Diss Town have a second chance to reach the semi-finals of the Norfolk Senior Cup after it was ruled that their last-eight conquerors — Fakenham Town — had ‘player eligibility issues’ in the original tie.
The First Division Tangerines lost 1-0 to their Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division opponents on February 11, which had seemingly put an end to their Carrow Road hopes.
However, the Norfolk FA announced late last week that due to problems with the registration of at least one Fakenham player, the game will be replayed at Brewers Green Lane tomorrow (February 21).
Were Diss to prosper this time around, it would set up a semi-final date with Almary Green Anglian Combination Premier Division outfit Harleston Town, who beat Norwich CEYMS 2-1 to reach the final four.
A deflected free-kick from Scott Roberts five minutes from time was enough to send Harleston through to semi-finals for the first time in their 130-year history.
Town boss Adam Gusterson went into the quarter-final clash against league rivals CEYMS with a player availability crisis on their hands.
First-team regulars Will Viner, Olly Willis, James Pipe and Nathan Page were all unavailable, with goalkeeper David Shannon promoted from the reserves along with Cam Russell, Paul Bliss, Dec Povey and Charlie Hitch, and new signing Jordan Blyth was named in Gusterson’s 16-man squad.
With so much at stake in the game, the opening period saw the two sides almost cancel each other out, with little in the way of goalmouth action as the last two Anglian Combination teams left in the competition went toe to toe.
Harleston made a perfect start to the second half when the outstanding Matt Howard scored to give the home side the lead.
It looked like Town would push on from here, however they were pegged back midway through the second half when Ashley Baxter scored a screamer for CEYMS.
The tie was now finely poised, with both teams tiring it looked like the next goal would win it.
With five minutes remaining, Town were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the CEYMS box, Roberts stepped up and his effort was deflected past the stranded visiting keeper and into the net to give Harleston the lead.
Harleston’s tie against either Diss or Fakenham will be played at Norwich’s Football Development Centre on Wednesday, March 15 (7.30pm).