Rovers show naivety during derby defeat

SHORT-LIVED CELEBRATIONS: Haverhill blew a two-goal lead against Haverhill. Picture: Gary Ward
SHORT-LIVED CELEBRATIONS: Haverhill blew a two-goal lead against Haverhill. Picture: Gary Ward

THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE

PREMIER DIVISION

Haverhill Rovers 2

Newmarket Town 4

by Liam Apicella

at The New Croft

The uglier side of the game was at the forefront of Ben Cowling’s mind after he witnessed his Haverhill Rovers side blow a two-goal half-time advantage at home to Newmarket Town on Friday night.

Rovers went into the break riding the crest of a wave thanks to goals from Luke Haines and Rory Jebb.

In truth, it could and perhaps should have been an even greater winning margin, with leading marksman Danny Hill particularly guilty of fluffing a routine chance.

And Cowling’s men ended up paying the ultimate price as the visiting Jockeys hit back in the second half with four goals to claim the derby bragging rights.

Having fielded a youthful side once again, the Rovers boss conceded that they will need to become more streetwise in leading positions.

“There is a real pleasure and a slight frustration managing this group,” said Cowling.

“First half we played some excellent football.

“We dominated most of it had opportunities to make it 3-0. The lads were a real joy to watch.

“The frustration comes from the fact that we played the same way in the second half.

“We do not have the game management skills yet because we are a young group.

“We need to make sure we keep doing what we are good at, then it is down to myself and the coaching staff to educate them on the uglier parts of the game.”

After a bright start, Haverhill took the lead in the 27th minute when Luke Haines caught out Newmarket goalkeeper Ben Nower with a free-kick from wide on the right that crept inside the near post.

Four minutes later, Haines turned provider with a hopeful ball into the box that Jebb met ahead of Nower to head home.

Opportunities arose to add a third goal before the interval, though none were more glaring than the one presented to Hill in the 38th minute.

Visiting right-back James Chivers’ header, which was intended for Nower, lacked power and Hill pounced.

However, the seven-goal attacker seemed to lose all composure at the crucial moment and shot well over from eight yards.

Calmness in front of goal is not an issue for Newmarket’s Lewis Whitehead at present, with the striker scoring his ninth and 10th goals of the season to put his side in front after Chivers had fired home a corner in the 56th minute.

There was a brief lapse in stoppage time from Newmarket’s number 10 when he saw his low penalty well saved by Rovers goalkeeper Charlie Turner.

Bizarrely, after collecting the rebound, Whitehead was upended inside the box and on this occasion skipper Jack Watson made no mistake from 12 yards to seal the outcome.

“I am pretty sure there would have been no way back for them at 3-0,” reflected Cowling.

“Being two behind gives them a chance still and once they got one their tails were up.”

Haverhill: Turner, Geoghegan (Lewis 64), Halls, Milne, Holmes, Boddey, Hill, Haines, Jebb, Bradley (Burr 85), Stevenson (Thompson 74)

Echo Man of the Match: Luke Haines

Attendance: 171