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East Harling make club history with promotion to Anglian Combination Premier Division

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For the first time in their 102-year history, East Harling will be playing Fosters Solicitors Anglian Combination Premier Division football next season.

A run of 12 victories and two draws either side of Christmas propelled the Green Army up the table, having found themselves sitting seventh in early November.

And a top two finish was guaranteed on Tuesday evening when league-leading Aylsham ran out 3-0 winners at third-placed Sprowston.

East Harling will be playing Premier Division football next term. Picture: Mark Bullimore
East Harling will be playing Premier Division football next term. Picture: Mark Bullimore

Promotion is another feather in the cap for manager Stacey Lawrence, who in his six full seasons in charge has now guided the village club to three cup finals and two promotions.

“It’s a massive achievement for the club,” said Lawrence. “When I first took over it was only meant to be for a year to help keep the club afloat.

“In the previous two or three years they were regularly in the bottom five of Division Two and struggling.

“The first year was hard but we managed to keep the club going and we’ve just built from there, all the way to a Carrow Road cup final and now promotion to the Premier Division.

“I might be the orchestrator, but this is a real collective effort from a very committed group of people and players.”

It could get even better for East Harling tomorrow when they play host to Sprowston as the season concludes (2.30pm).

Three points for Lawrence’s men – coupled with Aylsham failing to win at home against Bungay Town – would see them go up as champions.

Lawrence added: “It’s nice to have promotion in the back pocket but we’d love to win the title as well.

“It might be a slim chance but Bungay beat us at our place so they’re capable of causing a shock.

“And Sprowston might still go up if they finish third with Heacham potentially going up in the Premier, so it’s a massive match for both of us.

“Hopefully with promotion secured we can take the shackles off, play well and enjoy ourselves.”

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