Rovers set the standard with routine home win

ON TARGET: Luke Haines is congratulated after scoring the third goal
ON TARGET: Luke Haines is congratulated after scoring the third goal

THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE

PREMIER DIVISION

Haverhill Rovers 3

Long Melford 1

‘More of the same please’ — that was the message from manager Ben Cowling after his Haverhill Rovers side started their league campaign with a comfortable home win on Tuesday night.

Cowling watched on as the hosts created a number of chances, three of which were converted by Cameron Watson, Jonathan Milne and substitute Luke Haines.

Melford’s late consolation — courtesy of Josh Hodgson — was a source of mild irritation for the Rovers chief, but overall he was delighted with his players, who he believes have now set themselves the standard for the season ahead.

“The first half an hour, some of the football we played was excellent and we looked dangerous going forward,” said Cowling.

“Their goalkeeper has kept them in it with three or four good saves.

“We are capable of producing this against a lot of teams in the division.

“With the players we have signed, we want to play attractive football and we want the players to express themselves.

“The tempo we played with during the first 30 minutes — that is us. It is what I want to represent Haverhill Rovers.”

If there can be one criticism of Rovers’ display, it is that they did not put the game to bed during the first half.

Rafa Wozniak was off target on a couple of occasions and also thwarted by Melford goalkeeper Darren Moyes, who also palmed clear Jordan Palmer’s volley.

But, just when it appeared Rovers would be heading into the break without a goal to show for their efforts, a home debutant made the crucial breakthrough in the 45th minute.

Watson was largely signed for his defensive capabilities, but he looked every inch the striker with a powerful effort from the edge of the box that left Moyes no chance.

Buoyed by their opener, it took Rovers just 32 seconds after the restart to double their advantage.

Ben Bradley’s corners caused problems all evening for the visitors and on this occasion Milne timed his near-post run perfectly to head home.

Haverhill continued to carve out openings thereafter, but it was not until the 81st minute that they added a third goal.

Bradley was again the architect, rolling the ball into the path of Haines and the midfielder calmly found the bottom corner from 20 yards out.

Melford frontman Hodgson bundled the ball over the line from a corner deep into stoppage time, but it did little to detract from an impressive performance by the men in red.

Haverhill: Turner, Halls, Watson, Milne (Haines 76), Holmes, Camfield, Enaro, Forshaw (Abbott 61), Wozniak (Jebb 65), Bradley, Palmer

Echo Man of the Match - Ben Bradley: Set up two goals and was a lively presence

Attendance: 131

n Haverhill are due to be back in action on the Suffolk coast at Kirkley & Pakefield on Saturday (3pm), before travelling over the Cambridgeshire border to Godmanchester Rovers on Wednesday (7.45pm).