Harleston FC – Carrow Road beckons

Harleston's Norfolk Junior Cup quarter-final tie against Gimingham.

Gimingham 1, Harleston Town 2 (after extra time 1-1 after 90 mins)

Harleston Town once more find themselves just one game away from a Carrow Road cup final appearance after reaching the Norfolk Junior Cup Semi Finals for the second season in succession thanks to 2-1 extra time victory away at North East Norfolk League champions Gimingham on Saturday.

Gimingham had not lost a home game this season and had already claimed the scalp of two other Anglian Combination division two sides at their ground in this competition and upon arrival it was easy to see how. The playing surface looked more like a mole farm than a football pitch with huge dangerous mole hills covering its surface, coupled with a severe slope and a near on gale force wind it was clear from the off that Town would have to be at their best to take anything from the game.

The opening few minutes were scrappy with both teams adapting to the conditions, however, it was Town who had the first chance when James Rogers found himself in space in the area however his shot was well saved by the Gimingham keeper. Despite playing against the slope it was the home side who settled quickest as Town were two hurried in possession, with many loose balls going astray. On the 25 minute mark Gimingham should have taken the lead when their striker found himself with just Shannon to beat from 6 yards, however, Shannon stood tall and Lee West managed to get a toe in and divert on to the post.

Harleston started the second half, very well despite now kicking up the hill. Town found themselves in good positions time and time again, however, a mixture of good goalkeeping and poor final balls denied them from breaking the deadlock with Wright, Norman & Imrie all going close. The hosts still looked dangerous on the counter but the back 5 of Shannon, West, Pearce, London & Bliss were all defending superbly. Town began to dominate proceedings, however, it looked like one goal would win it and a quick Gimingham breakaway at the other end resulted in another smart Shannon stop. With ten minutes remaining Trudgill was introduced into the fray and his introduction reaped instant rewards as within a few minutes of coming on Town mounted a quick counter attack and Trudgill latched onto a good pass from Hadlee Wright before hitting a fine first time effort from the edge of the box into the far top corner of the net to give Town the lead. It looked like this late strike would be enough to snatch victory for the visitors, however, in the final minute of the game Gimingham were awarded a dubious free kick 30 yards out which looked destined for the top corner, but somehow Shannon pulled off a great save to keep it out, only to see the ball come back off the post to the feet of a Gimingham player who duly scored to send the tie to extra time.

The hosts tails were up at the start of extra time, and Shannon was alert from kick off to make another save, however, the remainder of the extra time belonged to Town as their fresh legs and pace in attack began to pay dividends. 5 minutes into the half a deep corner from the excellent West was met by skipper London who smashed home to give Town the lead once more. As the hosts pushed men forward Town had further chances to increase their lead with Imrie, Trudgill, Wright & Weatherley all going close. Despite a nervy last couple of minutes Town held on to book their place in the semi finals.

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JD YOUNG MAN OF THE MATCH: David Shannon – An excellent performance from the young stopper who made some superb saves. His best display in a Town shirt to date.