EMIRATES FA CUP
PRELIMINARY ROUND REPLAY
Haverhill Borough 5
Speaking after Saturday’s original tie had ended in a 1-1 draw, Ilford’s assistant manager Billy Cove was in no doubt as to which of the two sides had been the more dominant.
As quoted by the Ilford Recorder, Cove claimed he could not remember any of the Haverhill Borough players, which he insisted ‘spoke volumes’.
However, when he awoke on Wednesday morning after the following night’s replay at The New Croft 3G, it would have been a much easier task for Cove to recall the men in blue.
That is because hosting Borough were rampant, breaking the deadlock inside the first minute through Charlie Holmes.
It was 3-1 at half-time, with clinical Borough adding two further goals after the break to seal a first qualifying round date at home against Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division side Kings Langley on September 2.
But before that, manager Anthony Choat is hoping his winless Borough side can use the cup thrashing of Ilford as a springboard for their Thurlow Nunn League top flight meetings with Kirkley & Pakefield (away) and Wivenhoe Town (home) on Saturday and Monday respectively (both 3pm).
“A lot of the credit has to go to the boys. They are the ones that have gone out there, executed the plan and got the result,” said Choat.
“I am made up for them. We are a small club that has only been going since 2011, so to be where we are now — punching above our weight — is a fantastic achievement.
“This shows the boys that if they work hard, listen to instructions and take it out on to the field, they can achieve good things.
“It has been hard so far this season because we have played well at times, but the results have not been what the performances warranted.
“It has all been part of the learning curve and tonight is no different.
“We have seen that if you make silly mistakes at this level, you get punished.
“In the division below, we could make the odd mistake and get away with it.
“This squad is very capable and they have shown that tonight. Now, we enjoy this result and then go again on Saturday.”
The clock had barely reached the 40-second mark when the home side got their noses in front.
A quickly taken free-kick was worked out wide to Ryan Phillips, whose first time cross was turned in by striker Holmes.
That was followed by two nervy moments for Borough as Ilford centre-forward James Peagram beat goalkeeper Kieran Petty but not the upright in the ninth minute, while Sam Hawley had to be alert to hack clear off the line moments later.
But, having survived that mini storm, Borough went on to double their lead in the 25th minute.
Ilford centre-back Jonah Gregory hesitated in possession inside his own penalty box and Ryan Phillips pounced.
His shot was saved by Tom Jackson, but the Borough winger retained his composure to collect the rebound and pick out the onrushing Ryan Swallow, who found the top corner.
Peagram’s powerful half volley from the edge of the area reduced the arrears in the 39th minute, but Borough crucially restored their two-goal advantage just 60 seconds before the interval.
Having been the architect of his team’s first two goals, Ryan Phillips next got his name on the scoresheet.
It came from a swift counter-attack that saw left-back Rory Bone pick out Borough’s number seven. Jackson came off his line to narrow the angle, but the Borough man made no mistake.
Within two minutes of the restart Borough had their fourth of the night after Ryan Weaver was hauled down by Jackson, with Holmes stepping up to convert the resultant penalty.
Ilford went route one for their second goal in the 66th minute — Peagram again the scorer, firing low beyond the reach of Petty.
Yet, any hopes of a dramatic comeback were extinguished 16 minutes from time when — having seen his brother get among the goals — captain Casey Phillips rose highest to head home a corner from close range.
Speaking about the upcoming tie with Kings Langley, Choat said: “They are going to be a good side — that is why they play at the level they do.
“But that is why you play football — to be involved in games like that.
“The pressure will be off and we have nothing to lose. Hopefully we can show them what we are about.”
n Borough have been drawn away to AFC Sudbury in the first round of the Omni Freight Services Suffolk Premier Cup on Tuesday, October 10. The winner will host Needham Market.