Cowling: Haverhill Rovers must maintain high levels
Haverhill Rovers boss Ben Cowling has challenged his side to maintain the level of performance they produced in their last two games.
The New Croft-based outfit ended their four-match losing run with a much-needed 3-0 win against Ipswich Wanderers in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division on Saturday.
Rovers followed up that weekend success on Tuesday with an impressive 4-0 thrashing of high fliers Stanway Rovers to book their place in the semi-finals of the League Challenge Cup.
And ahead of a trip to Walsham-le-Willows in the league this Saturday (3pm), Cowling has called for his players to produce a similar display to keep their recent upturn in form going.
“It’s a huge game for us (on Saturday) to be honest,” the Rovers manager said.
“We said in the dressing room on Saturday a line had to be drawn and results and performances had to improve.
“It’s been a great reaction so far and it’s come at an ideal time for us, in what is a key week for us in the context of our season.
“We need to go and get a result there (Walsham) to make sure we keep some daylight between us and the teams below us in the table.
“We’ve got Ely next up after that and if we can get six points from those two games then hopefully we can start to push up the table.”
Rovers, along with Newmarket Town and Gorleston, progressed to the last four of the League Challenge Cup on Tuesday night, with either Kirkley & Pakefield or holders Mildenhall Town, who were due to play last night, set to complete the line-up.
Haverhill’s sole triumph in the competition, open only to teams in the Premier and First Divisions of the Thurlow Nunn League, was more than half a century ago, in the 1964/65 season.
At the time, the final was played over two legs, with Rovers winning the first leg 4-1, before opponents Stowmarket Town clinched the second leg 4-1 to force a replay, which Rovers won 3-0.
With only the final being played at a neutral venue, Cowling is hoping for another home draw for his side in the semi-finals, which are scheduled to take place next month.
“We just want to be at home,” he said. “We’d rather not travel to a Gorleston or a Kirkley & Pakefield if we can possibly help it.
“We all know how good Newmarket are on their 3G, but whoever we play it’s going to be tough.
“It’s something to look forward to. I think it’s been five years since Rovers were in the semi-finals of any cup.
“The players are pretty grounded to be honest. We took the good result from Saturday into Tuesday and we’ve got to carry on doing it.
“This can’t be a peak. It’s got to be the level of performance for the rest of the season.”
Marc Abbott and Owen Boddey return this weekend, while Ben Bradley and Marcus Hunt are both unavailable.