THURLOW NUNN LEAGUE
Haverhill Borough 3 Whitton United 2
Ryan Phillips scored his first two goals in a Haverhill Borough shirt and set up another as they maintained their unbeaten start to the season.
But for an outstanding performance from David Goldie in the visitors’ goal, however, Borough’s margin of victory would - and should - have been far more emphatic.
Goldie had already produced four top class saves by the time the former Hardwick midfielder Phillips opened the scoring in the 34th minute with a daisy-cutter into the far corner from just outside the angle of the penalty box.
Whitton’s goal continue to live a charmed life in the first period as both Craig Pruden and Ryan Swallow missed the target when presented with gilt-edged chances inside the box.
Five minutes into the second period - and just one minute after Whitton centre forward Jamelle Parke-Jude fired just over the bar with their first clear opening of the match - Phillips put Borough two goals to the good.
Pruden initially burst clear after central defender James Gregory failed to deal with a bouncing ball 35 yards from goal but the imperious Goldie once again saved his team, only for Phillips to eventually turn and fire the ball into the roof of the net after his initial follow-up was blocked by a defender.
On the hour mark the goal of the match put Borough 3-0 up.
Some superb interplay between Tommy Hardwick, Pruden and Phillips ended with the latter’s first-time cross from the right wing being met with Matt Staines’ emphatic diving header at the far post.
Pruden had another one-on-one chance saved by Goldie before Whitton’s hopes of an unlikely looking comeback were sparked on 70 minutes. Midfielder Kieran Driver, Whitton’s most impressive outfield player throughout, won a challenge with Hardwick and squared the ball for Parke-Jude to sidefoot past Graham Smith from the edge of the six-yard box.
On 82 minutes Whitton further reduced the arrears when, much to everyone’s surprise, referee Reg Barker pointed to the penalty spot after Driver theatrically fell to the floor after cutting into the box past Borough skipper Gareth Thomas.
Driver converted the penalty despite Smith getting two hands to the ball.
Whitton failed to really trouble Smith’s goal for the remainder of the match as Borough deservedly made it three wins and three draws from their opening six matches in the league this season.
For a full match report and reaction buy this Thursday’s Echo.