Going up! Record crowd witnesses Harpenden Town seal promotion

All smiles as Harpenden celebrate promotion to the SSML Premier Division.

All smiles as Harpenden celebrate promotion to the SSML Premier Division. Picture: KARYN HADDON - Credit: Archant

A record crowd of 208 at Rothamsted Park saw Harpenden Town confirm their promotion from Spartan South Midlands League Division One with a 1-1 draw with Brimsdown.

It would have needed a seven-goal defeat to have denied Harps their prize but the final whistle was still greeted with jubilant scenes.

They clocked up a total of 93 points from their 40 league games, six points shy of champions Biggleswade FC but one clear of Baldock Town.

The feat was made all the more impressive as Harpenden started their season with three draws and a defeat, their first victory coming on September 13 against Broadfields United.

But it started a sensational winning streak of with Town going on to record 21 wins in 22 games, a run that catapulted them into the top two and laid the foundations for their promotion.

Manager Danny Plumb said: “The end of the season is just such a relief for me and the players because taking on Brimsdown in the last game was always going to be difficult.

“This is such a tough division to get out of, it feels wonderful.

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“We have played and beaten teams in the Premier League this season, like Cockfosters in the FA Cup, and they ended up third so I am optimistic for the future.

“Now we have to consolidate, get into the top 10 next season and take it from there.”

Part of Harpenden’s success was down to 13 clean sheets so it was no wonder 20-year-old goalkeeper Connor Sansom won player-of-the-year in the club’s awards on Sunday.

Centre-half Tony Golder said: “We had a great defence and whenever one of us was injured there was always a quality replacement to take over.”

Top scorer was once again Harry Hunt, who ended the year with 23.

Saturday’s clash started with the youngsters from Harpenden Colts providing a guard of honour but the game was understandably tense and defensive.

Sam Jenkins put Harps in front before Brimsdown equalised before half-time.

Chairman Roman Motyczak said: “Our last two games both had record crowds so I would like to pay tribute to our supporters for such an emotional finale.

“We also raised £750 for the Crohns and Colitis UK charity in honour of local boy Alex Demain who died of the condition last year.”