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Football: Harleston up to second after Bank Holiday double

PUBLISHED: 21:46 12 April 2012

Downham Market Res 1 Harleston Tn 5

Town made the long trip to Downham Market on Saturday and produced another fine second-half performance to complete a quickfire Anglian Combination Division Two double over the West Norfolk side.

Town made one change to the side that had beaten Downham 6-1 at the Rec the previous Saturday with James Trudgill arriving late due to work commitments– he dropped to the bench and James Rogers came into the starting XI.

Downham were out of the blocks fast and were determined not to let Harleston play. It looked as if there would be no repeat of the previous week’s comfortable win for Town, as a Downham side strengthened by a couple of first team players took the game to Harleston from the off.

Despite having more of the play, Downham were struggling to create clear-cut chances as Town defended well.

Midway through the first half Harleston took the lead, slightly against the run of play, when David Norman coolly despatched a penalty after the lively Jake Imrie was fouled in the box.

It was hoped Harleston would push on from there, but it was the hosts who continued to push forward and Town had David Shannon to thank for keeping the scores level with a fine save.

On the stroke of half-time Downham deservedly equalised when a loose ball in the box was finished well from 12 yards by the Downham forward.

The response was immediate. Jake Imrie almost scored an incredible goal, dancing through the entire Downham side straight from kick off before dragging his shot wide of the goal.

With just five minutes of the second half gone, Town were back in front when leading scorer Hadlee Wright powered past the Downham defence before smashing a shot low and hard under the keeper.

Town were now well in the ascendancy and two soon became three when skipper Ryan London fired home from the loose ball from close range following a corner.

This third goal seemed to completely knock the fight out of Downham and Harleston looked to capitalise on this. With 20 minutes remaining Town scored their fourth, which was almost a carbon copy of the third when Ryan London smashed home another effort following Jake Imrie’s near-post flick on from a corner.

With 10 minutes remaining Harleston completed the scoring when David Norman showed good strength to nod the ball to the far post for Hadlee Wright to volley home.

Acle United Res 2 Harleston Tn 4

Harleston put in a fine performance to defeat a strong Acle side on Easter Monday, to secure the maximum of six points from two very tough away games over the Easter weekend which sees them rise to second place in the table.

Town named an unchanged starting line-up from Saturday’s win at Downham.

With this being one of Town’s games in hand over the teams around them, it was essential they got something from the game to keep their promotion dreams alive. However, it was always going to be a big task with Acle notoriously strong at home, as well as taking advantage of the first team having no game by naming three senior players in their starting line-up.

Despite the size of the task in front of them, Town rose to the occasion admirably and produced their best away performance this season.

On 20 minutes the impressive Paul Bliss played a great through ball to Hadlee Wright who made no mistake, firing past the onrushing keeper to keep up his remarkable recent scoring record of finding the net in each of his last nine games.

With half time approaching Town got the second goal their play had deserved through Fionn Goodwin-Wright.

With 25 minutes to go Town sub Kieran Passey powered down the right before beating the keeper at the second attempt to give Town a three-goal lead.

But with five minutes Acle pulled a goal back and quickly added a second.

However, Harleston’s nerves were soon calmed when a through ball by Lee West was exquisitely plucked out of the air by Hadlee Wright before finishing superbly from a tight angle to score his 26th goal of the season and secure a deserved three points.

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