Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division Fakenham Town honour their outgoing player-boss Robbie Harris

Ashley Jarvis puts Fakenham Town in front on Saturday. Picture: TONY MILES

Ashley Jarvis puts Fakenham Town in front on Saturday. Picture: TONY MILES - Credit: Archant

Player-boss Robbie Harris got the perfect parting gift as Fakenham Town won his final game in charge to climb out of the relegation zone, writes Tony Miles.

Hadleigh United arrived at Clipbush Park having won four of their last five Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division games and left on the back of the performance of the season from the Ghosts. With returning boss Wayne Anderson watching from the stand, and already well aware of the quality that the team has, the performance from the players on the pitch was clearly in honour of the departing Harris, inset, rather than trying to impress the new boss as would perhaps be traditional.

The unexpected sight of Ashley Jarvis wearing the number nine shirt once again for Fakenham, having returned from Wroxham, greeted the Clipbush faithful, and from the outset the Ghosts dominated in every sense of the word.

The deadlock was finally broken as the returning Jarvis opened the scoring after 42 minutes racing through on goal and flicking past the advancing Hadleigh keeper. He got a second less than two minutes later when a Sam Garner cross was too high for Kyle Plumb and Jarvis applied the finishing touch.

The Ghosts wrapped up the points on 58 minutes as Plumb rifled the ball past a stranded keeper to make it 3-0. Hadleigh upped their game and it took a goal-line clearance from Shane Akers to keep the sheet clean.

Jake Wiseman replaced Jarvis on 77 minutes, and with Plumb struggling towards the end of the game, having (like his team-mates) chased everything down, Ghosts supporters would have been wondering if Harris would take to the pitch. The frontman however elected not to make a swansong appearance.

With Tommy Rix at his best at least twice more as Hadleigh adopted a shoot-on-sight policy, time ticked away and the referee blew for full-time.

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“To turn in a performance like that in my last game in charge, I have to be as frustrated as I am pleased,” admitted Harris after picking up his sixth win in 21 matches at the helm.

“They gave me everything and I can’t fault them for it. If only they could have done that a bit sooner,” he said with a wry smile.

While disappointed to be moving on, an emotional Harris – who turned down the chance to remain at Clipbush Park as a player preferring to rejoin one of his former clubs Wisbech St Mary, who play two levels lower – can at least find comfort in the Ghosts’ final league position of 17th – one place outside the drop zone. Defeats for Thetford Town and Walsham-le-Willows provided the perfect leaving present although Fakenham, who visit Brantham Athletic on Saturday, remain firmly in the mire. They’re only one point ahead of Walsham having played three matches more.

Control of team matters now passes back to returning duo Anderson, and assistant manager Neil Jarvis.

Also returning to the fold from Dereham Town is goalkeeping coach David Martin. The Ghosts wish to thank both Dereham and Wroxham – where Jarvis was assistant – for their help over the past week.