Depleted Harleston still smash five past the reigning champions

Action from Acle United's game against Harleston Town. Nathan Page, centre, for Harleston, stops the

Action from Acle United's game against Harleston Town. Nathan Page, centre, for Harleston, stops the run of Acle number eight Ian Morgan. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

A much-changed Town side featuring five aged 18 or under, two of them debutants, put in one of the performances of the season to smash reigning champions Acle United 5-0 at Acle on Saturday.

With eight regular players unavailable including Olly Sam Widllis, Ben Furlong, Nick Howell, Paul Bliss and James Pipe, who were on Nick Howells' stag party, top scorer Nathan Russell who was unavailable and Brendan Burke who was suspended, the Town line up had an unfamiliar look about it.

Kieran Passey was drafted in for his first, first team start of the season, teenage duo Jack Barber and Marley Flute made their debuts with Morrissey returning and Declan Povey on the bench.

Town started well and took the lead on 20 minutes when Jordan Blyth finished well. Acle looked to hit back and had a couple of chances but Town defended well and almost doubled their with Delaney and Roberts going close as Town went into the break 1-0 up after an even first half.

A real tough second half looked to be in store, however, what happened defied all expectations. Just 10 minutes into the half Town doubled their lead when Blyth struck again after touching the ball round the on-rushing keeper and finishing from a a tight angle.

Acle began to pile on the pressure but the youthful back four of Flute, Barber, Howard and Hitch were defending superbly, being well marshalled by Howard and Viner. It was Town who scored the third when Delaney got past his man and pulled it back for Passey to arrow it past the keeper. Three soon became four when a good ball from Morrissey found Roberts and he sat the keeper down before chipping the ball over him, much to the delight of the travelling Town fans.

In the closing stages substitute Russell capped a fine day for Town when he produced a good finish to score his first goal since rejoining the club from Kirkley.

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A great performance from Town with some excellent debuts mixed with real leadership performances from the experienced players. It was a great way to go into last night's (Wednesday's) Senior Cup semi-final.

Harleston: Viner, Hitch, Howard, Barber, Flute, Passey, Roberts, Page, Delaney (Povey), Morrissey (C Russell) Blyth.