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Determined spirit saw Fakenham battle their way past Harleston to reach Carrow Road final

PUBLISHED: 20:19 16 March 2017 | UPDATED: 20:19 16 March 2017

Fakenham manager Wayne Anderson was proud of his team's efforts against Harleston.
 PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Fakenham manager Wayne Anderson was proud of his team's efforts against Harleston. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

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Passion, desire and heart were the key elements to Fakenham Town’s unlikely Norfolk Senior Cup semi-final victory over Harleston Town, proud manager Wayne Anderson has said.

The Ghosts battled hard to stay in the battle at the FDC in Bowthorpe last night, coming from behind to force a 1-1 draw despite being reduced to 10 men in the 53rd minute.

After surviving all the way through extra-time as well, with both teams missing big chances to win it, Anderson was thrilled to see his troops set up a final clash with King’s Lynn Town at Carrow Road after winning 5-4 on penalties.

“Over the moon really,” the Fakenham boss said. “We’ve done it for the last few months really, going down to 10 and pulling something out of the blue.

“To be fair, credit to them (Harleston), they worked their socks off. I think our boys had a little bit more in their tanks, dug in deep, 60 minutes with 10 men that’s a hard one to go against and them boys that they’re playing against are all quality players that they’ve played against.

“Even though they’re at a lower level, they shouldn’t be where they are but the desire, the passion, the heart – I’ve been with them four or five years and I think you can see that.

“Not only that but you can see the club are well behind us all and credit to everybody at the club, my players and the backing staff, I think they deserve the final and we’re just going to wait for that now and take it as it comes.”

Match report: More shootout drama in Norfolk Senior Cup as Fakenham beat Harleston to join King’s Lynn in the final

Extra training sessions played a big part in the Ghosts having the stamina needed to hang on but the night’s exertions are likely to force Anderson into changes when they return to Thurlow Nunn Premier Division action at table-topping Mildenhall on Saturday.

“We’re now looking back at the league,” he added. “I’ll probably rest three or four of the boys for Saturday, they deserve a rest for what they’ve done.

“We’ve been training three days a week and it’s paid off.”

Although it was a frustrating night for Harleston, manager Adam Gusterson was still pleased with the efforts of his squad in reaching the latter stages of the Senior Cup, as they return their attentions to the Anglian Combination Premier Division title race.

“It’s one of those where if we had gone out in one of the earlier rounds, no one would have thought anything of it because we were probably expected to go out in an earlier round,” Gusterson said. “So it’s an unbelievable achievement to have got to where we’ve got to.

“Obviously it’s a disappointment that we’ve not been able to culminate that run with an appearance at Carrow Road, which I think the boys deserve.

“But that’s football sometimes and that’s how it goes and on the night we’ve been really unlucky to not go through to the final, but fair play to Fakenham and we wish them well in the final.”

• Follow David Freezer on Twitter @davefreezer or on Facebook @DavidFreezer1

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