Late Goals Sink Greens
Gorleston may have lost to two late goals but their destiny is still in their own hands.
If the Greens win all their remaining ten matches, which would have to include victories over Felixstowe in a fortnights time then Mildenhall on 4th April, they would achieve one point more than those other sides could reach...
Ricci Butler made two changes for this clash against the leaders. Isaac Burrage and Keegan Middleton dropped to the bench and Connor Ingram and Joel Watts started with George Yusuff returning to the back four.
The pitch looked in great condition, ideal to knock the ball around on but, as it turned out, this wasn't a game for the purists with both sides favouring a direct approach during the first half. But it was a tense, enthralling match all the same.
Gorleston began attacking up the slope and the opening stages were played at a frenetic pace with Mildenhall having the edge.
The fourth minute saw the only shot in the game which forced either keeper to make a save but it was easy for Taurean Molloy from George Tolliday's effort.
The hosts then had a free kick awarded on the edge of the box for handball, it must have been very close to being inside the area, but Chris Bacon was unable to trouble Molloy with the kick.
The Greens defended strongly and looked able to cope with their opponents direct approach with Aaron Taylor and Yusuff winning most of the aerial battles.
Gorleston grew into the game and began to ask their hosts some questions and, four minutes before the break, came the Greens best chance of the half.
Kyle Ingram hit a first time cross to the far side of the penalty area where Kyle Baker chipped it back in front of goal to where Connor Ingram was poised to head goalwards, but keeper Josh Pope palmed the ball off the strikers head.
Playing down the slope in the second half, the Greens began to try and knock the ball around a bit.
Seven minutes into the half, Luke Goreham drilled a shot goalwards but it curled wide.
Connor Ingram then turned his defender but could only fire his shot over the bar.
Mildenhall did have the ball in the net from a corner in the 71st minute but the officials spotted that Dan Brown had turned it in with his hand, for which the striker received a yellow card.
The game was finely balanced, on a knife edge, with both sides trying to create an opening but both teams were also defending well and it was looking increasingly like finishing goalless.
Until the 79th minute.
A long ball was half cleared with Mildenhall retrieving and sending Brown down the Mildenhall right. He squared the ball across the box, bisecting Molloy and Harley Clements, and Steve Spriggs arrived to tuck the ball in.
Gorleston were forced to press forward, leaving themselves stretched at the back, but couldn't test the goalkeeper and the game was wrapped up in the first minute of stoppage time.
A Molloy punt was flicked on but the ball was thumped clear by the Hall defence. Bacon raced away squaring the ball into the middle for Brown to to take a touch and tuck away neatly.
It was harsh on the Greens who didn't deserve to lose.
Gorleston: Taurean Molloy, Harley Clements (c), Kyle Ingram (Isaac Burrage 85), Jacob Short, George Yusuff, Aaron Taylor, Luke Goreham, Peter Oldham (Keegan Middleton 72), Kyle Baker, Connor Ingram, Joel Watts (Damon Wise 85)
Bookings: Yusuff 65; K Ingram 83
Mildenhall: Josh Pope, Jacob Brown, Joe Asensi, Matt Mitchell-King, Arran Mackay, Gareth Simpson (c), Stephen Spriggs, Matt Green, Chris Bacon, Lee Clift (Dan Brown 52), George Tolliday (Max Melanson 72)
Bookings: Bacon 85; Asensi 90+3
Goals: Spriggs 79; D Brown 90+1
Ref: Nathan Walker
|0||Other efforts on target||1|
|4||Other efforts off target||1|
|0||Other efforts against woodwork||0|
|9||Free kicks for||13|