THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE
Mildenhall Town 5
Haverhill Rovers 0
‘Time to grow up and start taking responsibility’ — that was the message from Ben Cowling to his Haverhill Rovers players after their semi-final thrashing at Mildenhall on Tuesday.
The damp conditions at Recreation Way matched Rovers’ performance as they struggled to lay a glove on their rampant hosts.
Mildenhall scored three times in the first half — two of which crucially came within the space of 60 seconds late on — before going on to rub further salt into the Haverhill wound after the restart.
It means there will be no cup final date for the club in early May, so now the entire focus goes into the battle to retain their Premier Division status.
Rovers head across the Norfolk border to Fakenham Town on Saturday (3pm) with just a four-point gap to the relegation zone.
Reflecting on the hammering at Mildenhall and his team’s remaining games, a blunt Cowling said: “We have contrived to our own downfall because every goal we have conceded was preventable, certainly the three in the first half.
“It was too easy. I do not know if it was nerves, but it was an uncharacteristic display.
“It is disappointing not to be in the cup final obviously, but I am much more disappointed with the performance.
“We have got to regroup quickly and the players need to take responsibility on the pitch.
“We have said all season that this is an inexperienced group.
“We accept they need to learn, but they are going to have to do that and grow up quickly over the last 12 games.”
Mildenhall winger Stephen Spriggs was first to get the better of Rovers goalkeeper Charlie Turner in the 29th minute, with George Tolliday going on to do damage in the 44th and 45th minute with a quickfire double.
A Joe Asensi free-kick made it 4-0 in the second half, with an unmarked Matt Green rounding off the scoring with a header that left Turner no chance.
Looking ahead to the clash with Fakenham, who are four points ahead of Rovers, Cowling added:
We cannot afford to lose because it allows another team to get away from us.
“Finishing in the top half is still an achievable target, but first of all we need to get the nine or 10 points to ensure we are still in this division next season.”
Haverhill: Turner, Geoghegan, Gardner, Hunt (Leavers 62), Holmes, Boddey, Weaver (Longley 62), Milne, Jebb, Haines, Halls
Echo Man of the Match - Charlie Turner: Despite shipping five goals, he made some good saves to keep the score down to five