Acle throw down title race marker

In-form Acle United gave a clear signal of their intent as they swept aside six times Sterry Cup winners Blofield.

But despite the comprehensive nature of the 4-1 success all talk of a maiden Anglian Combination top flight title success is banned.

In fact players heard discussing the subject face being hit in the pocket by skipper Luke Goreham who administers the fines system to bolster the end of season knees-up kitty.

But with one defeat in their opening 12 league and cup games, there's no doubt that the foundations have been laid for what could be a vintage season for the Bridewell Lane outfit.

Currently placed 6th in the Premier Division table, Acle who have played two games fewer than most of the other teams have been going about their business under the radar – which suits managers Martyn Sinclair and Tony Ward just fine.

'Because we are two or three games behind in the league because of our cup games we haven't had much of a mention –but we are quite happy with that,' said Sinclair.

While a 2-0 defeat to Kirkley and Pakefield Reserves was the only blemish on Acle's opening dozen games, Sinclair is adamant that the best is yet to come on the pitch.

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'We are happy to keep picking up results but we know we can play a lot better,' said Sinclair, who in his second season at the helm is looking to build on a 5th place finish last season when Acle were also beaten in the final of the Mummery Cup by Spixworth on penalties.

Acle have made it through to the last eight of the Mummery Cup this term, and on November 26 face one of the biggest games in their history when King's Lynn are the visitors for a Norfolk Senior Cup tie, with a place in the quarter-finals at stake.

Acle's progress is being made without paying the players – a camaraderie and team spirit that money can't buy proving a priceless asset.

A Donkey of the Week Award, where the hapless recipient has to wear an unwashed pink t-shirt for the pre-match warm-up suggests that even if players lose matches from time to time they won't lose their sense of humour completetely.

Certainly former Yarmouth and Gorleston player and Greens manager Sinclair had plenty to smile about after goals from Adam Hipperson (2), Harry Maddison and Nathan Thompson sunk derby rivals the Beavers, with Ben Morgan replying for last season's runners-up to Cromer.

Sinclair admitted to losing sleep in a nervy build-up to the game but his mind was put at ease by his side's flying start. 'We basically went at them for the first 15 or 20 minutes and they didn't know what had hit them. We were 3-0 up at half time and it could have been five or six.'

He won't shout about it but he would love to go one better than Jim Stimpson's class of 1998-99, who were pipped to the title by Mick Money's Attleborough and the 2003-04 side who were runners-up to Cromer – to reward the dedicated servants who have stuck with the Broadland club through thick and thin. 'It's such a tough league to win. It's a bit early to talk about winning the title. Normally by about Christmas you can tell which four or five teams are going to be competing for it,' said Sinclair.