Mundford manager Stephen Gathercole paid tribute to the hard working nature of his side after last week’s Norfolk Junior Cup final win secured an historic treble for the club.
The Stags, already winners of the Anglian Combination Division Two title and Cyril Ballyn Cup, beat East Harling in front of an almost 1,000 strong crowd at Carrow Road courtesy of a second half Richard Williams header.
“I’m overwhelmed really by the success of the lads,” said Gathercole, who joined the club in 2014. “They’ve thoroughly deserved it and I have to say it’s difficult to keep my emotions in check.”
“They’ve worked hard all season, 42 games and only two defeats in all competitions, it’s just been brilliant.”
After a cagey first half, Mundford were able to impose themselves on the game after the break.
Craig Burton saw a lofted effort bounce off the crossbar before Williams, who was part of the team beaten 4-1 by Catfield in the 2013 final, rose highest to flick home James Walters’ corner.
Gathercole admits the scale of the occasion played its part in the opening exchanges but added he was delighted to see a number of his players exercise their 2013 demons.
“It’s a great experience for all of the lads,” he said. “A few of them were here a few years ago and unfortunately they didn’t win on that occasion but like I say, it’s redemption for a few of them.
“We changed it tactically at half-time and certainly we got into the game and got the goal that we deserved.”
To all extents it was a cagey start by both sides who found it difficult to get the ball down on a big pitch. Harling eventually started to gain control and in Kamren Senior, they had a genuine threat down the left hand side.
However, a strong tackle midway through the first half seemed to knock the wind out of Senior and with that Mundford grew into the game.
And it was the full-back Miller who came closest to giving the Stags a first-half lead, stepping past Senior with ease before firing a low shot which Harling goalkeeper Jamie Woodcock did well to push to safety.
Galvanised by the interval, it was Mundford who started the second half on the front foot.
Burton saw a lofted effort bounce off the crossbar before Roy Bland wriggled free in the box only to see his effort blocked by a last-ditch tackle.
To their credit, Harling responded and after a cleared corner was knocked back into the box, the influential Kieran Passey brought the best out of Mundford goalkeeper Alex Gathercole.
However, it was Mundford who took the lead, a goal their all round play had just about deserved. With 20 minutes left on the clock, a James Walters corner was headed in at the near post by left-back Williams, sparking wild celebrations both on and off the pitch.
Stacey Lawrence’s men pushed for an equaliser, but a jubilant Mundford held on to claim a priceless win and complete a famous treble.