Haverhill Borough manager Anthony Choat is staying positive despite being dealt a blow to his side’s survival hopes last week, writes Alex Moss.
Borough started last week six points clear of the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division relegation zone, but now head into tomorrow night’s trip to in-form Stanway Rovers (7.45pm) above Hadleigh United, in 21st spot, only by goals scored.
The six-point gap was cut to zero after Hadleigh won 1-0 at Kirkley & Pakefield on Saturday and Borough’s 4-1 win at Walsham-le-Willows, back on December 9, was expunged from the records.
Borough were found to have fielded an ineligible player, 16-year-old goalkeeper Ed Greenall, in the victory and Choat will now take his side back to Summer Road for the rescheduled clash on March 21.
“We played a young goalkeeper that day and when we signed him on we were under the impression that he could play,” the Borough boss said.
“At the start of the season he went to join AFC Sudbury’s academy and had signed forms for Sudbury (Reserves, who play in the First Division), but he never went and played for them.
“It was a great performance (the 4-1 win), but we’ll just have to go there again and apply ourselves and try and get the three points.”
After making his debut in the Walsham game, Greenall then missed Borough’s next four games, before returning in-between the sticks for the 2-1 defeat to Kirkley & Pakefield on January 13 and has kept the number one shirt ever since.
Greenall made several smart stops during Borough’s 6-0 defeat at home to promotion-chasing Stowmarket Town at the weekend, a result which followed a 2-1 reverse away at bottom side Wivenhoe Town on Wednesday last week.
Choat had no complaints with the final outcome at the New Croft on Saturday, and knows it will be the results against sides in and around Borough in the table that will determine their fate come the end of the season.
“We drew with Stowmarket at their place earlier in the season and that really was a point gained,” he said. “Since then they’ve gone on a run and realistically a point from that game is not going to define our season.
“We need to be beating the teams in and around us and we’re now starting a run of fixtures against teams who are mid table or slightly above mid table in the league.”
Following tomorrow’s trip to the Hawthorns, Borough have a run of games against sides currently in 13th, 14th, 11th, 21st and 19th places in the table, before trips to leaders Felixstowe & Walton United and second-placed Coggeshall Town sandwich a home clash with third-from-bottom Fakenham Town.
“If you apply yourself it doesn’t matter who you play against, whether it be against a Felixstowe or a Stanway,” Choat said.
“We need to apply ourselves and make sure we turn up and start well.”
Borough’s top goalscorer Ryan Weaver, who has 11 goals this season, was rested for the Stowmarket game but should make his return tomorrow.