FA CUP extra-preliminary round: Gorleston 3, Stanway Rovers 1
Gorleston were unchanged from the side that had performed so well to thrash Norwich United in midweek.
The Greens didn’t quite match that performance in this game but still did enough to win and showed glimpses of the football they are capable of that should thrill the crowds at Emerald Park this season.
Stanway began on the front foot pushing Gorleston back but it was the home side who had the first real opportunity when Liam Harvey-Cooper was picked out on the left. He cut in on his right foot and fired goalwards but Rovers keeper Paul Rutherford dived to save.
Stanway responded with Kevin Coyle allowed to run virtually unchallenged from halfway but he dragged his shot wide from 10 yards out.
Three minutes later Ally McKenna found Steve Taylor whose first time cross picked out Harvey-Cooper but his shot was over.
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It was Stanway who had the next chance when Mark Maher was found after good interplay but he couldn’t find the target.
A minute later McKenna had a shot defelcted wide after good play between Taylor and Harvey-Cooper before Kevin Mcleod dragged an effort wide at the other end.
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Next it was Jack Garrod’s turn to put a shot wide then on the stroke of half time Harvey-Cooper and McKenna created an opening but, as McKenna tried to feed Harvey-Cooper and give him virtually an open goal, the ball appeared to strike the arm of a grounded defender, preventing it reaching its destination, but this was not seen by the referee.
Two minutes into the second half Harvey-Cooper was again at the centre of penalty appeals when he seemed to be bundled over from behind however, this time, the linesman was already flagging to give him offside.
The Greens had begun this half better and Garrod saw a shot saved then Taylor had a shot deflected wide.
After 55 minutes Gorleston took the lead.
Taylor threaded a ball through which Garrod ran onto on the left. As the keeper raced from his line Garrod picked his spot and slotted the ball past him into the corner of the goal.
However, ten minutes later Stanway equalised. A deep cross saw an apparent lack of communication between the Gorleston defence and Elliot Pride in goal, allowing Lee Townrow to head into the goal.
The Greens looked rocked by this and shortly after Maher found himself clear but he was denied by a fine save from Pride low down.
Presumably not fancying a midweek replay in Essex, Gorleston made changes in attack. Bradley Hough had already replaced Jack Marsden, then a double change saw Garrod and Harvey-Cooper replaced by Keegan Middleton and Christy Finch.
With four minutes remaining a deep free kick from Carl Poppy found Hough at the far post and he managed to squeeze his shot through the players in front of him and into the net.
With Stanway pressing for an equaliser, Gorleston were able to break in injury time with John Bell storming forward into the Rovers box where he squared to Finch who calmly took his time and fired home the third and secure a trip for his team to Needham Market in the next round.
• Gorleston: Elliot Pride, Carl Poppy, Reece Hunn, Jack Marsden (Bradley Hough, 64), Andy Howell, Eddie Thompson, Jack Garrod (Keegan Middleton, 75), John Bell, Ally McKenna, Steve Taylor, Liam Harvey-Cooper (Christy Finch, 75)
Goals: Garrod (55), Hough (86), Finch (90)
• Stanway Rovers: Paul Rutherford, Andrew Joslin, Pinto Adalberto, Michael Fitzgibbon, Matt Cripps, Ross Norfolk (Jeffery Sheppard, 75), Daniel Slatter, Mark Maher (Jake Plane, 83), Lee Townrow (Liam Whittaker, 89), Kevin Mcleod, Kevin Coyle
Goal: Townrow (65)
• Attendance: 85