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Relief mixed with delight as Harleston Town bounce back

Harleston Town manager Adam Gusterson is looking at last week’s double defeat as the ‘lesson that was needed to become a better team’.

Gusterson admitted to being initially ‘knocked for six’ after the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North side suffered their first defeat in 18 fixtures in all competitions, before then losing another.

But they quickly stopped the rot with a 5-2 win away at Needham Market Reserves midweek before Saturday’s 4-2 victory at home to struggling Felixstowe & Walton United Reserves.

Football - Harleston v Mattishall. manager Adam Gusterson on the sidelines.. (5674627)
Football - Harleston v Mattishall. manager Adam Gusterson on the sidelines.. (5674627)

They are away to King’s Lynn Town Reserves this Saturday (3pm) and will travel the better for having lost, according to their chief.

He said: “I’m definitely relieved to be back to winning ways, it was a bit of a surprise to us to lose two in a row actually because teams have struggled to play against us, I think we were intimidating sides before we even started.

“So it was very important that we worked to bounce back from it, you don’t want to see your season turn at this stage.

“But it was a good reminder that you can’t be complacent and you have to put full effort in to every game.

“I think we’ve been doing so well at taking games to other teams and always being on the attack that we had opened ourselves up too much and had become vulnerable in defence.

“We’ve maybe got away with it for longer than we should, but we finally got rumbled and it was the lesson that was needed to become a better team.

“It was a reality check about our need to be more secure defensively.

“I’m pleased that we’ve played well since but I’m not happy with the scorelines, I think we could have scored more and conceded fewer.

“So there’s still plenty for us to work on for the rest of the season, we want to carry on getting better and better.”

He said their long unbeaten run had left them in a great position in the league, with a 12 point advantage over their nearest opposition at the top of the table.

“We know we have a bit of space to make errors,” he said.

“But also how quickly that space can close, we can’t take our foot off at all. And it’s going to be a difficult December, the next few weeks are an important part of our season.

“So it’s very nice to have got back to winning ahead of this period.”

The club are due to face off against Mulbarton Wanderers in the reverse fixture on Boxing Day, with trips to Lakenheath and Ipswich Wanderers also in December.

Although Harleston have scored 19 more goals than any other team in the division, the club’s top scorer Nathan Stone is only third in the league’s list with a 16-goal tally.

The club have a number of players that regularly find the net, as shown in their latest wins with nine different players scoring nine goals across both games.

Meanwhile, Debenham LC fell to a 3-1 loss away to Downham Town in the league on Saturday.

They will hope that Bradley Austin can reproduce his goal-scoring form in Saturday's visit from Wisbech St Mary (3pm), but as part of an overall winning result.

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