Sprowston Athletic 0-2 East Harling
The first team travelled to Blue Boar Lane on Saturday, a ground that had not proved to be a successful hunting place for the greens.
With many absentees from the squad, manager Lawrence was able to hand a number of players their debuts in a Greens shirt.
On a blustery day in the City, the away side got off to a quick start Olpin linking up well with Senior only to see the latter fire his cross into the side netting.
Back came the greens and when Conroy played in Senior for a good chance it looked certain to be the opener but the usually deadly wide man fired his shot horribly wide and over.
The midfield trio of Morris, Barnett and Denniss began to dominate the midfield battle and when Morris played to Holt who brilliantly fended off his marker to slip Conroy in on goal he was stopped in his tracks by a brilliantly timed block.
The back four of Allin, Bareham, Olpin and captain Durrant were defending superbly and kept keeper Woodcock a mere spectator.
Then came a huge chance as Conroy struck his free kick towards the bottom corner and the keeper parried straight up into the air the ball fell to Holt but the striker struggled to control the bounce of the ball and saw his half volley fly harmlessly over.
Hearts were then in mouths as the home side almost took the lead in fortuitous circumstances. A high ball was flicked on by the big number 9 and when Bareham attempted to clear the ball it ricocheted off the striker and straight into his path to put him through one on one with Woodcock. Allin and Durrant quickly made up ground on the front man who’s turn and shot went a yard wide of the post.
The opening goal came in the 35th minute as brilliantly driven free kick from captain Durrant found the head of the debutant Bareham who rose high to power his header into the far corner past the helpless keeper.
The remainder of the half saw the away side get into some brilliant positions in the opposition area but found their final cross or shot lacking in quality.
The second half started much the same as the first half but with away side looking even more threatening. Senior began to pick the ball up and beat his man and sometimes two or three home defenders on regular occasions but was also regularly fouled for his hard work.
Holt then linked up well with full back Allin but saw his shot go agonisingly wide.
A double substitution was then made with Foster replacing Holt and a welcome return to the club for Harling legend Stu Chrystall who replaced Denniss.
The game then entered a scrappy period, in which Woodcock was forced to make his one save of the game, a free kick from 35 yards which he comfortably dealt with.
Then a massive chance to go 2-0 up as great link up play from Senior and Morris then found Conroy in on goal but somehow the striker saw his effort go wide of the post with the goal gaping.
It didn’t take long to double the lead though.
Superb play between Chrystall, Conroy and Senior ended with Conroy playing a pinpoint cross to the in rushing Chrystall who struck home from close range to almost kill off any doubt.
Sivier then replaced Olpin at full back and had to be alert to excellently clear from danger at the back post.
Holt then re entered the game in place of Conroy in the closing moments.
The ref blew for full time and the side took a vital 3 points back to south Norfolk.
A day when everybody battled hard and showed some good quality at times but the desire to win and battle for each other was far more important in these early stages of the season.
Next we go to recently relegated Hempnall who will be looking to follow up on a point in their opening game.
Well done all……..
Sprowston Athletic 0-2 East Harling