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By GAVIN CANEY, Sports Reporter
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Reffley Royals joint-boss Robbie Back hailed his side’s bravery after they came from behind to lift the Norfolk Junior Cup by beating Harleston Town at Carrow Road last night.
Hadlee Wright had given Town the lead before the break but second-half goals from Tom Anderson and Danny Jezeph secured Royals’ victory.
Back said: “In the second half we were superb. Losing here last year hurt us and we were absolutely fantastic after the break. Harleston were the far better side in the first half but we dug deep, so deep, and I’m so proud of everyone. I’m lost for words and you could see at the end how much this meant to us.”
Royals were hoping to avenge their defeat in last season’s final to UEA but it was the Anglian Combination Division Two champions Harleston who started brighter with James Trudgill causing problems with his probing runs from midfield.
The first chance of note fell to the men in white and black but Kieran Passey’s header drifted harmlessly wide.
And it was that man Trudgill again who continued to impress when he raced forward and found Wright with a carefully-weighted through ball. However, the striker’s close control let him down and the ball rolled into the grateful arms of Royals’ shot-stopper Kevin Cross.
King’s Lynn-based Reffley began to work their way into the game and it took an outstanding block from Harleston striker Passey – in his own box –- to stop Anderson from opening the scoring.
That elusive goal did come just minutes later when Royals were caught out by a long ball from Lee West, leaving Wright time and space to slot home coolly from close range.
David Norman nearly doubled Craig Trudgill side’s lead in the 21st minute when his looping cross hit the bar before Anderson went close with a speculative long-range effort.
As the chances continued, Danny Jezeph’s goal-bound effort was blocked outstandingly by Marc Pearce, before impressive Harleston wideman Jake Imrie missed a sitter with the goal at his mercy.
Almost instantly Reffley right-back Chris Maslin’s rasping half-volley struck Harleston’s crossbar before Aaron Proctor and Robert Palmer also went close to an equaliser.
And there was still time for Wright’s pace to terrorise Reffley again but this time the classy hitman had three efforts blocked in quick succession as his side took a 1-0 lead into the break.
Wright spurned a glorious chance to grab his – and his side’s second –five minutes into the second half. But instead of passing the ball into the net, like he had done before, he opted for a clever chip that sailed comfortably into Cross’ arms.
Anderson equalised in the 53rd minute when his half-volley on the turn found the top corner. Paul Bliss fired over seconds later as his side looked to go back in front but Harleston’s second-half misery continued when Anderson’s shot was blocked, only for Jezeph to turn the rebound in to complete Reffley’s comeback.
Cross saved well from Trudgill as the game continued at a breathless pace but it eventually slowed with Back and Marc Curson’s side seeing their victory out pretty comfortably – one scare aside when Bliss headed against the bar – to lift the trophy.
• Reffley: Cross, Maslin, Barr, Frary (Childs, 60), Fountain, Wilson, Jezeph (Parkes, 76), Proctor, Blake, Palmer, Anderson (Joyce, 90).
Subs not used: Black, Day.
• Booked: Anderson, Childs, Fountain.
• Goal: Anderson (53), Jezeph (58).
• Harleston: Shannon, Bliss, West (Rogers, 86), Pearce, London, Norman, Goodwin-Wright (Powell, 90), Trudgill, Wright, Passey (Rogers, 74), Imrie.
Subs not used: Bicker, Weatherley.
• Booked: Passey, Pearce.
• Goal: Wright (16).
• Referee: J. Chapman
• Attendance: 945.