Gorleston 1 Wroxham 0
The opening exchanges were easy on the eye, as both sides looked to get the ball down and play. However the first quarter of an hour passed without any real chances of note.
Gorleston were gaining a hint of momentum as the next 5 minutes progressed and tested Wroxham number one Robert Juhasz for the first time in the 24th minute. Christy Finch bent a left footed free kick round the wall, forcing the big keeper to get down and make a save at his near post.
Three minutes later, Wroxham’s Remi Gordon fired a low shot towards goal from 25 yards, but Eliott Pride got down to make his first save of the night, smothering the ball comfortably.
As the game moved towards the half hour mark the Greens of Gorleston were enjoying the better of possession, with Wroxham looking most threatening on the break.
One such break led to the first substation of the evening, when Stephen Drake had to be replaced after appearing to pull a hamstring in a dash for the ball.
Gorleston broke through the Wroxham rearguard for their best opening of the half in the 41st minute, with a superb threaded ball through to Finch cutting in from the left. However the winger advanced into the box and fired his angled shot high into the side netting, with players well placed across from him in the box.
Wroxham’s Ross Durrant might also feel he should have done better with a sight of goal before the break, but he dragged his shot across the 6 yard box and the ball was cleared.
Half-time: Gorleston 0 Wroxham 0
The second half started brightly, with Joe Marsden curling a shot over the bar early on for the Yachtsmen, closely followed by Gorleston’s danger man Finch shooting a yard wide of Juhasz’s left hand post.
In 55th minute Gorleston left back Steven Taylor pressed forward and rifled in a low drive that Juhasz failed to hold, but dealt with at the second attempt.
Then two minutes later another Gorleston effort, this time from Peter Lambert, curled just past the upright.
The game had reached the hour mark and Gorleston were looking the more likely to find a breakthrough, although Greens keeper Pride was almost left embarrassed by a quick free kick ‘gone wrong’, which bounced back off Gordon and almost presented the forward with an open goal.
With the increasing pressure it seemed a Gorleston goal was inevitable and it arrived in the 64th minute. Chris Sandford ran onto a through ball and shot from 12 yards, with the ball taking deflection that left Juhasz helpless.
The Greens continued to press forward and but for a fingertip save from Juhasz David Hinton would have doubled their lead in the 67th minute.
The pressure seemed relentless and Finch forced another corner in the 70th minute, with Juhasz pushing his angled shot wide of the far stick.
Wroxham managed to settle for five minutes and started to pose some questions themselves, with Gorleston skipper Andy Howell making one particularly crucial block.
However the Yachtsmen were unable to really test Pride and Gorleston hung on for a merited victory.
Final score: Gorleston 1 Wroxham 0
Gorleston: Eliott Pride, Ben Lewis, Steven Taylor, David Hinton, Andy Howell (capt), Josh Armes, Jack Garrod (Reece Hunn ’75), Chris Sandford, Peter Lambert (Keegan Middleton ‘64), Christy Finch, Bradley Hough. Unused subs: Jackson Williams, Lee Roots.
Goals: Sandford ‘64
Wroxham: Robert Juhasz, Joe Marsden, Matthew Halliday, Sam Groves, Ben Price, Sam Harty, Tim Cary (Matthew Doyle ’67), Danny Self (capt), Remy Gordon, Ross Durrant, Stephen Drake (Aaron Sanders ’34). Unused subs: Jack Guyton, Jordan King, Danny Rust.
Referee: Lee Betts
Assistants: Darren Cann and Peter Venables
4th Official: Paul Burnham
Man of the match: Andy Howell (Gorleston)