1st Team - Report
Date: Saturday 3rd March 2012 - Kick Off: 15:00
Ridgeons Football League - Premier Division
Dragons’ celebrate late Licence equaliser at Gorleston
Gorleston 1 Wivenhoe Town 1
Gorleston: 1) Elliott Pride 2) Kyle Howell 3) Reece Hunn (Jack Marsden 58) 4) Andrew Howell 5) Adam Thurtle 6) Owen Thomson 7) Chris Sandford 8) Gary Williams (Mitch Forbes 67) 9) Bradley Hough (Liam Harvey-Cooper 77) 10) Steve Taylor 11) Christy Finch Unused Subs: 12) Eddie Thompson 17) Jack Garrod
Wivenhoe Town: 1) Ritchie Robins 2) Markey Spindler 3) Ben Lampon (Tom Moore 74) 4) Ryan Brown 5) Tom Cutts 6) Bryan Turner 7) TJ Amass (Liam Dadds 84) 8) Markel Greenidge 9) Ray Catchpole (Ben License 64) 10) Ben Connell 11) Tola Odedoyin
Despite a less than inspiring attacking performance, this encounter saw the Dragons earn a useful point at Emerald Park to edge a tiny bit further ahead of Walsham le Willows near the foot of the Eastern Counties League table.
Although there had been some light rain before the match, the pitch was quite dry and the game was eventually played beneath a veil of hazy sunshine, which at times was warm enough to prompt the unbuttoning of coats.
The Dragons kicked off towards Lowestoft and the opening stages were keenly contested being played at a good pace. The Dragons were first to take a shot on goal but Markel Greenidge’s speculative effort in the first minute was blocked before it had barely entered the penalty area. Gorleston’s first goal attempt came after seven minutes when Hunn turned and hit a half volley that Ritchie Robins saved at the expense of a corner. From the corner Sandford shot over the bar after Ben Lampon’s headed clearance fell to him.
Just two minutes later Ray Catchpole almost gave Wivenhoe the lead after a long throw from Ben Lampon was knocked back to him and he sent a sweet half volley arrowing towards the top left hand corner of the goal. But Pride was equal to it, tipping the ball away for a corner. The Dragons quickly earned a second corner from which Tola Odedoyin climbed high to send a firm header over the crossbar.
It was an even start to the game but Gorleston began to settle and dominate possession, being far more organised in midfield and able to provide service to their forwards and wide players. On seventeen minutes Williams sent over a deep cross to the far post that Ritchie Robins took no chances with and touched away for a corner. Three minutes later Hough cut in to the box after an extended passing move, but he shot straight into the arms of Ritchie. Within sixty seconds Gorleston were on the attack again but Howell shot high and wide from thirty yards.
Gorleston were looking the better team as Williams organised play in the midfield with probing runs and useful passes to the flanks. For their part Wivenhoe defended well, but lacked cohesion in midfield with the wide players being isolated and providing scant service to the forwards. Often the Dragons seemed to panic in possession and simply gave the ball away. Gorleston were however being restricted to long shots and this was a symptom of their frustration at being unable to get through the Wivenhoe rear guard. The best chance of the first half fell to Gorleston’s Finch who, just before the half hour, was put through on the right of the box, but Ritchie Robins reacted brilliantly to keep out the flicked shot from the outside of Finch’s boot. An excellent goal line clearance from Tom Cutts on thirty three minutes kept the scores level after Thomson got in a strong downward header from a corner.
Seven minutes before half time Wivenhoe had a rare shot on goal, again from Ray Catchpole, this time after a deep cross from Tola Odedoyin was headed back from TJ Amass. Gorleston were still on top however and ended the half with a good spell of possession, which led to Tola conceding a free-kick about 25yards from goal and receiving some words of advice from referee Mr Pollard. Finch took the free-kick but curled it harmlessly into the arms of Ritchie Robins, as he had done with a similar effort about a quarter of an hour before.
Wivenhoe started the second half particularly brightly with some good possession, passing and movement and they really took the game to Gorleston in the first five minutes. Markel Greenidge repeated the trick of having the first shot of the half, but his volley was disturbingly wide. Gorleston came back at the Dragons and almost scored as a ball over the top eluded Ryan Brown and Hough looked set to score, but somehow the ball was diverted for a corner. Back at the other end Tola Odedoyin collided with Pride who came off worst and again Mr Pollard and Tola had a little chat.
Three minutes before the hour was up Ben Connell was held back by a Gorleston defender and earned the Dragons a free kick over 40 yards from goal. TJ Amass hit the dead ball to the far post where Ben was on hand to send a header just over the bar and on to the roof of the net. With no breakthrough coming and an hour gone both managers made changes and Ben Licence replaced Ray Catchpole for Wivenhoe. Few, if any clear cut chances were being created although after Howell had headed a free kick wide of the post on sixty-five minutes, Hough was in central position to receive a low cross from Marsden, but he miss-hit his shot ridiculously and the ball spun off his toe like a poorly thrown 3D Frisbee. Gorleston were on top still however, and with seventy-three minutes gone Ritchie Robins was again called into action as he parried and then grabbed an awkward shot at the second attempt. Three minutes later Forbes headed over the bar from the edge of the box after another free-kick.
Although Gorleston were dominant, there looked every chance that Wivenhoe could hold out and it was a big disappointment therefore when on seventy nine minutes Finch broke the deadlock with a low shot just inside the far post after he had combined well with Marsden on the left. Marsden had been fouled by TJ Amass but as TJ apologetically hesitated, half expecting the free-kick, Finch was able to make the space to shoot.
Last season this game would have been lost, but despite their poor showing so far in this game going forward, Wivenhoe rallied and the final minute of normal time saw Marley Spindler send Markel Greenidge away on the right and his cross was smacked into the net at waist height from close range by Ben Licence. The equaliser was unexpected but no less wonderful for that.
Gorleston no doubt feel aggrieved that they didn’t win and the Dragons can feel fortunate that they didn’t lose. However, Wivenhoe did generally defend well and they must be praised for once again rescuing a point with a late goal. It was fitting that Marley Spindler should have had a hand in the equaliser as, along with Ritchie Robins, he was easily the Dragons’ best player on the day. As William Shakespeare might have remarked, all’s well that ends well and this could prove a vital point at the end of the season (well he might not have said the second bit).