effort at goal was a Keegan Middleton free kick after 6 minutes which was turned away by keeper Nick Punter low to his right under pressure from Liam Brown.
Two minutes later Stanway took the lead.
With Gorleston pushing forward, Stanway broke. Matty Brown had gone forward on the left leaving a big gap in the Gorleston left back position which nobody had covered. This gave Sean Bartlett space to drive forward, evade Liam Brown’s last ditch challenge and slot the ball past MacRae.
Stanway increased their lead after 25 minutes when a hopeful punt forward turned the Greens defence. There looked no danger but Jamie Shaw chased the ball down, rounded MacRae and tucked the ball home.
With Gorleston failing to hit the net in seven of the previous eleven games, and a defence with more holes than a pack of polos, that looked like it would be enough to secure the win for the visitors.
But the Greens teens, whose average age must have been around 19, rallied.
They played some nice football going forward but found the Stanway defence standing strong whenever the hosts got close to their penalty area.
Connor Ingram had two shots in the box blocked and then a Middleton free kick was half cleared back to Middleton whose lofted, curling effort was tipped over the bar by Punter.
If they could have got the next goal it would have boosted confidence and given them a good chance of gaining something but, unfortunately, 67 seconds into the second half it was Rovers who extended their lead when William Hunt turned in a cross from the right which MacRae did extremely well to get a hand to but the pace on the ball beat him.
Again, Gorleston kept going.
Ashley King had perhaps the best chance of the half when he got in behind but the ball bobbled as he struck it and it went over the bar.
The Greens began to exert some pressure on their opponents higher up the pitch, and caused the visitors to get a little rattled. The final ball though was continually stopped from finding its target.
Possession percentages would have been fairly close and the visitors didn’t create many clear cut chances, but they took the ones they did create.
With three minutes left the result was made to look worse than what it should have been when Ben Newson made it 4.
A Walsham le Willows win saw them leapfrog the Greens and Swaffham also closed the gap with victory. Fakenham losing means they cannot now overtake Gorleston so the lowest we can finish is third bottom.
News that Wroxham have finished in the relegation places from step 4 could mean the bottom three go down but that remains to be seen.
Gorleston: George Macrae, Sam Ellis, Matty Brown, Mitch McKay (Cain Eagleton 17), Joe Bracewell, Liam Brown, Jordan Stanton, Kyle Ingram, Ashley King (Joel Watts 64), Connor Ingram, Keegan Middleton (c)(Jason Thompson 71)
Stanway Rovers: Nick Punter, Phillip Boyland (c), Jemel Fox, Craig Hughes, Joss Neale, Jack Cawley, Ben Newson, Sean Bartlett, William Hunt (Richard Meadows 63), Jamie Shaw (Makhi McKenzie 55), Antonio Sabini (Luke Watts 55)
Goals: Newson 8, 87; Shaw 25; Hunt 47;
Ref: Stephen Finch
|2||Other efforts on target||1|
|3||Other efforts off target||6|
|0||Other efforts against woodwork||0|
|12||Free kicks for||9|