Adam Gusterson believes his Harleston Town side have now rid themselves of last season’s hangover.
Eighteen straight victories was not enough for Gusterson’s men to clinch the Anglian Combination Premier Division title in 2016/17, with Harleston losing out on a final-day winner-takes-all clash against Spixworth.
And they were also agonisingly close to a date at Carrow Road, only to be knocked out by Fakenham Town on penalties in the semi-final of the Norfolk Senior Cup.
Results at the start of the new campaign suggested those disappointments were quickly forgotten, with Harleston sitting top of the table after eight straight wins.
However, speaking after his side booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Mummery Cup with a 2-0 win over Mattishall on Saturday, Gusterson feels that it is only recently his team have fully recovered from the previous term’s near misses.
“We might have been winning, but we did not play all that well early on in the season,” said the boss.
“It has been a little difficult to lift everyone because we done so much last season — winning 18 games in a row – but ended up with nothing.
“Every game last season was high pressure because we were always playing catch up.
“We could not afford to lose and that takes more out of players that people know.
“But the lads deserve plenty of credit as well. We were vulnerable at the start of the season, but we have ridden that out without dropping any points.
“We cannot get complacent and certain things still need to gel, but we are now playing like a good side.”
Against Mattishall, creative midfielder Scott Roberts sent Harleston into the break one goal to the good with a curling free-kick that found the net.
A second-half header from James Pipe wrapped up the tie, which also saw Harleston’s latest signing — Ryan Fuller — make his debut.
The attacker, who scored 10 goals for Thetford Town in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division last season, has joined from Harleston’s league rivals Wroxham Reserves.
He has replaced striker Adam Burroughs after the former Diss Town man found his playing time limited.
By chance, Harleston’s next outing pits them away at Wroxham’s second string on Tuesday evening (7.30pm).