Glory for Greens in Junior Cup
The final of the Norfolk Junior Cup in association with Ball Launcher took place at Carrow Road this evening with Gorleston Reserves getting the better of Sprowston Athletic on the night.
Two first half goals proved enough for the Greens, as Jason Thompson struck on the 4th minute and Daniel Goodrum hit home just after the half an hour mark.
Sprowston’s Chris Curtis scored twice on the night, with his first half strike ruled out for offside and his second coming deep into stoppage time, turning out to be a consolation goal for Athletic.
Gorleston couldn’t have wished for a better start when Jason Thompson was put through on four minutes and drilled a powerful left footed shot into the bottom corner to put his team ahead. The Greens then enjoyed the majority of the possession of the opening stages with Sprowston having to work hard off the ball.
They nearly doubled their lead on ten minutes when Keegan Middleton shaped up to deliver a ball into the box but went for goal instead, his long range effort cannoning off the crossbar.
Sprowston had their first chance from a set piece when Devin Blundell played a deep free kick towards the back post. Two players scrambled to try and get the vital touch, but the ball flew frustratingly past everybody and out for a goal kick.
Gorleston’s Darren Patterson did well to cut in from the right and feed Jay Turner who fired wide. Sprowston then attacked up the other end with Alex Johnson, Max Marsham and Chris Curtis working well in triangles to create a shot for the latter which whistled past the top right corner.
Athletic began to get more of a foothold in the game and were playing some nice football. Kian Smith combined well with Marsham and Danny Nelson on the left of the area to unlock the Gorleston defence. Marsham was then able to receive the ball in the area and get his shot away, but frustratingly sliced wide.
On the half an hour mark, after a spilled save and a block, Curtis finally had it in the net for Sprowston but the celebrations were cut short with the Assistant Referee raising his flag for offside.
Only moments later Gorleston delivered the ultimate sucker punch when Daniel Goodrum doubled their advantage from a corner kick. The centre half hung back during the set piece and capitalised on Sprowston failing to head clear, sticking a leg out to volley home from close range at the back post.
Middleton then looked dangerous out on the left once again, beating the full back and firing a deadly cross along the six yard box which, unfortunately for Gorleston, evaded everybody in the box.
A late challenge from a Gorleston defender in the penalty area saw Sprowston given the perfect chance to get back into the game just before half time. Johnson stepped to take the spot kick, but his effort was tame, with Ryan Hemmings in the Gorleston net diving the right way and able to palm away.
Half Time: Gorleston Reserves 2 – 0 Sprowston Athletic
Neither team started the second half with much urgency, both sides struggling to keep hold of possession and both failing to create any clear cut chances.
Sprowston got the crowd excited on 60 minutes when Marsham and Kirk Appleton shared a couple of aerial passes across the six yard box, with neither of the players ultimately able to steer the ball toward goal. Gorleston then counter attacked but the Athletic back line were able to deal with the danger and win a free kick in the process.
Half way through the second period and it was Middleton causing problems again with another dangerous run cutting in from the left and firing a fierce shot towards goal. The shot was too central however and Ross Farrow was able to claim comfortably.
Daniel Childerhouse was brought on for Sprowston and made an instant impact with a penetrating run in to the box but was eventually forced out and dispossessed by Keith Vincent.
Trying to push forward and get back into the game, the away team on the night created another chance on 75 minutes. A corner was met at the back post by Ben Moon who headed toward the penalty spot for Johnson to hit first time but the midfielder couldn’t keep his shot down, clearing the crossbar.
In the final ten minutes some strong challenges were flying in, with each side having a player written into the Referee’s book. Sprowston tried to push forward but Gorleston looked comfortable at the back and were able to deal with threats comfortably.
Six minutes of stoppage time were announced and Sprowston pushed forward with real intent. With two minutes of added time remaining the game took an interesting turn when Curtis latched onto a through ball and neatly finished from just inside the area to reduce the deficit to a single goal.
A strong challenge saw another Gorleston player receive a yellow card and Sprowston a free kick inside their opposition’s half. Chasing the game they piled everyone forward for the set piece, but whilst the delivery was good, the Gorleston back line stood firm and the Greens not only cleared, but countered to the corner and won a free kick.
The Athletic rear-guard managed to eventually win back possession but the Gorleston midfield did a great job of delaying and intercepting any direct forward passes. In the end, time simply ran out for Sprowston, with Gorleston able to hold on to win the 2019 Norfolk Junior Cup in association with Ball Launcher.
Full Time: Gorleston Reserves 2 – 1 Sprowston Athletic
Thanks to Ball Launcher for sponsoring the 2019 Norfolk Junior Cup Final. To find out more about the Ball Launcher, visit their website www.ball-launcher.com.
A full album from the Norfolk Junior Cup Final can be found here: po.st/DEphoto
Gorleston Reserves: Ryan Hemmings, Sam Ellis, Nathan Welton, Joseph Blake, Keith Vincent, Daniel Goodrum, Keegan Middleton, Matthew Oldham ©, Darren Patterson, Jason Thompson & Jay Turner.
Subs: Reece Hunn, Jacob Short, Harvey Brown, Bobby Self, Ross Goodwin.
Sprowston Athletic: Ross Farrow, Devin Blundell, Danny Nelson, Ben Moon, Tommy Salmon ©, Alex Johnson, Sam Grady, Josh Craske, Chris Curtis, Max Marsham & Kian Smith.
Subs: Kirk Appleton, Liam Clarke, Matthew Downing, Oliver Joyce, Daniel Childerhouse.
Referee: Thomas Harvey
Assistants: Ben Green & Andrew Wilson
Fourth Official: Cameron Brown
Player of the Match sponsored by Ball Launcher: Keegan Middleton (Gorleston Reserves)