SUFFOLK SENIOR CUP
Haverhill Borough 1
Crane Sports 4
For the second season in succession, Haverhill Borough’s Portman Road hopes were dashed in the semi-finals by a side from the Touchline Suffolk & Ipswich League.
Twelve months ago, Borough were unfortunate to exit the competition at the last-four stage to Waveney, having dominated much of the tie before being beaten on penalties.
But in contrast, Saturday’s hefty defeat at the hands of Crane was deserved, with Martin Westcott’s men failing to live up to their favourites tag.
“We did not do ourselves justice against a good side,” said player-boss Westcott.
“We had to make a couple of changes and it was not our strongest team, but we can have no excuses.
“It is easier to digest than last year in a way because we played Waveney off the park, whereas this time it was us on the back foot.
“We should have performed better, we know that, but now it is just a case of taking it on the chin and moving on.”
The two sides had actually met at the same venue a week earlier, only for the tie to be abandoned after three minutes following a collision that left Borough’s Lee Hurkett and Crane’s Lyndon Dowson-Alexander requiring hospital treatment.
Hurkett did not recover in time to feature, but Dowson-Alexander was involved and it was he that broke the deadlock in the 26th minute.
A swift counter-attack involving Jon Ince, Leigh Cooper and James Blades released the lively winger, who showed good composure to beat Paul Walker in the Borough goal.
With Borough being the side that operate at a higher level, the expectation was that a response would follow.
Yet, it never materialised and instead Crane went on to seal their passage into the final with three second-half goals.
Captain Mark Roper scored from the penalty spot in the 64th minute after Tommy Hardwick had fouled Blades, who went on to score two close-range goals himself in the 71st and 78th minute.
Westcott came off the bench to glance in a headed consolation from Ryan Swallow’s right-wing free-kick in the 88th minute, but the final talking point on proceedings summed up the day for Borough when skipper Jarid Robson was handed a straight red card for violent conduct.
Borough: Walker, Pruden, Regan, Clark, Hardwick, C Phillips, Staines (R Phillips 53), Robson, Bone, Forshaw (Westcott 70), Swallow
Referee: Darren Stobbart