Acle win Anglian Combination title for the first time
Acle have celebrated the centenary of their affiliation to the Football Association by winning the Anglian Combination title for the first time – with a game to spare.
Their 5-0 romp at North Walsham on Saturday ended Cromer Town's hopes of defending the crown they snatched – at Acle's expense – on the final day of last season.
They will receive the Sterry Cup after Friday's last fixture of the season, at home to Mattishall.
'It was wonderful to see the emotion from some of the fans and older committee members who have waited such a long time for this,' said Tony Ward, who jointly manages the team with Martin Sinclair. 'We've won the Mummery Cup before and if we could make it a double by winning it again it would be fantastic. But the Sterry Cup is the big one for us so to win it in our 100th year of affiliation tops everything.'
Although the final scoreline was emphatic Acle led by only a single Karl Howell goal in the interval.
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'It was a combination of nerves and a hard, bobbly pitch,' said Ward. 'Sinny and I gave them a bit of a rollicking at half-time, telling them that in these conditions they needed to play the percentages more and start knocking balls into the corners. But once we got the second all the nerves disappeared and it was comfortable it the end.'
Ricci Butler, one of three players recruited mid-season to bolster last season's team which went so close, killed Walsham off with a hat-trick, the other goal coming from Luke Goreham.
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'Ricci joined us in October and only played in about 20 games. But without his goals we probably wouldn't have won the league. We also brought in Ricky Forder and Darren Cockerill, who have both been outstanding. The difference this season is that last season we thought we could win it whereas this year we really believed it.'
Cromer drew 2-2 at home to fourth-placed Blofield as goals by Antoni Fawkes and Darren Terrington were countered by a brace from Chris Holmes.
Third-placed Spixworth warmed up for the Mummery Cup final with a 7-1 win at relegated Hempnall – the goals shared by Sean Brown, Adam Furgeson, Scott Sell, Garner Flaherty (two), Danny Brown and Jason Armes.
In Division One champions Norwich CEYMS topped the 100-goals mark with a 7-3 win at Corton, G Amis leading the way with a hat-trick.
Second-placed Caister lost 2-1 at Long Stratton but with a game to play should still go up as Stalham remain three points behind with a dramatically inferior goal difference after also losing, at home to Horsford.