Harleston Town’s title hopes receive a huge boost


- Credit: Archant

The race for the Anglian Combination Premier Division title took a dramatic twist on Monday morning - with Harleston Town now right in the thick of the battle for the Sterry Cup.

A solitary goal from skipper Nick Howell 12 minutes from time was enough to hand Town all three points in a close encounter at a strong and in-form Mulbarton Wanderers side.

The hard-fought 1-0 win could turn out to be vital, with long-time leaders Spixworth suffering a shock 3-1 home defeat to St Andrews, their first of the season.

They are now just eight points clear at the top, with their rivals having two games in hand, and the two sides set to meet on the final day.

Harleston started their game well and almost took the lead on five minutes when former Mulbarton player James Pipe hit the bar. Town shaded the chances in the first half, with Howell also going close as the first half ended goalless.

Harleston were on the front foot again in the second half, with Howell and Delaney both squandering good chances. Mulbarton then began to enjoy their best spell of the game and ramped up the pressure on the Town goal.

However, Adam Gusterton's side survived and found the winner on 78 minutes when Howell ghosted in and sent in an effort which went in the post to earn Harleston a narrow victory.

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It was an important win for Town, their 14th league win in a row since losing to Spixworth in December.

With five games left to play, Town must win them all, including the final game of the season at home to Spixworth on May 6, to guarantee winning the title.

Their hectic run-in starts with a home fixture against relegated Cromer Town on Saturday (1.30pm) and continues the following Wednesday evening with another home match against second from bottom Kirkley and Pakefield Reserves (6.30pm).

Spixworth are at home to Mulbarton on Saturday and also have home advantage on Wednesday against Norwich Ceyms.

Elsewhere on Easter Monday Acle were 2-0 winners over Blofield and Reepham beat Norwich Ceyms 5-2. James Benrose got the only goal of the game as Long Stratton beat Waveney.