Green Finch Grounds Robins
Gorleston saved the best till last as they rounded off their season in style against a side that had just beaten Cambridge City in the Cambridgeshire Senior Cup Final.
The Greens made two changes to the team that had beaten Stanway in midweek with David Hinton returning in place of the suspended Jack Marsden, and Ally McKenna replacing Gary Williams.
The pitch looked in excellent condition considering it has seen 80-plus games this season, and Gorleston’s Under 10 side were ballboys for the day.
Numerous times this season Gorleston have created a number of chances without being able to hit the back of the net. Today’s game was the opposite, where virtually every effort in the first half found the goal.
Before the game Christy Finch was presented with the Supporters Player of the Season Trophy and it took him just 94 seconds to thank the fans with the opening goal.
A Chris Sandford ball into the box found Finch who had time to take a touch before shooting into the goal.
Four minutes later Bradley Hough picked out Ally McKenna in the penalty area. He turned before being felled by Ben Lawrence. The referee pointed to the spot and Finch stepped up to blast the penalty into the top corner.
After ten minutes it was 3-0. This time Hough latched onto the ball and hit an unstoppable 25 yard drive which dipped nicely under the bar. It was Hough’s 20th goal of the season.
Finch had time to miss the target with a sidefoot effort with Ely looking shell shocked, before David Hinton increased the Greens lead after Hough had a shot blocked in the 17th minute.
Two minutes later it was five.
Reece Hunn’s cross found Finch’s head and he put the ball low into the net to complete a 17 minute hat trick. It was his 30th goal of the season and his 46th in a Gorleston shirt from just 68 appearances.
Ely’s beleaguered keeper Lee Pacey saved efforts from McKenna and Hough but, eleven minutes before the break, Gorleston made it six.
Keegan Middleton was the supporter’s choice for Under 18s player of the season and he showed a coolness that suggests he will become an established first team favourite when he was picked out by a crossfield pass, brought the ball down and calmly took his time before tucking the ball under the keeper into the goal.
The second half couldn’t possibly live up the first, but it had a good go.
Ely rallied although Gorleston possibly took their foot off the pedal early on. The Robins had their first effort at goal in the 49th minute but Chris Stereki's shot was always going over.
The visitors were holding a high line trying to catch the Greens offside with reasonable success.
After 56 minutes it was McKenna’s turn to notch up his 20th goal of the season. He got the better of a defender, and took the ball on into the box before slotting it past the keeper into the goal.
Another five minutes passed before the Greens scored again. A Finch cross found Middleton whose first shot smacked against the crossbar, but he reacted quickly to smack the follow up left footed into the net.
Elliot Pride made his first save of note after 70 minutes when he reacted quickly to keep out Luke Parkinson.
Three minutes later Pride’s attempted pass was miskicked, Ely capitalised with a deep cross that Richard Chadwick headed back over the recovering keeper into the goal.
Seven minutes from time McKenna’s turn and shot was tipped wide by the Ely keeper and, in injury time, Ely’s Kenny Smith's header struck the base of the post.
The final whistle blew on what has been generally considered a good season, with the Greens finishing in third place behind Champions Dereham and Wisbech.
Unless Brantham score eight against Ely in their last game, Gorleston will finish the league’s top scorers on 91 goals and they have scored 112 times in all competitions.
Gorleston: Elliot Pride, Carl Poppy, Reece Hunn, David Hinton, Andy Howell, Josh Armes (Zak Clarke 66), Keegan Middleton (Jack Garrod 66), Chris Sandford, Ally McKenna, Christy Finch, Bradley Hough (Gary Williams 73)
Goals: Finch 2, 6(p), 19; Hough 10; Hinton 17; Middleton 34, 61; McKenna 56
Ely: Lee Pacey, Kenny Smith, Chris Stereki, Darren Coe, Ben Lawrence, Liam Bolton, Taz Chizongo (Austin Dieper 55), David Wilson (Richard Chadwick 65), Andrew Claydon, Adam Murray, Luke Parkinson
Booking: Wilson 45
Goal: Chadwick 73
Vote for your man of the match. When this vote closes next Saturday the website player of the season will be revealed.
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