Haverhill Rovers 1
Cambridge City 0
by Russell Claydon
at The New Croft
Ex-Peterborough United goalkeeper Alex Archer has revealed he had no hesitation in dropping down the leagues to play for his hometown club.
The shot stopper who was in Posh’s academy up until 18, when injury curtailed his progress, was playing two rungs higher on the non-League ladder than Rovers’ Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division last season, in the Ryman League Premier Division as Bury Town were relegated.
But the 21-year-old, who was on loan from Ryman Division One North side AFC Sudbury, was delighted to secure his future by joining up with former teammate Michael Shinn at The New Croft.
“I run the under-18s here with Ben Robinson from Sudbury and also I run the Sixth Form Academy at Samuel Ward, so it all tied in together,” he said, after helping Rovers record an impressive 1-0 victory over Southern League Premier Division Cambridge City, who play two levels higher than them, in their first home friendly on Saturday.
“I have a good relationship with Shinny having played for him at Sudbury for years and we have always kept in contact. When my position became a bit unsure, Shinny was the first person to offer me a solid option.
“And as you can see, with the players he has brought in and the way he is doing things, it is an attractive prospect at the moment.
Archer added he is still ambitious to go back up the leagues, but for now his focus will be solely on helping Haverhill progress, though he is not getting carried away with talk of promotion.
“It is far too early to talk about promotion,” he said. “The first two games have been really positive.
“Obviously a win last week (3-2 at Coggeshall Town) and then beating a side from the Southern Premier.
“To be fair we were pegged back for long periods of time but we definitely held our own and kept the ball when we had it well and defended well.
“We showed that resilience and I think that desire, work-rate and teamwork we have in the group shows there is no reason why we can’t go and do well this year.”
Shinn named five of his seven new signings in the starting XI, in Archer, Blake Kicks, Riki Baker, Ryan Weaver and Owen Longley, while ex-Needham Market and AFC Sudbury young midfielder James Crisell, on trial, came off the bench.
It was Longley, signed from neighbours Haverhill Borough, who gave the hosts the lead in the 13th minute, after chances had been exchanged at both ends.
A good move down the left saw Charlie Sigler cut the ball back across goal for Longley to sweep home.
The visitors soon began to dominate with Archer, who had tipped a header over the bar early on, having to make a save low to his left from Buster Harradine, while Dion Dublin’s son Adam Murray saw his header clip the top of the crossbar.
The second half saw City unable to create the plethora of chances they failed to convert in the first half with a solid Rovers able to break more regularly without seriously troubling Zac Barratt’s goal.
Haverhill: Archer, Holmes (Moody 60), Gardner, Shinn (, Hunt, Farrtant, Kicks (Newnes 46), Baker (Elkins 60), Weaver, Longley (Alleyne 46), Sigler.