Egan, Palmer and Revell shine for Rovers as Haverhill team open Thurlow Nunn account with three points at Godmanchester Rovers
Not even manager Fergus O’Callaghan expected it – a clean sheet, two goals and three points away to a side tipped as a title challenger in their first league match.
But those are the facts, with Haverhill Rovers claiming a 2-0 victory on the road to Godmanchester Rovers on Tuesday night, to open their Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division campaign with a strong result.
Ipswich Town Under-23 keeper Toby Egan had a debut to remember for the Step 5 club, with the former Rovers youth player getting his loan spell off to a flier with a number of high quality stops.
O’Callaghan was delighted by the 18-year-old’s ‘brilliant’ performance between the sticks, which ensured Haverhill went in at the break without conceding.
But the manager was also keen to praise the contributions from the defensive line, which captain Alfie Carroll ‘organised fantastically’, as well as the firepower up front in returning striker Jordan Palmer and Joshua Revell.
Palmer is on loan from Step 4’s Witham Town and made his returning league debut on Saturday. Rovers had eight debutants in their 14-man matchday squad, with Egan, Palmer and Revell joined by new arrivals Max Dinnell, Kieran Michaels, Tyger Smalls, Craig Pruden and Lawrence Porter.
Porter is their most recent acquisition, brought in late last week from Bury Town.
“They are one of the favourites for the league title; there aren’t going to be many teams who go to Godmanchester and get a result like that,” he said. “The average age of the side is about 20 or so but they did so well, and played a mature game.
“We had a game plan and they stuck to it, the boys were so disciplined which I was very impressed by.
“And we were rewarded for that with a clean sheet and two goals.
“Toby was brilliant for us and, if he can play like that every game, we aren’t going to concede too many.
“And Alfie has been fantastic too, he has been so supportive of me and he is happy to lead the youngsters, which we need with such a young team. He organised the defence fantastically last night (Tuesday) which gave us a solid base to then attack from.”
It was the hosts who began the stronger, however, with Egan called into action on a number of occasions early on to take Rovers into the break at 0-0. Revell got the visitors ahead on 49 minutes with a free kick 20 yards out beating a rooted Niall Conroy in goal.
The second score also came from a Revell set piece, on 52 minutes, as Palmer got his head to a curling cross in to beat Conroy once more.
Egan kept his side in it with two more top drawer saves, to record a win and clean sheet on his debut.
Rovers will host Thetford Town in the league on Tuesday night (7.45pm), after contesting the opening round of the FA Cup at The New Croft on Saturday (3pm).
ROVERS: Egan, Shulver, Tait, Michaels, Carroll, Porter, Dinnell, Brophy, Palmer (Judge 82’), Revell (Pruden 75’), Smalls (McKay 66’). Subs not used – Micklewright, Gillies.