Norfolk Senior Cup: Gorleston 3, Norwich United 1
Gorleston began their defence of the Norfolk Senior Cup with a hard-fought victory. Stand-in manager Kevin Gook made just one enforced change to the side that had beaten CRC with Chris Sandford replacing the injured Jack Garrod.
The Greens began well with Christy Finch forcing Ben Nower into a save within 45 seconds, and they dominated possession for the opening quarter of the game.
They almost took the lead in the 13th minute through what would have been a bizarre own goal when Tom Jeal hit a back pass from almost 40 yards which caught his keeper flat footed. Nower couldn't get to it but, luckily for Jeal, the ball went a foot wide of the post.
A Bradley Hough run produced a cross towards Ally McKenna at the back post, but the ball was too far ahead of the striker. After half an hour Finch powered in from the right and hit a low shot which Nower smothered at the near post.
Nine minutes later Gorleston were in front.
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Finch was fouled 30 yards from goal, earning Jon Lovelock a yellow card for the tackle, a decision which incensed his manager Damien Hilton and earnt him a rebuke from the referee.
Hilton's anger was compounded as David Hinton's free kick was only half cleared and fell nicely to Andy Howell 18 yards out. Howell hit it goalwards on the half volley through a crowd of players. Keeper Nower got a hand to it but, as the ball bounced, the spin on the ball took it into the net.
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As the players went off at half-time Hilton was still raging at the referee who eventually had enough and sent him off.
The sending off barely made a difference, however, as Hilton was allowed to stand in the area of the Sailor Brown Stand between the two benches, for the second half.
Within a minute of the restart Gorleston should have increased their lead. Finch, looking offside, was allowed to play on and he squared the ball to an unmarked McKenna in front of goal, but the latter didn't make a clean connection when trying to divert the ball goalwards.
The Greens had begun the half strongly but United were working hard to close down the space, making it difficult for Gorleston to break them down. In the pouring rain the game became bogged down into a midfield battle.
Norwich had their first shot of the game after 55 minutes through a Shaun Howes free kick from the right which floated past Elliot Pride's right hand post.
A minute later they had their second strike at goal and this time it produced an equaliser.
This time it was a free kick on the left, taken by Ian Hunter, aimed at the back post. Pride misjudged the flight of the ball and it went over his head into the net.
Gorleston got hold of the ball again and had a long period of possession without being able to break through the United rearguard until the 69th minute.
Jack Marsden broke forward from his right back berth and knocked the ball into Finch just inside the box. With three defenders around him, Finch created enough space to shoot across the keeper and into the bottom corner of the net.
Six minutes from time another quality strike from Finch ensured victory for his side. McKenna found him in the left side of the box where he turned and again struck the ball past the keeper into the far bottom corner of the net.
The Greens have now beaten Norwich United three times this season and this win made it five games in all competitions without defeat.
• Gorleston: Elliot Pride, Jack Marsden, Reece Hunn, Zac Clarke, Andy Howell, Josh Armes, David Hinton, Chris Sandford, Ally McKenna, Christy Finch (Keegan Middleton, 86), Bradley Hough
Bookings: Sandford (57)
Goals: Howells (39), Finch (69, 84)
• Norwich United: Ben Nower, Steve Shipley, Shaun Howes, Adrian Ager, Jon Lovelock, Tom Jeal, Ian Hunter (Andrew Foulcher, 75), Adam Bennett, Steve Harley, Louis Cutajar (Greg Lake, 75), Lewis Butcher (Mark Baxter, 85)
Bookings: Lovelock (39), Harley (60, 90)
Sent off: Harley (90)
Goal: Hunter (56)
• Attendance: 111