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Joy as Watton reach final

PUBLISHED: 15:34 26 February 2008 | UPDATED: 10:46 08 July 2010

Watton celebrate a crucial goal against Cromer. Picture: Andy Sheppard/Burnham Photo.

Watton celebrate a crucial goal against Cromer. Picture: Andy Sheppard/Burnham Photo.

Scenes of unbridled joy greeted the final whistle at Dereham Road, after Watton United came from behind to beat Cromer Town 2-1 in the Anglian Combination Senior KO Cup semi-final.

Scenes of unbridled joy greeted the final whistle at Dereham Road, after Watton United came from behind to beat Cromer Town 2-1 in the Anglian Combination Senior KO Cup semi-final.

They will play in their first final for 22 years on Easter Bank Holiday Monday against Hempnall.

Joint manager Mike Derbyshire said: “Utterly fantastic. We worked our socks off for 90 minutes. This wasn't our greatest performance ever, football-wise but in terms of effort, commitment and hunger, that was a faultless display.”

Joint manager Vinnie Harwood added: “Tremendous, brilliant, wonderful. A really great win by a great set of players.”

Both men also made mention of the excellent contribution from man-of-the-match Mark Woods, who was thrown into the sweeper's role at the last minute due to the absence of injured Richie Taylor. “Mark was quite simply superb. We could not have asked any more of him.”

Meanwhile, it's back to the business of the league for Watton next week, as they entertain Long Stratton in the latest instalment of their drive for promotion.

Watton got a thoroughly deserved victory against Cromer on a night when a strong, blustery wind made conditions tricky for both sides.

In reality, there was not too much good football on display. Nevertheless, Watton can be proud of the fact that it was they, not their Premier Division opponents, who played most of the attractive passing that was on show.

United out-fought the high-flying Crabs, with every member of the team contributing to a famous win. In front of by far their biggest crowd for some years, Watton began well.

Their passing and movement was good and they created the majority of the early chances.

Sharpe fired over from the edge of the penalty area and Nichols saw one shot gathered.

Cromer's number one was almost caught out not long after, however, when Callaghan's cross saw him forced to palm the ball away.

But gradually, Town began to come into the match and from a set-piece on the right they eventually snatched the lead.

The ball was met by the unmarked Bradshaw at the far post and he smuggled a header past Webster and Callaghan on the line.

Cromer continued to have more of the ball for the remainder of the first 45 but Watton still looked dangerous on the counter. Nichols was unlucky to see one header from close range well clawed away by the keeper from a corner.

In the second half Cromer came out strongly and Webster had to pull off one particularly smart save early on and Town also hit the bar with a header. But United weathered the brief pressure and then turned the game on its head.

They hustled and harried Cromer to win back possession at every opportunity and, when they had the ball themselves, used it sensibly.

United drew level when Lomas picked the ball up inside the left-edge of the box and quickly skipped away from two players. Showing some neat skill and swift footwork, he fashioned a chance to cross the ball in low and Astbury cleverly nutmegged the keeper at his near post.

Sharpe netted what would prove to be the winner. Harrison got his head to a ball fired in from the left and as his effort ricocheted across goal, Sharpe nodded home.

Cromer did breach the United defence for a second time, only for Webster to produce an excellent save and Watton held on for a memorable win.

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