Haverhill Rovers 3 Stanway Rovers 1
Haverhill faced Stanway Rovers for the second time this season as they looked to improve on the heavy defeat they suffered when the two teams met in August at The Hawthorns.
The home team played some neat football from the off as Baker, Haines and Shinn provided a solid base from midfield and a good pass from Haines found Weaver on the left who made a good run before being bought down by a clumsy Boyland challenge on the edge of the box. The resulting free-kick then saw Shinn deliver a ball to the back post where it was met by a customary Marcus Hunt header that saw the ball sail past the outstretched Heath to give Haverhill the lead.
The pattern of play after this was to become the pattern for the rest of the game as Haverhill with a solid back four of Moody, Farrant, Hunt and new signing Tyler Kemp were happy to allow Stanway to have the ball in their own half as Haverhill played a classic counter attacking style of football. It was from one of these counter attacks that resulted in Haines being fouled ruling in a clear cut penalty that the ref duly awarded. To his credit Perry Moody did not hesitate to grab the ball after his recent penalty miss at Felixstowe and this time the Haverhill defender made no mistake as he fired the ball past Heath to give Haverhill a cushion.
The pattern of play remained the same after this as Haverhill again sat off with a disciplined setup that forced a Stanway lacking ideas into smashing high balls into the home box that Farrant, Hunt and Archer easily dealt with until a loose ball saw Moody and Stanway's Clousley challenge for the ball with the Stanway player going down resulting in the ref again pointing to the spot. What followed was a massive factor in the end result as the ball was fired high over the bar to keep Haverhill's two goal lead going into the break.
The second half saw Stanway come out after a double substitution and they instantly put the Haverhill goal under pressure as Archer was twice called into action to keep the Haverhill goal intact. The home team finally settled again into their comfortable defensive formation that frustrated the visitors who at times struggled to find ideas on how to break down the Haverhill back line. Again Haverhill continued to cause problems on the break as Weaver, Kicks and Alleyne worked tirelessly to run at the Stanway defence on the counter as Weaver then broke clear but could only shoot straight at the advancing Heath.
The visitors continued to launch high balls into the Haverhill box and eventually got some reward when a Jack Casey header looped past Archer to bring Stanway back into the game. With a narrow lead Haverhill then brought on Longley for Weaver to introduce some fresh legs as Stanway then threw the kitchen sink at the hard working well organised Haverhill team who continued to eat up pressure and counter attack.
Will Gardner was then brought on for Haines as Gardner took up a left back position with Kemp moving into midfield as Stanway continued to press in search of an equaliser. But it was Haverhill who were to have the final say as Kemp burst through the visitors defence to then slot the ball past Heath and send his team and the home support into joyous celebrations as the points were safely secured in a game that Haverhill demonstrated superb shape, discipline and work rate to the appreciation of good home crowd.
TEAM: Archer, Moody, Kemp, Shinn, Farrant, Hunt, Haines (Gardner 82), Baker, Weaver (Longley 62), Alleyne, Kicks
Unused subs: Healey, Newnes
Haverhill Rovers A 0 Cavendish 5
Suffolk FA Primary Cup
Haverhill Rovers entertained Cavendish in the Suffolk FA Primary Cup, in their first ever competitive home game at The New Croft. Rovers’ preparation in the warm up started badly when Goal Keeper Risheet Lal aggravated an old ankle injury and was forced to withdraw from the match, with outfield player Jordan Day taking his place between the sticks.
Despite this pre-game setback Rovers started brightly passing the ball well and it wasn't long before a sweet move saw the host's Billy Bush firing in a cracking shot which ricocheted of the Cavendish upright to safety. With Cavendish's woodwork still rattling, it wasn't long before Rovers’ Billy Bush searching low-struck pass flashed across the penalty area causing panic amongst Cavendish defenders, with one defender stabbing at the ball in an effort to clear it from his penalty area only to deflect it onto his own goalpost, before again being cleared to safety.
With all the early dominance Rovers were caught in possession and the visitor's capitalised on this to go one nil up. However Rovers looked to be back on level terms with when Billy Bush cut in from the left flank and let fly a powerful curling shot that seem destined for the top right corner of the visitor's net only for it to hit the Cavendish stanchion and again rebound to safety. With the Cavendish goal leading a charmed life, the visitor's added to the host's misery when they scored a second shortly before halftime.
Second half saw the Rovers change their formation in an effort to get back in the game, although bold, this proved to the hosts undoing as the away side were now enjoying the extra space on the field and their passes were now a lot more accurate than in the first half. Despite stand in Rovers goalie Jordan Day's efforts in goal pulling off two fantastic saves, the away side scored two more in quick succession. The young Rovers side never gave up battling, and despite another twenty minutes spell of pressure on the Cavendish goal it did not bring the rewards that the hosts clearly deserved. The last few minutes saw Cavendish score again for a 5-0 score line which was not reflecting how even the contest had been. However the final whistle went with Cavendish progressing into the next round of the Cup.
TEAM: Day, Street, Joyce, Robinson, Bartlett, Botten, Parker, Moore, Bush, Ruthven, Stratton
Used Subs: McConville, Grace
Unused Subs: Lal