Norwich United 3 Gorleston 0 – Planters mark defender’s big night by reaching final
- Credit: Archant Norfolk
High-flying Norwich United booked their place in the final of the Norfolk Senior Cup after a much improved second-half performance saw them run out winners against Gorleston.
Three second-half goals saw United secure a tie with King's Lynn Town Reserves or Dereham Town on a special night for Planters defender Steve Shipley, who was making his 500th appearance for the club and was presented with a trophy to mark the achievement before kick-off.
The hosts went into the match 41 points above the Greens in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division but Planters' keeper Jake Jessup was the first to be called into action after eight minutes when he blocked Keegan Middleton's effort off the line after the hosts failed to deal with Matthew Brown's in-swinging corner.
The Greens continued to hold their own, despite occasional glimpses of attacking intent from the hosts, and Jessup was again needed to tip Joel Watt's cross-cum-shot away from goal with 27 minutes played.
United improved as the half went on and their best chance to break the deadlock fell to Matthew Daniels after 32 minutes but Greens keeper George Macrae just beat him to Matt Blake's low ball across the face of goal.
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However four minutes into the second half the tables turned when the hosts made Gorleston pay the price for failing to clear their lines, when Matthew Daniels finished off a well worked team move from inside a crowded penalty box, despite several chances to cut out the move.
Andrew Eastaugh almost doubled the hosts' lead nine minutes later, after heading Blake's cross towards goal but his effort sailed just wide. Blake did extended the hosts' lead after 56 minutes as he turned Speller's cross past Macrae from close range.
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The visitors looked tired after their high tempo first half display and struggled to respond after conceding two goals in quick succession.
Adam Hipperson went close to making it 3-0 after 78 minutes but he could only direct his volley into the side netting.
Despite a late spell of pressure from the Greens, the Planters sealed their place in the final with two minutes to play, when Eastaugh jumped head and shoulders above the visitors defence to head home Hipperson's corner at the near post.
n Last night's Norfolk Senior Cup semi-final between King's Lynn Town Reserves and Dereham Town was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. A date has yet to be re-arranged for the tie to take place.
Lowestoft Town's National League North clash against Worcester City went the same way due to heavy rain. The Trawlerboys are next in action at home to Brackley Town on Saturday.