Ally lets his seven goals do all the talking
Gorleston hot-shot Ally McKenna let his football do the talking after being criticised for not making the most of his chances in a match last week – netting seven times in a stunning individual scoring feat in the following game.
In a perfect riposte to his manager's comments, McKenna stole the show on Saturday in the Greens' 10-2 Eastern Counties League Premier Division win over rock-bottom Clacton, with Christy Finch also bagging a brace.
'I spoke to Ally and Christy because I didn't think they hit the target enough against Thetford,' said Gorleston manager Stuart Larter. 'Ally has come back straight away and answered that one.'
Larter recalled McKenna, the Greens leading scorer with 15, bagging a similar tally in a cup Premier Cup game for Kirkley and Pakefield, saying: 'He knows where the goal is.'
He added: 'We have had a couple of approaches for Ally but fortunately we have been able to keep him. To score seven goals in a game at that level is quite an achievement. He is the sort of lad you can play in a two up front or on his own because his hold-up play is good. I think the other players wanted me to take him off when he had four goals, probably because of the conversation they were going to have in the bar afterwards. But he is not a lad who shouts too much from the rooftops. He just gets on with what he does with his football. He is quite level-headed.'
Larter, who has enjoyed six wins and a draw in the last seven games, admitted that results had probably exceeded his expectations overall since taking sole control of the side but played down talk of a maiden ECL managerial title success, to add to the six he won as a player with Wroxham. 'I am certainly not talking about a title challenge. If anybody else wants to that's not something we have any control over,' said Larter after the Greens climbed into fifth place.
He felt that Gorleston were reaping the benefits of streamlining their squad. 'We probably had too many players. We were probably in some cases picking the team to keep the players happy rather than picking the team to win games.'
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Larter, in tandem with Richard Daniels, masterminded Gorleston's Norfolk Senior Cup final success over Thetford Town, in a season overshadowed by the death of club president Jimmy Jones. They travel to his old club Wroxham in the quarter-finals next month. The ex-Yachtsmen defender and Kirkley and Pakefield assistant manager took sole control of the Greens in October when Daniels became the Emerald Park director of football, a role he held briefly before leaving to manage Diss Town. 'We have got a good squad of players who are very much together and enjoying their football, which is what happens when you win games.' said Larter.
McKenna's seven goal spree fell just short of Arthur Brooks' Gorleston club record of eight goals in a Yarmouth & District League match against Yarmouth Utd in 1907. Jack Thomas hit eight in the FA Amateur Cup v March Town in September 1926. In the ECL, Ivan Thacker scored nine for Lowestoft in 1935 and there have been three instances of eight including in 2010 when McKenna scored eight in a cup match for Kirkley & Pakefield.