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Gorleston, Diss and Thetford all winners

PUBLISHED: 16:58 27 February 2011

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Gorleston, Diss and Thetford were left singing in the rain as only seven matches in the whole Ridgeons League progamme survived a waterlogged weekend.

The promotion-hungry Greens reclaimed second place in the First Division with Darren Cockrill netting the only goal of the game at March while Diss boosted their hopes of going up and went third thanks to their 3-0 win at Downham.

An increasingly-confident Thetford, now seventh, hit visitors Team Bury for six without reply, Matt Blake cracking an impressive hat-trick.

The section is led by Cambridge University Press with 47 points from 24 games to Gorleston’s 43 from 19, Diss’ 42 from 22 and Whitton’s 42 from 18.

Gorleston made two changes from their last game against Diss with Darren Cockrill and Bradley Hough starting in place of Aaron Huggins-Bowers and Ali McKenna, who both dropped to the bench.

Gorleston were forced to make a change in the tenth minute when Kyle Howell fell awkwardly after winning a header and had to be stretchered off and taken to hospital. The injury turned out to be a sprain which will keep him sidelined for two to three weeks.

With Reece Hunn coming on at left-back and DJ Kareche switching to the right It took the Greens a while to get going after that but when they did it was effective.

With half an hour gone a Richard Woodrow pass between defenders put Chris Sandford through on goal. He slotted the ball under Hare’s keeper Lee Brookes, who just managed to get enough on the ball to divert it onto a post and then out for a corner.

But it was a temporary reprieve for March as Gary Williams’ corner found Darren Cockrill, who planted his header firmly into the net for his first goal since rejoining the Greens.

Nine minutes later it could have been two. Williams jinked his way past a number of challenges before a one-two with Richard Woodrow created a shooting opportunity. Brookes saved well, the ball rebounded back onto Woodrow’s chest and headed goalwards but there was little pace on it and a defender got back to clear off the line.

March offered little going forward with Sandford and Woodrow controlling the middle. The Greens were getting joy down both flanks through Williams and Steve Taylor, but all too often the final ball into the box was met by defenders first.

In the second half March looked to be getting on top before Taylor had an effort cleared off the line, Cockrill curled a shot off target and another Taylor shot was deflected as it headed goalwards and the keeper palmed it wide. Woodrow and Mitch Forbes had efforts saved and Taylor had another effort curl over the bar.

Diss had a comfortable win at The Memorial Ground where they were in charge from the start with Jordan Rocastle going close early on. Quinton Young was busy in the home goal and saved well inside the first ten minutes to deny Danny Partridge, Rocastle and George Watts-Sturrock. Downham saw a shot from Brad Lawley well saved by Danny Lloyd.

After 22 minutes Partridge moved on to a through ball before rounding Young to open the scoring. Partridge went close twice more before the second Diss goal arrived in the 38th minute.

Watts-Sturrock sent the ball across from the right for Sam Bryant to tuck the ball in at the near post as he was left in plenty of space. Young made a memorable save to keep out a 25-yard shot as the Tangerines looked for more goals.

Partridge and Bryant were off-target with fair chances at the start of the second half and Mark Shadrack had an effort cleared off the line. Partridge released Luke Catchpole to run and force Young into another great save.

After Diss were awarded an indirect free-kick inside the Downham penalty area Shadrack sent an 83rd minute shot just inside a post to make it 3-0.

Thetford manager Mark Scott said his side are now in a position where they cannot wait for the next game.

Of the win over Team Bury, he said: “It was a pleasing result and one that was due, the way we have been playing. We played some nice football and scored some great goals, none more so than Matt Blake.

“All his goals were from outside the area and were really good strikes. His third was from a free-kick from 28 yards.” Other goals came from Martin Carter, Dan Jones and Sean O’Donnell.

Team spirit was “fantastic”, said Scott. “We are on a really good run with only two defeats this year. One was by Team Bury, the other at King’s Lynn in the semi-finals of the Norfolk Senior Cup, a game we were not really expected to win.”

In the Premier Division, Brantham won 6-4 at hme to Histon Reserves and Mildenhall beat visitors Woodbridge 1-0.

In the First Division, Cambridge University Press won 6-1 at home to Cornard and Long Melford and Halstead drew 1-1.

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