Gorleston 6, CRC 1
With manager Stewart Larter on holiday, Kevin Gook took charge of the team which showed three changes from the side that had beaten league leaders Mildenhall in midweek.
Elliot Pride returned in goal, Jack Marsden replaced the injured Carl Poppy at right back and Bradley Hough started, with Keegan Middleton dropping to the bench.
The Greens started brightly, dominating the opening passage of play and took the lead after nine minutes.
Jack Garrod, popping up on the left, cut inside onto his right foot. Spotting the keeper off his line, Garrod hit a strike from 25 yards which curled over the keeper and into the top corner of the goal, for his third in three games.
Garrod was also involved in Gorleston’s second in the 21st minute. He ran at the CRC defence and was fouled. However, the referee played a good advantage with the ball falling to Bradley Hough in the box. Hough showed good close control to turn and drill the ball into the net.
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Elliot Pride had to be alert a minute later when a slip at the back allowed Liam Hurst in, but Pride saved with his feet.
It was 3-0 after 24 minutes. Hough dribbled into the box, beat his man and slotted the ball low, past the keeper from an acute angle, into the goal for his second of the match.
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Gorleston were cutting through the CRC defence at will and could have had a fourth when Ally McKenna got to the byline and pulled the ball back to Christy Finch in the box. Finch had time to take a touch and place the ball wide of the keeper but it rebounded back off the foot of the post.
Four minutes before the break Hough came close to completing a first half hat trick when he burst into the box on the left and hit a strike with the outside of his right foot towards the far post, but it drifted wide.
Three minutes into the second half Gorleston scored their fourth.
Gary Williams had replaced the injured Garrod at half time. The ball was returned to him following a corner and he whipped a perfect cross into the box, allowing Finch to guide a header past the keeper into the net.
Perhaps understandably the Greens took their foot slightly off the pedal for a while with the game all but won.
Kieren Westwood sidefooted a shot just over after 56 minutes then, just after the hour, Blaine Hudson saw his header from a corner kicked off the line. Macauleigh Richards thumped his follow up volley wide.
However, it was Gorleston who scored next. Hough again ran into the box on the left, where he hit a low shot which beat the keeper at his near post to complete his first hat trick for the club.
This was Hough’s fifth goal in the last four games, and his eleventh of the season, which is just one short of his total for the previous two seasons combined.
It was six in the 69th minute. That man Hough again hit a fierce strike from 25 yards which keeper Ryan Dunn threw himself to his right to keep out with a good save. The ball bounced back out to McKenna following up who squared it across the six yard box to where Chris Sandford was waiting to tap it in.
With time running out Gorleston looked like they would keep a rare clean sheet but that was not to be with Bobby Joe Taylor firing in a consolation for CRC with four minutes left.
The Greens could have added another in the dying minutes. Dunn pulling off another great save from a Williams effort. Shortly after Williams had to be carried off with a groin strain that will keep him out for a couple of weeks and, having used all the subs, the Greens saw the game out with ten men.
It’s now four games unbeaten in all competitions for the Greens and, after a difficult September and October, the feel good factor is back at Emerald Park.
• Gorleston: Elliot Pride, Jack Marsden, Reece Hunn, Zac Clarke (Chris Sandford 61), Josh Armes, Andy Howell, Jack Garrod (Gary Williams 46), David Hinton, Ally McKenna, Christy Finch, Bradley Hough (Keegan Middleton 69)
Booking: Marsden 74
Goals: Garrod 9; Hough 21, 24, 64; Finch 48; Sandford 69
• CRC: Ryan Dunn, Mitchell Hancock, Kieren Westwood, Ryan Horne (Sam Hope 65), Connor Smith, Blaine Hudson, Matthew Lowe (James Akintunde 54), Liam Hurst, Macauleigh Richards, Owen Curwen (Lamel Howell 54), Bobby Joe Taylor
Booking: Hancock 46
Goal: Taylor 86
• Attendance: 92