Three Points on the Road
Two goals at the end of the first half helped pave the way to three points for the Greens against hosts who were reduced to ten men for 50 minutes.
Stewart Larter made just one change from the side that had beaten Fakenham last time out. Sean Perfect was out ill with Aarron Taylor returning to the starting line up in an unfamiliar right back position.
Despite the recent inclement weather the pitch was looking good and firm.
It was Hadleigh who came close to breaking the deadlock in the 9th minute. Jackson Ramm was robbed by Ben Regan on the Gorleston right. He whipped in a low cross to Kyron Andrews in the box who flicked it goalwards but straight in to keeper Scott Foreman's arms.
The Greens responded with their first real passing move, two minutes later, which ended with Ramm shooting over but Gorleston really should have taken the lead in the 16th minute.
Ramm was involved again, getting to the byline on the right before crossing the ball to an unmarked Ross Gilfedder in front of goal three yards out. Somehow the striker, who had hit the net four times in the previous match, skied the ball over the unguarded goal. I think I spotted a bobble!
Two minutes later Gorleston were forced into a change. A strong arm from Kris Rose gave Ismael Fatadjo a shove whilst he was running at pace. The Gorleston youngster was propelled towards the metal barrier surrounding the pitch. Luckily he managed to just avoid smashing his head on the metal bar but unluckily he face-planted the concrete path around the pitch.
Credit to Rose who was immediately over the barrier to call for the physio and stay with Ish to check on him until treatment arrived. Obviously he had to be replaced and was left with an egg-sized lump on his forehead.
It was Hadleigh's turn to come close to scoring after 28 minutes when a race between Foreman and Danny Smy saw the striker get to the ball just outside the box a fraction of a second before the keeper and poke the ball towards goal. As everybody held their breath Owen French covered and got back in time to clear the ball from in front of the goal line.
From the resulting corner Foreman reacted quickly to tip an effort from close in over the bar.
The game turned in Gorleston's favour five minutes before the break.
Gilfedder hit a cross cum shot which Hadleigh keeper Nick Punter parried across goal from the near post. It arrived at Joel Watts at the back post, he steadied himself and drilled towards the net only to be denied by a diving save from Ben Golding's hands. Unfortunately for Hadleigh, Golding was a defender not the goalkeeper so a penalty was awarded.
To rub salt into the wounds, as it was an obvious goal scoring opportunity, Golding had to be sent off although the hosts were not happy with the decision.
Watts stepped up to confidently dispatch the penalty and put his side ahead.
The Greens almost found themselves back on level terms four minutes later when Felix Vardon-Barber all too easily got through the Gorleston defences and raised into the box but took a heavy touch which knocked the ball into Foreman's grasp.
Gorleston doubled their lead four minutes into first half stoppage time. Gilfedder burst into the right of the box and pulled the ball back to Watts. Watts fed Nathan Russell and he slotted it into the net despite the best efforts of a defender on the line.
Anybody who thought that, against ten men with a two goal lead, the second half would be plain sailing doesn't know Gorleston very well!
Watts had a 22 yard free kick kept out by a diving save from Punter but, on the hour, the hosts pulled a goal back.
Andrews had plenty of time to put in a cross from the left to where the experienced Smy arrived unmarked between defenders to steer the ball into the goal.
Despite being a man short Hadleigh were having the better of the play with the Greens struggling for any cohesion and the hosts were looking the most likely to score next.
After 74 minutes Smy out manouvered a number of challenges but shot straight to the keeper.
Two minutes later the Greens possibly should have scored. Ramm powered into the box. His shot was saved. The ball fell to Mitch McKay whose first effort was blocked, the ball rebounding back to him but this time he fired over the bar.
It was set to be a nervy last ten minutes for Gorleston who were almost undone by a simple pass through the middle of the defence for Regan to run on to but he screwed his shot well wide.
With five minutes of normal time remaining the Greens more or less sealed the points.
Kyle Ingram tried his luck from the edge of the box, the ball ricocheted into the path of Peter Lambert who fired in to the roof of the net.
Hadleigh were again incensed, claiming a handball, the referee didn't see one however.
The goal ensured the seven minutes of injury time were not as nervy as they could have been! The win means the Greens have now only dropped four points in the last seven games.
Gorleston: Scott Foreman, Aarron Taylor (c), Luke Goreham, Isaac Burrage (Peter Lambert 65), David Shade, Owen French, Ismael Fatadjo (Nathan Russell 18), Jackson Ramm, Ross Gilfedder, Mitch McKay (Kyle Ingram 80), Joel Watts
Bookings: French 65; Shade 66; Russell 84; Lambert 90+2
Goals: Watts (p) 40; 45+4 Russell; 85 Lambert
Hadleigh: Nick Punter, James Ross, Kris Rose (c), Michael Barwick, Jack Bence (Ben Elliott 46), Ben Golding, Felix Vardon-Barber (Kyle Ferguson 57), Tom Driscoll, Danny Smy, Kyron Andrews, Ben Regan (Elliott Ballard 88)
Bookings: Rose (57)
Sent off: Golding 40
Goal: Smy 60
Ref: Ady Sannerude
|5||Other efforts on target||5|
|4||Other efforts off target||3|
|0||Other efforts against woodwork||0|
|7||Free kicks for||13|