Harleston Town hope to bounce back from title blow and earn promotion to Eastern Counties League

Andrew Collison celebrates with his Spixworth players at full-time at Harleston. Picture: ANTONY KEL

Andrew Collison celebrates with his Spixworth players at full-time at Harleston. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

The season may have come to a painful finish for Harleston but the Anglian Combination Premier Division runners-up have ambitious plans for the future.

An outstanding winning streak of 18 matches saw Adam Gusterson's team take the title race to the final day of the season – when they hosted leaders Spixworth.

The visitors proved to strong at Wilderness Lane though, edging a hard fought encounter 2-0 to lift the Sterry Cup on the pitch afterwards ahead of their promotion to the Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League.

That will see Spixworth move to the Football Development Centre at Bowthorpe so that they can host matches at step six of the non-league pyramid and Gusterson hopes Harleston will be able to join them at that level.

More: Spixworth settle epic Anglian Combination title tussle with Harleston Town in front of big crowd

'We want to go up, that's simply what we want to do, we haven't got the facilities at the minute,' the Magpies boss said. 'We've got a lot going for us but we haven't got floodlights, we're trying to work on that and the plan is that we can try and go one better next season and win the division, which we've never done, and then go up.

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'That's the plan, exactly what Spixworth have done. They've won the division and now they're going up but we want to do it at our own home, that is our vision so that's what we're working towards as a football club.'

While the south Norfolk side were left frustrated with their performance in the title decider, and the confusing award of the opening goal when an initial offside was overturned, Gusterson admitted Spixworth deserved the victory.

More: Spirit of injury-hit squad to secure Anglian Combination Premier Division title thrills Spixworth boss

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'We grew into the game and then I think the goal really knocked the stuffing out of us because I thought we were starting to get on the front foot,' he said. 'We missed a couple of chances, a couple of good openings which didn't quite fall to us.

'Then the goal was a real soft goal, I'm not really sure how it's gone in, the linesman's put his flag up for offside, the referee's overruled him, which I always find quite baffling when the linesman is there to give offsides.

'But I'm not making excuses, I thought they were the better side and deserved to win the game, so from our point of view we've got to look at that, go into next season and try to go one better.'

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