Norfolk Senior Cup: Harleston’s maximum men poised for biggest test yet against Great Yarmouth
PUBLISHED: 07:00 15 October 2016
Harleston Town manager Adam Gusterson is looking forward to seeing how his all-conquering side cope with their biggest test of the season so far.
Town have started the campaign in quite sensational style, winning all seven of their fixtures in the league and cup by convincing margins.
They have averaged over five goals per game while putting together their 100pc record, while only one goal has been conceded in over 10 hours of football. It’s an outstanding record that Gusterson is rightly proud of – but he knows it will provide no guarantees when his side play host to Great Yarmouth Town in the second round of the Norfolk Senior Cup today (1.30pm).
As well as playing at a higher level the Bloaters have also made a decent start to their first season back in the top flight of Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division, standing eighth in the table after 11 games going into this weekend’s break for county cup action.
“This will certainly be our biggest test of the season so far and we’re all really looking forward to it,” said Gusterson, 29, who manages the team with fellow former Norwich City youth team player Ollie Willis.
“It will be interesting to see how the players cope against a team from a higher level.
“They have done brilliantly so far, and I must admit they have even surprised me a little bit. We had a good pre-season and I knew we had a good squad but I wasn’t expecting us to start with one big win after another. To be fair it hasn’t always been easy and in our last game (a 3-0 win over Norwich CEYMS) we had to work hard to come away with all three points, but it couldn’t really have gone any better so far.”
Gusterson, who has been at the helm at Harleston for a year now while also managing Norfolk’s Under-18 side, is hoping for a little help from the sidelines as his team attempt to spring an upset and book a place in the last 16 of the competition.
“The home attendances have been picking up a bit this season with the team doing well and hopefully there will be a decent crowd on Saturday,” he said. “It would certainly give the boys a lift if there was a good turn-out, that’s for sure.”
Harleston’s match against the Bloaters is one of five ties to pit Anglian Combination sides up against those from the league above them. North Walsham Town from Division One also have home advantage against a Downham Town outfit who have made an impressive start to their campaign in the second tier of the Thurlow Nunn League, as do Caister against Thetfford Town.
The seasiders stand sixth in the Combination’s top flight while their visitors have struggled in recent weeks after making a good start to the season at a higher level. There is also the potential for an upset at Diss Town, who host Bradenham Wanderers, and Swaffham, who are at home to an Attleborough outfit who were playing in the Norfolk Junior Cup last season.
The only all Thurlow Nunn tie sees Fakenham Town entertain a Gorleston side who are still unbeaten in the league after 10 games. Twelve teams are battling for a place in next Friday evening’s third round draw where they will be joined by Dereham, Wroxham, Norwich United and King’s Lynn Town.