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Stacey Lawrence targets promotion for East Harling after beating Hadley & Ottaway Anglian Combination Division One leaders Yelverton

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East Harling manager Stacey Lawrence believes after beating leaders Yelverton he sees no reason why his side cannot challenge for promotion, writes Alex Moss.

LEADERS BEATEN: East Harling players celebrate going ahead against leaders Yelverton on Saturday
LEADERS BEATEN: East Harling players celebrate going ahead against leaders Yelverton on Saturday

Daniel Bareham’s 76th-minute header clinched a 1-0 win for Harling against the Hadley & Ottaway Anglian Combination Division One table toppers at the Memorial Field on Saturday.

In a congested top end of the table, the defeat for Yelverton saw them drop from first to fifth, with Mundford taking hold of top spot and Lawrence’s Harling moving up one place from fourth to third.

With the top five currently separated by just two points, the title and promotion picture could change again this weekend, with Harling set to visit basement dwellers North Walsham Town tomorrow (2.30pm).

Now just one point off the summit, and outside of the top-two promotion places on goal difference, following last weekend’s impressive win against Yelverton, Lawrence believes Harling can push for a place in the Premier Division next season.

“There’s no reason why we can’t,” the Harling boss said. “We need to be gritty and dogged, and we’re going to have to win ugly at times.

“The last few games we’ve beaten Staltham, who were the most in-form team in the league.

“We beat them 3-0, kept a clean sheet and then we’ve beaten Yelverton, which was absolutely brilliant.

“We had to dig deep. Our goalkeeper (Jamie Woodcock) had to come off with a broken finger, and our centre-back who scored went in goal.

“I looked down at my phone and we were playing in the 102nd minute on Saturday. It was a tense time, but we managed to get the win.

“We’re proving to be a tough nut to crack, especially at home, and we’ve still got to play a lot of the big sides at home. Mundford, Bungay and Aylsham have all got to come to us, so it’s in our hands.”

While the top five can hardly be separated, Lawrence is not counting out UEA, down in seventh, from mounting a late surge up the table. The Colney Lane-side have multiple games in hand on all the sides above them, including Harling.

“I have them down as favourites,” Lawrence admitted. “They’ve got so many players to choose from, and if they can get the team out that they want each time then they will be up there.

“They went and beat Mundford 4-0 only a few weeks ago, so they’ve shown what they can do, but there’s so many teams up there who are of a similar standard.”

With goalkeeper Jamie Woodcock ruled out for the next two-to-three weeks, Lawrence is looking into the loan market to bring in a replacement for this

Further up the pitch, Harling have boosted their squad with the arrival of Aaron Joseph on a dual registration from higher-league Thetford Town.

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