Late Goal Sinks Greens
By David Hardy
A late Hadleigh goal condemned Gorleston to their fifth defeat in a row.
After a superb start to the month, with victory at Wroxham, March has turned into something of a disappointment.
Stewart Larter made two changes from the defeat by Histon. Impressive youngsters Cameron Barnes and Logan Lonergan dropped to the bench. Joel Watts and Peter Lambert started.
Hadleigh came into the game looking over their shoulders at the relegation places, just four points ahead of second-bottom Long Melford, but it was the visitors who made the better start with Gorleston spending most of the opening fifteen minutes camped in their own half and sloppy in possession.
The Greens then came into the game and began to look the most likely to break the deadlock.
Lambert was inches away from getting on the end of a Mitch McKay free kick then Watts turned nicely but shot wide across the goal.
Dan Pinheiro saw a shot blocked before Lambert blazed over.
Connor Ingram had the best chance of the half, getting in behind with just the keeper to beat, but the goalie got a touch to turn the ball over.
Hadleigh didn't manage a shot until the final minute of the half when Romario Dunne's effort was high over the bar.
Hadleigh started the second half strongly but again Ingram had the best chance early on when he was through again but the keeper came out to save bravely at his feet.
As the game approached the hour mark, McKay delivered another free kick which Lambert glanced goalwards but visiting keeper Nick Punter got down quickly to tip the ball around the post.
A minute later Hadleigh gained their first corner of the game which lead to Gorleston keeper Connor Milligan's turn to keep the scores level when he flung himself to his left to fingertip a Dunne drive, which had come through a crowd of players, around the post.
Milligan denied Dunne again seven minutes later before McKay saw a shot blocked at the other end.
Two more Dunne efforts were easy for Milligan then Ingram cut in from the left onto his right foot but his shot was a foot over the top corner.
The Greens were being pressed back and struggling to clear or keep possession and, with seven minutes left, Hadleigh took the lead.
A ball spun loose into the path of Mekhi McKenzie who wasn't closed down and he hit a shot which, despite Milligan getting a hand to it, found the net.
Gorleston had a great chance to equalise in stoppage time. McKay drilled a crossfield pass between defenders which found Brady Philpott at the back post but he sidefooted his effort wide.
Hadleigh's celebrations showed how important the win was to them. Gorleston fans, meanwhile, were left anxiously checking the league table.
Although ten points ahead of the bottom three, the Greens have three tough away matches next, followed by the derby, and still need five points to mathematically ensure safety.
Match sponsors Barnes Print awarded the Bateman's man of the match to Connor Milligan.
Gorleston: Connor Milligan, Daniel Pinheiro (Jordan Cantwell 85), Brady Philpott, Isaac Burrage, David Shade (Cameron Barnes (65) Aarron Taylor (c), Luke Goreham (Logan Lonergan 70), Peter Lambert, Connor Ingram, Joel Watts, Mitch McKay
Bookings: Burrage 41; McKay 61
Hadleigh Utd: Nick Punter, Kyle Ferguson, James Ross (Tom Driscoll 70), Michael Barwick, Ben Elliott, Kris Rose (c), Brett Crisp, Kieran Turner, Mekhi McKenzie, Daniel Smy (Kyron Andrews 76), Romario Dunne
Bookings: McKenzie 87
Goal: McKenzie 83
Ref: George Byrne
|2||Other efforts on target||5|
|5||Other efforts off target||6|
|0||Other efforts against woodwork||0|
|11||Free kicks for||10|