Middle-man Harvey taking centre stage at Fakenham Town

Stephen Harvey in action for Fakenham during their FA Vase win over Mildenhall Town on Saturday. Pic

Stephen Harvey in action for Fakenham during their FA Vase win over Mildenhall Town on Saturday. Picture: TONY MILES - Credit: Archant

The decision to move Stephen Harvey from full-back to the heart of Fakenham Town’s midfield has been a success in the eyes of manager Wayne Anderson, writes Gareth Davis.

Harvey has spent much of his Fakenham career in the full-back positions but Anderson opted to change the 30-year-old’s role last month with the Ghosts on a four-game losing streak.

Anderson wanted to get more experience into the engine room alongside 20-year-old Matty Franks and it had an impact with the Ghosts having won three of the four fixtures since the switch – the only setback being Tuesday’s 3-0 Thurlow Nunn Premier Division defeat at Thetford Town, when Harvey was one of the few players to earn credit for his performance.

Anderson said: “At the beginning of the season, and at the end of last season, I was keen to get my boots on just to stand in the middle and orchestrate things. But we have put Stephen in there and he doesn’t look out of place. I played with him at King’s Lynn in midfield and I know what sort of a job he does there.

“Stephen opens his mouth, he talks a lot in there, and he hasn’t got to do a lot of running because he has got people like Franksy and Sam Garner around him.

“Stephen pulls the strings in there basically, he is the man in the middle, and if he keeps going the way he is I’m certain we’ll pick up points just as a result of having him in there.”

All three of Thetford’s goals came in the final 15 minutes on a night when Fakenham struggled to get going and Anderson described his side’s performance as “dreadful”.

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He is now looking for a response on Saturday at home to Felixstowe & Walton United and a return to the levels the Ghosts reached in the weekend’s 2-1 victory at Clipbush Park against Mildenhall Town in the second qualifying round of the FA Vase.

Ben Boyce opened the scoring just after half-time, Tommy Rix then saved a penalty, and although the visitors equalised on 75 minutes Franks won the tie three minutes from time.

That set up a first round proper fixture away to United Counties League Division One side Irchester United on Saturday, November 1.

Also last Saturday, Fakenham’s reserves progressed to a Norfolk Junior Cup third round tie away to Marlingford thanks to a 2-1 win at Downham Town Reserves – Luke Gray and Callum Brain scoring.

This Saturday they are at Caister Reserves in the Cyril Ballyn Cup (2pm).

And on Monday, Fakenham’s under-18s continued their FA Youth Cup run with a 3-1 win at home to Haverhill Rovers in the second qualifying round thanks to goals from Gray, Nathan Winner and Connor Walker, earning a trip to Wroxham on a date still to be confirmed.